In the popular imagination, the internet ‘began’ in 1991, and CERN scientist Tim Berners-Lee takes the credit. This could not really be much further from the truth.
Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web, which is actually the space on the internet where documents formatted in hypertext mark-up language (HTML), known more popularly as web pages or sites, reside and are accessed.
This is very important, and without it, modern life as we know it would be unimaginable – but it is not really the internet.
The roots of the internet actually go back to a few years before Computer Weekly, and one of the foundations of the internet lies in the UK, at the National Physical Laboratory (NPL) in Teddington, south-west London, where scientist Donald Davies independently hit on one of the core concepts establishing the internet in the early 1960s.
Davies – who back in the 1940s was said to have found a number of errors in Alan Turing’s work, much to Turing’s irritation – based his work on the idea that computer network traffic was chatty, marked by long silences followed by sudden bursts of data, as opposed to the always-on nature of telephone traffic.
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