Thursday, August 21, 2008

NSF and the Internet

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has a great resource on the Internet called NSF and the Birth of the Internet. It's a really well done online resource that traces the evolution of the Internet from the 1960s to today and beyond - using text, video, and interactive media. To put in perspective what has happened in these 40 years, consider that in 1969 there were 4 computers on the net and the baud rate was 4 kilo bits per second - map below.
In 2007, we're looking at 120 billion computers on the net and a baud rate of 20 Giga bits per second.
Where are we going? NSF has a great video describing this vision as well. One really interesting comment comes from Doug Gale, a former NSF program officer and CIO of the University of Nebraska, when he was asked, in 1987, by his school chancellor when he could stop writing the big checks to build out the network. Gale's reply: "... the bandwidth of the human eye is about 10 gigabit ... anything less than that is an insult to me as a human being ... until we've got a 10 gigabit connection to every individual on the campus, I'm going to have to keep building the network." Well we're nearly there and the appetite for bandwidth has not even begun to subside.
Another great resource is Gordon Snyder's Happy 20th Birthday to the Modern Internet.

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1 comment:

PDonaghy said...

Hi Mike
My students have to cover the 'history of the Internet' as part of their web course and I think this is going to be a great resource for them. Thanks for finding it!


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