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ARPANET AND THE INTERNET

THE NETWORK OF OUR TIMES A DARPA perspective on the development of the internet By Henry Kenyon

The history of the internet is inextricably connected with DARPA and the development of new networking and information-sharing technologies. From its humble beginnings as a collection of connected research facilities to today’s global (and extra-global) network of billions of devices, a core theme of the internet’s evolution has been and continues to be the cutting-edge research conducted under DARPA’s auspices. When internet pioneer J.C.R. Licklider described, with intentional grandiloquence, his vision of an “Intergalactic Computer Network” in 1963, he still might not have imagined just how extensively the network whose seeds he planted would grow in the terrestrial realm.

The beginning of the internet. A sketch of the 1969 ARPA network.

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DEFENSE ADVANCED RESEARCH PROJECTS AGENCY I 60 YEARS

DARPA IMAGE

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n its scope and ubiquity, the internet has transformed life on a civilization-wide scale. Smartphones and other mobile devices connect bankers in Manhattan and rice farmers in India to a vast sea of information. Using predictive tools that mine this information has allowed child welfare agencies to flag high-risk cases, enabled health care providers to determine which patients are at risk for various conditions and diseases, and helped financial institutions to identify fraud and identity theft, among other benefits. But there are challenges in this new planetary data environment: The same networks of computers and databases and systems and infrastructure that afford society previously unimagined benefits also have been bringing with them new vulnerabilities for violations of privacy, cybercrime, and cyber warfare. To get a sense of how the networked present came to be as it is now, and to imagine the potential future of an internet

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DARPA: Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency 1958-2018  

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