How the Net Was Won, an interview with Douglas Van Houweling

posted Jun 27, 2016, 5:42 AM by Jeff Ogden   [ updated Jun 27, 2016, 5:45 AM ]
From http://dme.engin.umich.edu/internet/

How the Net Was Won

The ARPANET came before it. And the World Wide Web and browser technology would later make it accessible for the masses. But in between, a small Ann Arbor-based group labored on the NSFNET in relative obscurity to build—and ultimately to save—the Internet.

by Randy Milgrom

Douglas Van Houweling was collapsed in a chair, overjoyed—but daunted by the task ahead.

Van Houweling had received unofficial word a few weeks earlier that the National Science Foundation (NSF) had accepted his group’s proposal to upgrade an overloaded NSFNET backbone connecting the nation’s handful of supercomputing sites and nascent regional computer networks, but many details still needed to be negotiated with the NSF before a public announcement could be made. With those arrangements finally completed, that announcement, with some fanfare, would come the following day—on November 24, 1987.

The core of the team that Van Houweling and Eric Aupperle had knit together—and that for six long weeks had labored 20 hours a day, seven days a week, obsessing over every detail of its response to the NSF’s Request For Proposal—had gathered in Aupperle’s Ann Arbor home, and had stayed late into the night. It would only have these next few hours to exchange congratulations, to celebrate—and to start thinking about what would come next—before the real work would begin.

The Aupperle living room surged all evening with anticipation and speculation. As the night wound down, someone sitting on the floor next to the sofa said, “I think this is going to change the world.”

And yet they had no idea.

- See more at: http://dme.engin.umich.edu/internet/#sthash.FwRzJpqJ.dpuf

Comments