Thursday, October 29, 2009

Happy Birthday Internet

arpanet.gifIt's hard to believe the Internet is already 40 years old. Today, as you check your e-mail, tweet, surf, or shop, think back to what the world was like forty years ago, when the Internet was just an idea. Also consider the commitment this country had (40 years ago) to funding research and development in science, technology, engineering, and math. If the collective we (citizens, President Obama, and Congress) could renew that commitment, imagine what the next forty years could bring!

40 Years Ago: The Message that Conceived the Internet | LiveScience
On Oct. 29, 1969, UCLA student Charles Kline sent the first message over the ARPANET, the computer network that later became known as the Internet. Though only the 'l' and 'o' of his message ('login') were successfully transmitted, the interactive exchange ushered in a technological revolution that has — as anyone alive long enough to witness the shift knows — revolutionized human interaction.

'This ARPANET experiment that we're essentially celebrating right now, while it's not the Internet it is certainly one of the foundations of the Internet,' said Vinton Cerf, vice president and Chief Internet Evangelist at Google. Cerf, along with Robert Kahn, Chairman, CEO and President of the Corporation for National Research Initiatives (CNRI), are considered the fathers of the Internet as they created the so-called TCP/IP protocol that allowed various independent networks to link up to form a network of networks, or the Internet.

That was 40 years ago Thursday, and since then, the ability to communicate with others, share information and just be connected has drawn more than a billion people online. And so the ARPANET, and later the Internet, was both supported by and fostered innate human nature — the need to be social and share information.

'Don't let anyone tell you that information is power,' Cerf told LiveScience in a telephone interview today. 'It's information-sharing that's power.'

photo Courtesy of The Computer Museum Archives

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