Source: Internet Society
Published: February 1997
Origins of the Internet
The concept of globally interconnected computers began to take shape during the 1960s. The research at MIT, RAND, and NPL proceeded in parallel without any of the researchers knowing about the other work— a problem the internet would one day help researchers overcome.
A timeline of select important events:
Event: The feasibility of computers communicating through packets rather than circuits was first understood. This is known as the ‘packet switching theory.’
Key Contributors: Leonard Kleinrock
Event: The ‘Galactic Network’ concept - networking that enabled social interactions through interconnected computers - was examined.
Key Contributors: J.C.R. Licklider
Event: The first wide-area computer network was built with a low-speed dial-up telephone line.
Key Contributors: Lawrence G. Roberts and Thomas Merrill
Event: A planfor an experimental network for computers - ARPANET (the ‘Advanced Research Projects Agency Network’ of the U.S. Department of Defense)- was developed.
Key Contributors: Lawrence G. Roberts
Event: The development of Interface Message Processors (packet switches) began. IMPs were integral to data communications because they grouped data in order to be transmitted effectively.
Key Contributors: Frank Heart and Bob Kahn
Event: The first messages were sent between computers, marking the beginnings of the internet. The first message was “LO’ because the network crashed before finishing the message.
Key Contributors: UCLA was the first host computer and it was connected to the Stanford Research Institute
Event: Electronic mail application was introduced, which took off as the most popular app for over a decade and propelled the use of the internet forward.
Key Contributors: Ray Tomlinson and Lawrence G. Roberts