inventors

Internet and World Wide Web visionaries ponder surviving world war

Vannevar Bush World Wide Web visionaryThe old proverb necessity is the mother of invention is illustrated in the ideas of Internet and World Wide Web visionaries J.C.R. Licklider and Vannevar Bush. The difficult scenario that was the catalyst of their visionary ideas was surviving a war.

Vannevar Bush looks beyond World War II

Vannevar Bush was looking at the aftermath of World War II and looking at ways to make sure all the scientific data and lessons learned were not lost when he published an Atlantic Monthly article in 1945 titled "As We May Think." The article describes his theoretical machine called a "memex" that would be able to make links between documents. Many people point to "As We May Think" as the earliest published vision of the concept of hypertext.

Bush worked hard during entire life to strengthen the relationship between government, business, and the scientific community. In the 1930s, as the president of the Carnegie Institution Bush informally advised the government on scientific matters. In 1938 Vannevar Bush was appointed to the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics. In 1940 Bush felt the country needed a new organization to conduct military research and proposed his plan to President Roosevelt. The National Defense Research Committee (NDRC) was created with Bush as the chairman. Vannevar Bush represented the overall scientific community as the first presidential science adviser. In 1941 the newly created Office of Scientific Research and Development (OSRD) absorbed the NDRC. As director of the Office of Scientific Research and Development, Bush oversaw much of the United States’ wartime scientific research including the Manhattan Project and the development of the atomic bomb.

Although Bush is most remembered for "As We May Think," another Bush article from 1945 entitled, "Science-The Endless Frontier" was equally influential. Bush outlined the importance of federally funded scientific research and called for a national research foundation. The National Science Foundation (NSF) was created in 1950 to support fundamental research and education in science and engineering.

Who invented the world wide web?

Tim Berners-Lee defines the world wide webAlmost universally you will find references that state that Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide. According to the World Wide Web Foundation, "Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web in 1989." But is it that simple?

Like any use of the word invention, it is rarely a simple process of one person creating something new entirely from scratch. Let's define the world wide web and its components.

What is the World Wide Web?

Many people use the term internet interchangeably with "the web" or "world wide web." The internet is the information super highway, the infrastructure on which we travel. Web browsers and web servers make up the world wide web, the vehicle we use to travel on the highway.

The 1980s internet protocols become universal language of computers

Bob Kahn and Vinton Cerf set the standardsThe internet was not something born of a single idea, but rather a gradual evolution, and the work of many people over many years.

The idea started with a vision to create a decentralized computer network, whereby every computer was connected to each other, but if one member of the systems was hit, the others would remain unaffected.From the initial idea of a decentralized computer network came the concept of packet switching. During the 1960s Paul Baran developed the concept of packet switching networks while conducting research at the historic RAND organization.

What is a Protocol?

The network concept of protocols establishes a set of rules for each system to speak the others language in order for them to communicate. Once the concept of packet switching was developed the next stage in the evolution was to create a language that would be understood by all computer systems.

This new standard set of rules would enable different types of computers, with different hardware and software platforms, to communicate in spite of their differences. Protocols describe both the format that a message must take as well as the way in which messages are exchanged between computers.

The next phase in the evolution of the Internet would be the work of Bob Kahn and Vinton Cerf during the 1970s. Kahn and Cerf would collaborate as key members of a team to create TCP/IP, Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) and Internet Protocol (IP), the building blocks of the modern internet.

TCP/IP becomes the language of the Internet

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