The history of the internet is closely related to the history of distributed computing.
Below are the chain of events that caused the internet to come into creation-
largely in part due to a military network called ARPAnet. ARPAnet was the brainchild
of the U.S. Department of Defense, who began looking at the concept of
a world-wide communication system that remains flexible and stable regardless of
whether one part of the network collapses.
1957- A prelude to the cold war, the US forms the Advanced Research Projects Agency
within the Department of Defense after the USSR launches Sputnik. The goal is
to establish the United States as leaders in science and technology.
1965-A study on "cooperative network of time-sharing computers" is sponsored
1968- Steve Crocker and the Network Working Group organize to develop host level
protocols for communication over the ARPAnet.
1969- The Department of Defense commissions ARPAnet for research in networking.
The ARPAnet becomes 4-noded, as UCLA, Stanford, UCSB and the University of Utah
1971- The ARPAnet becomes operational with 19 nodes. 6 nodes are used by military
research labs, the remaining 13 are used by universities
1972- Interest in ARPAnet dwindles, so a system called TIP is created. With TIP,
a user at a terminal in the basement of the Washington Hotel can remotely login
to any computer on the ARPAnet. When the terminal becomes available to the public
it is a big success because people can connect to an ARPAnet computer and play
games. This same year, Ray Tomlinson of BBN alters an email program for ARPANET
and the first computer-to-computer chat occurs.
1973- ARPAnet becomes international when England hooks up. An estimated 2,000
users are on ARPAnet, and conference calls are implemented.
1974- A new network protocol for ARPAnet, TCP, begins, and BBN opens Telnet.
1975- The first ARPAnet mailing list group is created.
1977- ARPAnet, radio packet networks, and a satellite network (SATNET) combine
to demonstrate the possibility of a mobile battlefield using an intercontinental
network called the internet.
1980- The ARPAnet gains a new protocol- TCP- as the U.S. Military decides to switch.
1982- The ARPAnet has grown to 100 nodes when it switches from NCP to TCP/IP.
1984- The Domain Name System is introduced while the number of hosts exceeds 1,000.
1986- NFSnet is created. Non-military research funding to the network marks the
beginning of the Internet.
1988- An internet worm wreaks havoc on the Net, and 6,000 of 60,000 hosts are
affected. Also, the Internet Relay Chat is invented.
1990- MCImail creates a commercial Internet gateway with their email system. This
gateway allowed email traffic to flow between the two networks. The number of
hosts exceeds 100,000.
1991- The World Wide Web is released by Tim Berners-Lee.
1992- Number of hosts exceeds 1,000,000.