The History of the Internet

The RAND Corporation, a Cold War think-tank, considered an important strategic question thirty years ago. How could the U.S. authorities successfully communicate after a nuclear war?

In the 1960s, the U.S. Department of Defense began to create a network of computers that could operate even if one or more of them were destroyed in a nuclear attack. If part of the network were damaged or destroyed, the rest of the system still had to work.

That network was ARPANET, which linked U.S. scientific and academic researchers. The system proved so effective for military communications that it continued to be developed in the 1970s and 1980s as a means for scientists to share research data.

In the late 1980s, Tim Berners-Lee of the Swiss physics lab CERN applied the concept of "hyperlinks" to this computer network, leading to the birth of the World Wide Web. Users could now jump from one page to another related page without typing complicated computer commands.

In 1993, Marc Andreessen and a team of students and staff at the University of Illinois developed Mosaic, one of the first "web browsers." This development made the Web pages accessible to anyone with a personal computer.


Sources: Netscape, Internet History; A Short History of the Internet, by Bruce Sterling;


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