In the early 1960s the military became enamored with the idea of creating a communications system that did not rely on a central interchange vulnerable to attack - think of a telephone operator's room.
So with the help of a handful of leading universities and other labs, work began on a project to directly link a number of computers. In 1969, with Defense Department money, the first node of this network was installed on the campus of UCLA. The ARPANET, as it was called, was a fore bearer of the internet.
Over the next two decades the project expanded, with the universities and the National Science Foundation developing complementary networks.
"In 1989, the ARPANET was formally ended," reads a fact sheet from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, which developed APPANET. "But the larger Internet it had given birth to was just beginning."
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