Al Gore - Father of the Internet?

Urban legend has it that former Vice President Al Gore claimed he invented the Internet. It is not legend at all because, during a CNN television interview, Sen. Gore actually said he invented the Internet. What is the real story?

Previously, we looked at how the Internet grew out of the original ARPAnet, which came from work done by the Department of Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. There is no disputing the Internet, represented by the millions of interconnected computers and computer networks, is deeply rooted in the original ARPAnet.

The World Wide Web, on the other hand, is the information space that rides on the Internet. The Web lies mostly in Web servers that store and serve Web pages so easily accessible today with any Web browser. The Internet was quickly growing but the ability to easily access the information was not. The concept of the Web was in place but the means to turn the concept into reality did not exist. The biggest problem was the lack of a decent or easy to use Web browser.

In 1991, then Sen. Gore introduced a bill called the High Performance Computing and Communication Act. The initiative supported several projects at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications. The most significant project turned out to be the development of a graphical Web browser called Mosaic. While Mosaic was not the first Web browser, it is generally credited with making the Web extremely popular.

So, Al Gore acquired the funding for the project that turned concept into reality for millions of people. It resulted in a browser that greatly accelerated the popularity of the Web. He may have embellished a little on CNN, but isn't that what politicians do?

Ron Poland is a professor in the Computer Information Systems AAS program at Clinton Community College. Poland is certified in company repair and networking by the Computer Technology Industry Association (CompTIA). He is also a Cisco certified network assistant. Questions may be sent to him via e-mail at ron@ronpoland.com.

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