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Background on the Internet and the WWW

Also see  History of Computing  and  Computer Science Information & Technology Resources

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The Internet - A global network that links of thousands of computers by data lines and wireless systems. 

Background history on the Internet -The Internet, originally the ARPAnet (Advanced Research Projects Agency network), began as a military computer network in 1969. Other government agencies and universities created internal networks based on the ARPAnet model. The catalyst for the Internet today was provided by the National Science Foundation (NSF). Rather than have a physical communications connection from each institution to a supercomputing center, the NSF began a "chain" of connections in which institutions would be connected to their "neighbor" computing centers, which all tied into central supercomputing centers. This beginning expanded to a global network of computer networks, which allows computers all over the world to communicate with one another and share information stored at various computer "servers," either on a local computer or a computer located anywhere in the world. The Internet is not governed by any official body, but there are organizations which work to make the Internet more accessible and useful.]

World Wide Web (WWW) - A hypermedia information storage system which links computer-based resources around the world. Computer programs called Browsers enable words or icons called hyperlinks to display, text, video, graphics and sound on a computer screen. The source of the material is at a different location - a different file in the same directory, a file in another computer, which can be located anywhere in the world.

The WWW was invented in 1990 by a CERN - (European Laboratory for Particle Physics - (http://www.cern.ch/Public/) computer scientist. Here is Tim Berners-Lee's original proposal  to attempt to persuade CERN management to initiate a global hypertext system, which Berners-Lee called "Mesh" before he decided on the name "World Wide Web" when writing the code in 1990. It was originally conceived and developed for physics collaborations, which require for instantaneous information sharing between scientists working at different universities and institutes all over the world. 

Marc Andreesen was instrumental in creating the first public WWW browser, Mosaic, in 1993, through the University of Illinois National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA).  Mosaic was initially developed for UNIX, then adapted to Windows applications.

Internet Terminology

The World Wide Web is not the only application for the Internet.

A few other applications using the Internet:

FTP ( file transfer protocol) - software to receive from upload) or send to (download) files (text, pictures, spreadsheets, etc.) from one computer/server to another.

Telnet - a program that you can use to log in to another computer ("host") on the Internet and then use its functions. Some web browsers use Telnet as a "helper application" to connect to a remote machine.

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