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So, Who Really Did Invent the Internet?


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Vint Cerf

Dale Stephanos

The Wall Street Journal's Gordon Crovitz recently reopened the debate about who invented the Internet, arguing that giving the U.S. government credit is an "urban legend." However, Michael Hiltzik notes that ACM president Vint Cerf, who along with Robert Kahn invented TCP/IP, the fundamental communications protocol of the Internet, on a government contract.

Crovitz's main point in discrediting the U.S. Pentagon's Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) with the development of the Internet is a quote from Robert Taylor, who was a top official at ARPA when the agency was developing ARPANet, the commonly agreed upon precursor to today's Internet. "The ARPANet was not an Internet," Taylor says. "An Internet is a connection between two or more computer networks."

However, Hiltzik says Crovitz confuses "an internet" with "the Internet," as Taylor was citing a technical definition of "internet" in his statement. Cerf himself wrote in 2009 that ARPANet ultimately led to the Internet. Hiltzik says the fact is the Internet as we know it was born as a government project and without ARPA it may not have come into existence at all.

From Los Angeles Times
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