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40 years later, The Internet

August 31, 2009

In a year in which we celebrated the 40th anniversary of man first walking on the moon, tomorrow marks another such remembrance.  On Sept. 1, 1969, the first node was installed at UCLA in the the creation of ARPANet, the first mini-Internet between four western universities: UCLA, Stanford, University of California-Santa Barbara, and the University of Utah.

Vint Cerf

Vint Cerf

Vint Cerf, who as a graduate student at UCLA in the late 1960s helped build ARPANet and was later called the “Father of the Internet,” spoke at Temple in 2004.

“First of all, I interpret (being labeled the “Father of the Internet”) as a misnomer, because there were thousands of people involved in the process,” Cerf told several hundred students and faculty who came to hear him speak in Walk Auditorium.

“If you think the Internet could happen because one or two or three people were the only one’s that made it happen, let me tell you, it’s not that way,” he said.  “You know the old story about success has a thousand fathers and failure is an orphan.  It’s true.

“It’s absolutely true that the success of the Internet is a direct side effect of a number of people who decided to commit themselves, their career, their money and their ideas to making it happen,” Cerf added.  “The lucky part for me is having been around in the early stages of all this, doing something that so many other people decided that it would be a lot of fun and important to do.”

Cerf, who is also credited with creating the Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) which forms the basis of the entire Internet and allows the follow of information through the World Wide Web, told his audience that day that the Internet has been especially important to researchers.

“If you’re a researcher, I don’t think you can do a good job without the Internet,” said Cerf.  “It’s become an integral tool for collaborative work.  I think if you talk to any serious scientist today and said, ‘If I took away your Internet, what would you do?’, the answer is always ‘a lot less effective research.’”

Watch this video on the history of the Internet

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