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Humanist Archives: Oct. 26, 2019, 7:45 a.m. Humanist 33.347 - ‘Internet’ anniversaries

                  Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 33, No. 347.
            Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London
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        Date: 2019-10-25 13:59:16+00:00
        From: John Naughton 
        Subject: ‘Internet’ anniversaries

Dear Willard

One doesn’t want to rain on well-intentioned parades but the declaration
that “In a week's time the internet will be exactly 50 years old” is a
tad misleading. Technically the  Internet is the network of networks
based on the TCP/IP family of protocols which was was first switched on
in January 1983 and is therefore only 36 years old.  The anniversary
celebrations on November 6 must refer to the Arpanet, the
Pentagon-funded precursor to the Internet, which, although it uses
packet-switching, was significantly different from the TCP/IP network.
So the anniversary must actually be a celebration of packet-switching.
The only problem with that is that packet-switching was independently
conceived some time earlier by Paul Baran at RAND and Donald Davies at
the  National Physical Laboratory at Teddington. En passant, it’s
perhaps worth noting that the only node of the Arpanet physically
located outside of the continental US was in Peter Kirstein’s Lab just
up the road from King’s — in UCL!


Professor John Naughton
Director, Press Fellowship
Wolfson College, Cambridge
e: jjn1@cam.ac.uk
w: memex.naughtons.org
t: +44 7836 373799

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