- The ARPANET
project was financed by the US Department of State.
- The military
needed a means of communication suitable for use in times of war.
- It all
began on 2 September 1969 with a cable 4 and a half metres long, linking
two computers in a laboratory at the University of California, Los Angeles.
Professor Leonard Kleinrock and students Vint Cerf and Robert Kahn succeeded
in transferring data from one machine to another.
- On 20
October two computers communicated at a distance for the first time: one
was at UCLA, the other 500 kilometres away, in Stanford.
- The data
transferred was just one word: "hallo…"
together with Great Britain, Germany and Norway, was involved in the subsequent
project, SATNET, which was to use a satellite above the Atlantic to connect
the four European countries to the U.S.
- The Italian
partner chosen for Satnet was CNUCE (itself a partner of the CNR, the state
research institute) and I was appointed project contact, responsible for
installations, connections and liaison with the Americans.
at that time did not have a UNIX system, despite promptings, and despite
the fact that someone got the operating system tapes (implementing TCP/IP)
from Berkeley, but the networks group (Lenzini, Bonito, Gregori, Mannocci,
Sommani and Zucchelli) proceeded in that direction … and the things we
were looking for as communications settings were found in the architecture
of a flexible layer Internet Protocol which enabled applications and development.
- On 30
April 1986 I connected the CNUCE operating system to those in laboratories
at the universities and military institutions in the USA over ARPANET.
- On the
day of that landmark experiment I was alone.
- I was
on a high. I sensed the enormous possibilities the new communications medium
had for growth, but I didn't realize at the time that this connection would
change the world.
did I know I was contributing to history.
- I was
on my own, in front of the PDP 11, with a BBN "Butterfly" router
- bigger than a fridge.
- On a 64
kilobyte line from the terminal in Pisa I sent [IP assigned over the SATNET
network] a package of data to the Telespazio centre some hundreds of kilometres
away, in the Fucino plain, near Aquila, whose antenna then sent it via
the INTELSAT V satellite to Roaring Creek, in Virginia.
- The communications
chain even included SIP (now Telecom Italia) over the section Fucino-Pisa
and ITALCABLE for the connection between international telephone exchanges.
- From Roaring
Creek a computer responded: a simple signal.
- I prepared
a press release - 37 lines, but the next day no newspaper had taken up
the story, maybe because the editors didn't realize the importance of the
- It was
only later that I sent the first "e-mail" from Italy. It was
to Jonathan Postel, one of the fathers of the Internet, a visionary I had
met in Marina del Rey, at the Information Sciences Institute of the University
of South California. Later, we would exchange hundreds of e-mails.
- I will
always regret not keeping his first reply, especially after he died in
1998. But we had enough time to cooperate in setting up the Italian domain
- What happened
in the next few years was extraordinary. In 1991 the Internet networks
began to link up, and then opened up to commercial use. The first providers
set up, providing private users access to the Internet.
- By this
time email was already operational and newsgroups enabling discussion on
- Tim Berners-Lee,
an English physicist working at CERN in Geneva, made access to sites more
rapid, inventing the hypertext language HTML, allowing users to go from
one document to another with a simple click: it was then possible for every
computer connected to the net to access the archives of other computers…
- In 1993
the first browser was invented by a 20 year old researcher at the University
of Illinois, Marc Anderssen.
- In 1994
David Filo and Jerry Young, students of electronics at Stanford University,
invented Yahoo, the first search engine.
- The Internet
is the child of the pc.
- One computer
alone is limited.
- As one
person alone is.
replicate human relations.