50 years ago today: First ARPANET message

ARPANET, or “Advanced Research Projects Agency Network”, the experimental computer network that was the forerunner of the Internet. The Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA), an arm of the U.S. Defense Department, funded the development of the Advanced Research Projects Agency Network (ARPANET) in the late 1960s. Its initial purpose was to link computers at Pentagon-funded research institutions over telephone lines.

The first successful message on the ARPANET was sent by UCLA student programmer Charley Kline, at 10:30pm on 29 October 1969 from Boelter Hall 3420. Kline transmitted from the university's SDS Sigma 7 Host computer to the Stanford Research Institute's SDS 940 Host computer. The message text was the word “login”; on an earlier attempt the l and the o letters were transmitted, but the system then crashed. So, the literal first message over the ARPANET was lo. About an hour later, after the programmers repaired the code that caused the crash, the SDS Sigma 7 computer effected a full login.

An essay, “The Computer as a Communication Device,” was published at the time in the popular “Journal of Science and Technology”. It began with “In a few years, men will be able to communicate more effectively through a machine than face to face.” The article went on to predict everything from global online communities to mood-sensing computer interfaces. It was the first inkling the public ever had about the potential of networked digital computing, and it attracted other researchers to the cause.

Vid describes the history of it in more detail.


By: Vyky (4734.10)

Tags: internet, www, world wide web, arpanet, technology history, history, computers

Location: Stanford, California, USA