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Friday, September 28, 2012

How the Internet started: The people and technology - Peer assignment 1

Please forgive the indulgence. I wrote three mini essays as part of a University of Michigan course Internet History, Security and Technology I took recently. I am publishing all three as examples of my writing

The Internet was developed by several academics over several decades in several universities. It was originally a network primarily used for file sharing by researchers and governments. The first of these networks is widely considered to be developed by Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) which had roots from Vanavar Bush’s Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) [1] and was created as a result of the USSR’s success at launching Sputnik in 1957, the first artificial satellite. A decade later the Defence Department funded a four month study that developed the ARPANET.[2]

CharlesM Herzfeld, a director of DARPA, was responsible for the decision to create ARPANET [3]. Joseph C R Licklider was hired in 1962. Licklider and his successor, Ivan Sutherland, worked on how people and computers would be mutually interdependent [4]. Licklider imagined the personal computer and Sutherland worked on a a program called Sketchpad which instead of using a computer with a keyboard graphic design could be done with a a light-pen. This was the beginning of graphical user interface (GUI) [5].

Larry Roberts, Paul Baran, Leonard Kleinrock were responsible for packet switching which was the backbone of the ARPANET network and made queuing of the data packets possible. But it was the creation of the Ethernet by Robert Metcalfe in 1973 and the development of TCP/IP protocol in 1974 that truly made the Internet possible.[6]