It takes a community. Especially when bringing the Internet to an entire nation.
At the 2013 Internet Hall of Fame induction ceremony in Berlin, Germany, Gihan Dias recalled the introduction of the Internet to Sri Lanka, his native country, underscoring that it was a labor of love undertaken by an entire community of people.
“I'm really grateful for this honor,” he said. “But, really, it is not just me. There were many, many people behind this.”
In the mid-80s, Dias was a graduate student at the University of California. “We found this great technology called email, which allowed us to talk to each other,” he said. “But, we didn’t have that back in Sri Lanka.”
So, Dias and a group of colleagues created a network called SLNet, or Sri Lanka Net. Initially set up to “get news from Sri Lanka,” Dias said, “We realized, here is a good way for people in U.S., Canada, Australia and England and all over the world, to talk to each other.”
The network grew. “That was really one of the first social networks, there were others, but one of the first, which was set up globally, long before the (term) social network was ever coined,” he noted.
A map created by University of Wisconsin computer science professor Paul Barford, in conjunction with colleagues from the University of Wisconsin, Colgate University and network security firm Niksun, is the first of its kind to show all the long-distance fiber-optic cables that carry Internet data across the continental U.S. Though they comprise critical public infrastructure, a comprehensive map of these cables has not previously been available.
According to an article about the map in MIT Technology Review: “Although the Internet is publicly accessible, it is woven together from many privately-owned networks that interoperate. Telecommunications companies sometimes show schematics of their core networks, but without much geographic detail. Barford says some government agencies likely have maps of their own, but they aren’t public.”
The map, which took four years to compile, was laboriously created by piecing together public records created by the municipal permitting process for laying cables.
Long before DARPA, the ARPAnet and the Network Analysis Corporation, Internet Hall of Fame inductee Dr. Howard Frank was a lover of science – science fiction, that is.
By the late 1990s, he and his wife, Jane Frank, had amassed the largest collection of science-fiction and fantasy art in the world. The Frank Collection held works of master science fiction and fantasy artists including Jim Burns, Bob Eggleton, Barclay Shaw, and Donato Giancola. At its peak, the collection held approximately 750 works of art.
“I started out as a kid reading science fiction books,” said Dr. Frank. “The first ones were read to me by my father.”
One of his favorite books was “The Radio Man,” written by author Ralph Milne Farley. “It was about an Earth man, a radio engineer, who was transported to Venus,” Dr. Frank...
In 1969, Internet Hall of Fame inductee Dr. Howard Frank co-wrote a proposal to design the network structure for the ARPAnet. He didn’t know it at the time, but this work would cement his role in Internet history. Dr. Frank spoke recently with the Internet Hall of Fame about that project, his work in applying the technology more broadly, consulting for the White House, and what he thinks of the Internet today.
IHoF: What was your role in the development of the Internet?
HF: I formed my first company, Network Analysis Corporation (NAC), in 1969. One of our first contracts was with DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency). The topological design of the ARPAnet was, at that point, for four nodes, and they were all on the West Coast. Additional nodes had been ordered, but there was no scientific design. We were hired to do that because we were experts in design.
IHoF: How did you become involved?
Up until 1968,...
One thing is clear. The Internet has improved because smartphones are able to provide access from almost anywhere, and this technology is likely to fuel a new class of Internet Hall of Fame inductees at some point in the future, according to inductee and TCP/IP co-inventor Vint Cerf.
“This is just the beginning of what I will call a ‘portable, Internet-of-Things environment,’” Cerf told the Internet Hall of Fame in an interview at a global summit entitled, “The Internet Age: Founders to Future,” hosted by the Internet Society and the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History in Washington D. C. last June.
Cerf predicted that household appliances would soon become part of this portable, wireless environment. “We’re expecting lots and lots of appliances, not just smartphones, to become part of the Internet environment,” he said, including every-day appliances.
“It will be things that you have around the house, like your refrigerator and your ovens,...