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Fascinating facts about the invention
of the Internet by Vinton Cerf in
The Internet is a worldwide network of thousands of computers and computer networks. It is a public, voluntary, and cooperative effort between the connected institutions and is not owned or operated by any single organization.  The Internet and Transmission Control Protocols were initially developed in 1973 by American computer scientist Vinton Cerf as part of a project sponsored by the United States Department of Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) and directed by American engineer Robert Kahn.

The Internet began as a computer network of ARPA (ARPAnet) that linked computer networks at several universities and research laboratories in the United States. The World Wide Web was developed in 1989 by English computer scientist Timothy Berners-Lee for the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN).

"The design of the Internet was done in 1973 and published in 1974. There ensued about 10 years of hard work, resulting in the roll out of Internet in 1983. Prior to that, a number of demonstrations were made of the technology - such as the first three-network interconnection demonstrated in November 1977 linking SATNET, PRNET and ARPANET in a path leading from Menlo Park, CA to University College London and back to USC/ISI in Marina del Rey, CA." . - Vinton Cerf explains the timing:

Internet, interconnection of computer networks that enables connected machines to communicate directly. The term popularly refers to a particular global interconnection of government, education, and business computer networks that is available to the public. There are also smaller internets, usually for the private use of a single organization, called intranets.

Internet technology is a primitive precursor of the Information Superhighway, a theoretical goal of computer communications to provide schools, libraries, businesses, and homes universal access to quality information that will educate, inform, and entertain. In early 1996, the Internet interconnected more than 25 million computers in over 180 countries and continues to grow at a dramatic rate.

How Internets Work
Internets are formed by connecting local networks through special computers in each network known as gateways. Gateway interconnections are made through various communication paths, including telephone lines, optical fibers, and radio links. Additional networks can be added by linking to new gateways. Information to be delivered to a remote machine is tagged with the computerized address of that particular machine.

Different types of addressing formats are used by the various services provided by internets (see Internet address). One format is known as dotted decimal, for example: Another format describes the name of the destination computer and other routing information, such as "" The suffix at the end of the internet address designates the type of organization that owns the particular computer network, for example, educational institutions (.edu), military locations (.mil), government offices (.gov), and non-profit organizations (.org). Networks outside the United States use suffixes that indicate the country, for example (.ca) for Canada.

Once addressed, the information leaves its home network through a gateway. It is routed from gateway to gateway until it reaches the local network containing the destination machine. Internets have no central control, that is, no single computer directs the flow of information. This differentiates internets from other types of online computer services, such as CompuServe, America Online, and the Microsoft Network.

The Internet Protocol
The Internet Protocol is the basic software used to control an internet. This protocol specifies how gateway machines route information from the sending computer to the recipient computer. Another protocol, Transmission Control Protocol, checks whether the information has arrived at the destination computer and, if not, causes the information to be resent.

Even though computer interaction is in its infancy, it has dramatically changed our world, bridging the barriers of time and distance, allowing people to share information and work together. Evolution toward the Information Superhighway will continue at an accelerating rate. Available content will grow rapidly, making it easier to find any information on the Internet. New applications will provide secure business transactions and new opportunities for commerce. New technologies will increase the speed of information transfer, allowing direct transfer of entertainment-on-demand. Broadcast television may be replaced by unicast, in which each home receives a signal especially tailored for what its residents want to see when they want to see it.


Invention of the World Wide Web   from The Great Idea Finder
History of Computing   from The Great Idea Finder

Inventing the Internet
by Janet Abbate / Hardcover - 268 pages (July 1999) / MIT Press
This sophisticated history is the best account so far published of the unpredictable and turbulent evolution of the Internet. With its broad international context, the book will be of value to makers and users of the global communications network, as well as to science and technology policy makers.
The Evolution of Wired Life:
From Alphabet to the Soul-Catcher Chip-How Information Technologies Change Our World
Charles Jonscher / Hardcover - 224 pages (August 1999) / John Wiley & Sons
Charles Jonscher argues that to understand the true transformative powers of new technologies, we must know about the long history of their development and realize that it is the creativity and flexibility of the human mind that will always shape the new technology and the ways we use it, not the other way around.
Information Rules: A Strategic Guide to the Network Economy
by Carl Shapiro, Hal R. Varian / Hardcover - 352 pages (Nov.1998) / Harvard Business School Press
Begins with a description of the change brought on by technology at the close of the century--but the century described is not this one, it's the late 1800s. One hundred years ago, it was an emerging telephone and electrical network that was transforming business.
Where Wizards Stay Up Late: The Origins of the Internet
by Katie Hafner, Matthew Lyon (Contributor) / Paperback - 304 pages (1998) / Touchstone Books
Hafner and Lyon have written a well-researched story of the origins of the Internet substantiated by extensive interviews with its creators. Essential reading for anyone interested in the past -- and the future -- of the Net specifically, and telecommunications generally.


Vinton G. Cerf
Vinton G. Cerf is vice president and chief Internet evangelist for Google. In this role, he is responsible for identifying new enabling technologies to support the development of advanced, Internet-based products and services from Google. He will also be an active public face for Google in the Internet world.
A Brief History of the Internet
Article by the pioneers for
Internet Society
How the Internet Came to Be
by Vinton Cerf, as told to Bernard Aboba. This article appears in "The Online User's Encyclopedia," by Bernard Aboba, Addison-Wesley, November 1993, ISBN 0-201-62214-9
Vinton G. Cerf
Interview Vinton Cerf "Father of the Internet" by Nick Wingfield Staff Writer, CNET NEWS.COM
Encarta Encyclopedia
From the Microsoft Encarta Online Encyclopedia.
Internet Pioneers
Cerf grew up in Los Angeles. He did very well in school and showed a strong aptitude for math. He had an unusual style of dress for a school kid. He wore a jacket and tie most days. Cerf is still known for his impeccable style. He is usually seen in three-piece suits.
WWW Design Decisions in Perspective
Tim Berners-Lee, December 95: MIT 6.001 Guest lecture
Integrating the Web into Existing Extension and Educational Technology
by R. Daniel Lineberger, Department of Horticultural Sciences, Texas A&M University


  • "If you are looking for fathers of the Internet, try Vint Cerf and Bob Khan who defined the "Internet Protocol" (IP) by which packets are sent on from one computer to another until they reach their destination. I was lucky enough to invent the Web at the time when the Internet already existed - and had for a decade and a half." - Tim Berners-Lee
  • It took the telephone 75 years and television 13 years to acquire 50 million users. It has taken the Internet five years. Today, more than 500 million people around the world are connected to the Internet.
Reference Sources in BOLD Type This page revised May 30, 2007.

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