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University Of Utah Celebrates 50 Years Of Internet, And The Utahns That Helped Make It Possible

When was the last time you thought about a time before internet? It wasn’t that long ago, only 50 years since the first message was sent between computers at the University of Califonia, Los Angeles and the Stanford Research Institute.

Dr. Richard Brown is the dean of engineering at the University of Utah. He explains how the idea was developed.

“Well, it was 50 years ago. There was a group called ARPA for the Advanced Research Project Agency, it was part of the Department of Defense.”

The group funded projects related to all things computers.

John Warnock was a graduate student at the time at the University of Utah. He was part of the project from its inception.

“He was invited to a meeting that was held up at the Rustler Lodge at Alta, where the architecture of the ARPAnet was first discussed. So he was sitting off to the side listening to these computing luminaries discuss how you could make computers talk to each other.”

“In 1969 the first communication was between a computer at UCLA and one at the Stanford research institute.”  

These were enormous mainframe computers. They had cabinets of drives that filled entire rooms.

“They had less computing power by far than what you have on your smart phone now, but that’s what computers were in those days.”

The third connection was made at the University of California, Santa Barbara.  

“The fourth node was a PDP-10 at the University of Utah. So the University of Utah was the fourth connection to the ARPAnet, which became the internet.”

“I’m sure it would have been difficult to imagine all that would follow, but there certainly were visionary people there.”