Tuesday, May 17, 2011

ARPANET Created in Arlington on May 17, 2011

It's official. The ARPANET was created in Arlington on May 17, 2011 at 4:08 pm!

Well, according to the video screen in the picture below that is.

After the Ruskies launched Sputnik, the United States government decided that technology research and development
would probably be a good priority. The blog post from earlier today goes into that history. Inside of ARPA was an office called Information Processing Technologies Office (IPTO) - they were in charge of computer and network research. Larry Roberts was the Chief Technologist of IPTO - basically the project manager of something called the ARPANET. Funding main frame computers at the universities, Larry Roberts wanted to build a network between those computers in order to share resources and research. In 1969, in California, the first packets were transmitted on the ARPANET between UCLA (Leonard Kleinrock) and Stanford (Doug Engelbart). Packet switch computer networks had been born.

Pictured at the podium is Stephen Lukasik, ARPA Chief from 1970 to 1975 (in 1979 Lukasik would join the Federal Communications Commission, make a tremendous contribution to something known as the Computer Inquiries proceeding, and work with Michael Marcus to help establish unlicensed radio spectrum (ie WiFi)). Mr. Lukasik was present at today's Arlington County Board meeting as the County unveiled a new historic plaque which will be placed at 1400 Wilson Blvd in Rosslyn, the home of ARPA at the time.

By 1972, it was clear that the ARPANET would not be enough. The ARPANET could not interconnect with other networks. Vint Cerf and Bob Kahn set to work creating the Internet Protocol, a new network that could interconnect networks and support all the cools stuff on the ends. In 1981, the Department of Defense decided that its new Defense Digital Network would use this Internet Protocol, and the Internet was born. In 1985, the National Science Foundation would expand the Internet outside of the military community to the non-military academic community with the NSFNET. This proved wildly popular, and in the early 1990s NSF privitized NSFNET, opening the Internet up to the public for everyone to use.

The Internet starts with the ARPANET and the ARPANET starts in an office in Arlington, Virginia.

Today, Arlington County unveiled its new historic marker, acknowledging this tremendous historic event that had its inception in Arlington.

Stephen Lukasik was joined by fellow ARPA colleagues (from left to right) Robert Young, George Lawrence, Steve Lukasik, Eric Willis, Francis Niedenfuhr. Also featured in the picture holding the plaque that spells out ARPANET in binary is Christopher Zimmerman, chairman of the Arlington County Board.

The historic marker reads:
"The ARPANET, a project of the Advanced Research Projects Agency of the Department of Defense, developed the technology that became the foundation for the Internet at this site from 1970 to 1975. Originally intended to support military needs, ARPANET technology was soon applied to civilian uses, allowing information to be rapidly and widely available. The Internet, and services such as e-mail, e-commerce and the World Wide Web, continues to grow as the under-lying technologies evolve. The innovations inspired by the ARPANET have provided great benefits for society."
For more on the history of the Internet, see Cybertelecom :: Internet History
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