Celebrating the Birth of the Internet

Oct282011

These days, staying connected to the ones you love or work with is as easy as the touch of a button and the swipe of your finger.  It’s hard to image a time without cell phones, without Wi-Fi or god forbid Facebook, let alone the internet all together.  Today we have more than 5 billion internet-connected devices, with an expected 22 billion by 2020. And we owe it in part to the ingenuity of two young academics at UCLA and Stanford Research Institute (SRI) who back in 1969 connected two computers for the first time, sparking what would lead to today’s age of connectivity as we now know it and changing the way we live and play.

That is why Applied Materials is celebrating the anniversary of the first message ever sent between two computers on the internet – well, technically the ARPANET, the predecessor to today’s great and vast World Wide Web.  Tomorrow, October 29, marks 42 years since UCLA student programmer Charley Line sent the first ever message between two networked computers, successfully transmitting data from  UCLA’s SDS Sigma 7 Host computer to Bill Duvall’s SDS 940 Host computer at SRI.

This was done via the first internet router, an Interace Message Processor or IMP, which was provided as part of the Defense Department’s ARPANET project and served as the interface between the computers.  In 1969, this IMP cost $82,200 and contained a Honeywell 516 minicomputer capable of manipulating a mere 12,100 words (about 24 kilobytes) of memory.  The smartphone in your pocket probably has upwards of a million times more memory than this first connected device.

The actual message delivered to Duvall that evening was short in content – the network successfully transmitted the letters “L” and “O” for “LOGIN” before the system crashed – but the impact of its successful transmission to the electronics industry and to consumers across the globe is immeasurable.

That evening in 1969, Line and Duvall celebrated the connection of just two devices.  Today, Applied Materials is proud to play a role in enabling the scale and technology behind the 5 billion affordable internet connected devices like smartphones and tablets that are empowering consumers, transforming lives, broadening economic opportunities, and rebalancing the wealth of nations around the world. This wouldn’t have been possible without brilliant minds like Line and Duvall, who tested the limits with the then radical idea of networked computing.  Duvall and Line, we salute you and look forward to continuous innovation in the decades ahead.

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