The Internet has revolutionized the computer and communications world like nothing before. The invention of the telegraph, telephone, radio, and computer set the stage for this unprecedented integration of capabilities. The Internet is at once a world-wide broadcasting capability, a mechanism for information dissemination, and a medium for collaboration and interaction between individuals and their computers without regard for geographic location. The Internet represents one of the most successful examples of the benefits of sustained investment and commitment to research and development of information infrastructure. Beginning with the early research in packet switching, the government, industry and academia have been partners in evolving and deploying this exciting new technology. Today, terms like "firstname.lastname@example.org" and "http://www.acm.org" trip lightly off the tongue of the random person on the street. 1
This is intended to be a brief, necessarily cursory and incomplete history. Much material currently exists about the Internet, covering history, technology, and usage. A trip to almost any bookstore will find shelves of material written about the Internet. 2
1 Perhaps this is an exaggeration based on the lead author's residence in Silicon Valley.
2 On a recent trip to a Tokyo bookstore, one of the authors counted 14 English language magazines devoted to the Internet.