Some thirty years ago , the Rand corporation , America's foremost cold
war think tank, faced a strange straegic problem. How could the US authrieties succesfully communicate after a nuclear war?
Postnuclear America would need a comand-and-control network, linked from city to city , state to state, base to base . But no matter how thoroughly that
network was armored or protected , its switches and wiring would always be vulnerable to the impact of atomic bombs. A nuclear attack would reduce any conceivable network to tatters. And how would the network itself be commanded and controlled ? Any central authority, any network central citadel, would be an obvious and immediate target for man enemy missile
. The center of the network
would be the very first place to go.
RAND mulled over this grim puzzle in deep military secrecy, and arrived at a daring solution made in 1964.The principles were simple . The network itself would be assumed to be unreliable at all times . It would be designed from the get-go to tyranscend its all times . It would be designed from the get-go to transcend its own unrreliability. All the nodes from computers in the network would be equal in status to all other nodes , each node with its own authority to originate , pass , and receive
messages. The messages would be
divided into packets, each packet seperatly addressed. Each packet would begin at some specified source node , and end at some other specified destination node . Each packet would wind its way through the network on an individual basis.In fall 1969, the first such node was insalled in UCLA. By December 1969, there were 4 nodes on the infant network, which was named arpanet, after its Pentagon sponsor.
The four computers could even be programed remotely from the other nodes. thanks to ARPANET scientists and researchers could share one another's computer facilities by long -distance . This was a very handy service , for...