Saturday, 31 October 2009
The computer that made the Internet
This is Dr. Leonard Kleinrock pinching the nipples of the Interface Message Processor, a ruggerized Honeywell DDP-516 Minicomputer. This box is responsible for what you are reading now, which either makes her my mom or the internet's mom or both.
The Interface Message Processor was The Original Router. Two of these machines connected in October 29 1969: One was at the laboratory of Dr. Kleinrock—who established the mathematical theory of packet networks, which made the internet possible—at the University of California-Los Angeles. The other was in the laboratory of Douglas Engelbart at the Stanford Research Institute. Engelbart, who later became famous as the creator of the mouse, was working on online collaboration and human interfaces for Darpa during that time.
That day, the first internet backbone—then known as ARPANET—was born with the exchange of the first data packets. Before, only a few meaningless bits were exchanged. Two months later, a four-node backbone was completed. Today, forty years later, there are 1,668,870,408 users.
Oh, and right now, 5% of the packets are getting lost in North America.