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A History of The Internet

Rod Munday | Tuesday May 19, 2009

Categories: Key Concepts, New Media, Convergence, Digital Media, Internet, New Technologies, We Media, Other Topics, Website Analysis, Social Networking Analysis, Web Pages

Associated Resources

Have a look at the following resources on MediaEdu:

Web Design Tutorials

The Internet and World Wide Web

Studying The Internet

Deconstructing Web Pages

History of the Internet 1 | The Computer

The history of the internet is not a straight-forward narrative since it was not invented by one person or any group of people. The internet emerged out of the combination of three distinct inventions: computers, networks and software applications.

Each invention has its own distinct history and key figures - in the case of computers, it is a history that stretches back many thousands of years.

When reading this brief history of the internet, it is important to remember that the internet as we know it today was never planned, it happened due to the coincidental coming together of many isolated pieces of research and no-one working in their particular field at a particular time could have envisaged how their achievement would one day turn out.

We will look at each of the three strands of this history in turn beginning with the computer.

Computers today can be used for: drawing, writing, filming and even creating entire worlds in virtual reality. Consequently they are considered to be much more than mere calculating machines. But this was not always the case. So how did computers evolve from just a collection of on off switches doing mathematics into ‘universal machines’ capable of performing almost any task imaginable?

3000 – 300 BC The First Calculator

The first purpose-built calculator was the abacus, invented between 3000 and 300 BC.

It was thought that abacuses were invented in Babylonia (now part of Southern Iraq).

Early abacuses were just rows of pebbles placed in grooves of sand. The word “calculus” actually comes from the Latin word for pebble.

1666 Binary Mathematics

Although binary (base 2) was first used in India as early as 300 BC it was not known in Europe until its rediscovery by the...


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