Who Invented the Internet? Key people, explained

Who Invented the Internet? As with many historical inventions, it is often difficult to pinpoint a single creator.

Just as with the light bulb, the telephone, and the discovery of electricity, it would be wrong not to mention at least a number of scientists and inventors outside of the well-known name who played a major role in the invention of the internet.

Over the years many different people can claim to have helped shape the internet before it became the tool we know and love (and occasionally fear) today. Some significant names in the invention of the internet include Tim Berners-Lee (see main image), Paul Baran, Lawrence Roberts, JCR Licklider, Leonard Kleinrock, Vinton Cerf, Robert Kahn and others.

Here’s everything you need to know about who invented the internet.

Who Invented the Internet?

British computer scientist Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web, a key part of the internet used today. He proposed the idea in March 1989 while working for CERN.

The World Wide Web was built on systems and coding like HyperText Markup Language (HTML) that are still used to this day (URLs contain www for a reason).

However, the World Wide Web is not the Internet itself, but was instead developed as an information management system that combines hypertext and earlier, pre-existing forms of Internet and inter-network communication.

It was designed to act as an online information network (hence the name), using a web-like string of hyperlinks made possible by the creation of HTML, HTTP, URLs, and web browsers. Berners-Lee certainly invented the web browser and created the world’s first website info.cern.ch on December 20, 1990, visible at CERN.

The World Wide Web was opened to public use in 1991, coming into widespread use after April 30, 1993, when Berners-Lees’ invention entered the public domain and after he wrote the first version of HTML.

But as Berners-Lee says, most of the technology involved in the web, like hypertext, like the Internet, multi-font text objects, were all designed before he had to put them together.

As Berners-Lee told us in 2021, he now considers his invention out of control.

“Ten years ago I would have said humanity uses the web and if you look at humanity you will see good and bad things,” he said.

“However, at some point, around 2016 [circa the Facebook-Cambridge Analytica data scandal]I realized it’s perfectly fine if people I know are honing their bookmarks to have reliable, science-based information, but there are many people I don’t know who have very different bookmarks.”

More so

Below, we’ll look at the steps and notable names in the development of the Internet that ultimately led to Tim Berners-Lees’ invention.

JCR Licklider

Licklider, an American psychologist and computer scientist, described his concept of the “Galactic Network” in August 1962 in a series of memos. They detailed his vision of globally interconnected computers where anyone can access data and programs from different sites.

While working for the US Department of Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), he persuaded the successors of this concept to continue his work.

Leonard Kleinrock

Leonard Kleinrock poses next to the first Interface Message Processor (IMP) in the laboratory where the first Internet message was sent, at the University of California at Los Angeles.  Photo credit: Robyn Beck/AFP via Getty Images

Leonard Kleinrock poses next to the first Interface Message Processor (IMP) in the laboratory where the first Internet message was sent, at the University of California at Los Angeles. Photo credit: Robyn Beck/AFP via Getty Images

Kleinrock, a US computer scientist, published a paper on his theory of packet switching in July 1961 and a book on the subject in 1964. His theory was that an online network could be created in which computers communicated through “packets” of information, rather than circuits.

This allowed two computers inside MIT’s Lincoln Lab to communicate with each other for the first time in 1965.

Paul Barano

Baran, a Polish-American engineer, proposed a communications network without a central command point, working with the US Air Force at RAND in the 1960s to develop a method for allowing network access points to communicate with each other without the need for a master one so that if they are destroyed, they still have access to everything.

Lorenzo Roberts

DARPA’s chief scientist worked with ideas from Paul Baran and Leonard Kleinrock to create the distributed network.

He published his ideas on the Advanced Research Projects Agency Network’, or ARPANET, in 1967, detailing his plans for the computer network. The first message between two ARPANET computers was sent from a research facility at UCLA to one at Stanford University on October 29, 1969.

Vint Cerf and Robert Kahn

Cerf and Kahn developed the Transmission Control Protocol and Internet Protocol (TCP/IP), which allows computers to communicate with each other across different networks.

It went public in 1974 and is still used today. Many consider the day the ARPANET and the Defense Data Network officially transitioned to TCP/IP to be the birth date of the Internet, January 1, 1983.

All this means that in 1983 we already had cross-communication on different networks and the Domain Name System (DNS) was established, which gave us names like .com, .edu, .net, .org and so on.

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Image Source : www.sciencefocus.com

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