Internet History

The Origins of the Internet

The origins of the internet date back to the 1950s during the Cold War. At that time there was ongoing tension around nuclear warfare and the US sought to develop a communication system that could not be affected by a nuclear attack. Computers at that time were very large and in short supply, this meant that researchers had to travel long distances to get access to them. Researchers then started ‘time-sharing’ accessing the computer’s mainframe through various terminals at the one time however this meant the only had access to a small portion of the computers actual power. This lead to the idea of a large scale computer network.

Computer used during the Cold War

From the internet was developed through a number of researchers with one of the first developments being known as ARPANET. The creation of ARPANET began with Paul Baran who was researching how the US Air Force could maintain control of its fleet during a nuclear attack. In 1964 this led Baran to the idea of a distributed network, a communication network with no central point so if one point was destroyed the others could still communicate. This lead to other scientists such as Lawrence Roberts and Leonard Kleinrock to work on the creation of this distributed network however it is Vint Cerf who is given credit for the first written use of the word internet. Both Vint Cerf and Bob Kahn worked on developed TCP/IP protocols that dictate how data moves through a network. Tim Burners-Lee probably the best-known name though he did not create the internet he did create the world wide web pretty much as we know it today developed using HTML, HTTP, URLs and web browsers.


The World Wide Web

The World Wide Web made the information stored on the internet accessible.  It was first proposed in Tim Berners-Lee’s Web of Information in 1989. This proposal suggested the use of hyperlinks to connect documents together. When written in HTML a hyperlink could be used to communicate the HTML documents over the internet with URL providing the document/pages unique address so that it can be found. This led to the creation of the browser software that would allow the HTML documents to be organised in an easy to read format. Burners-Lee called this browser the ‘World Wide Web’.

The first version of the World Wide Web

The code to create web pages and the software to view them was made freely available on the internet on 6th August 1991 shaping Berner’s-Lee’s vision for a free global shared information space.

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