Who Invented the Internet?

The inventors of the internet are credited as Robert E. Kahn and Vint Cerf.


It is often difficult to credit the invention of the internet to a single individual. This is due to the vast technologies and inventions that led to the use of the internet today. The internet is a product of pioneering innovations by scientists, engineers, and programmers. In fact the inventions of the computer, telephone, and radio were a basis for the internet functions. However, there are two people who are usually considered to be the inventors of the internet: Robert Kahn and Vinton Cerf.

Individual Contributions

The internet began in the mind of Nikola Tesla in the 1900s. She envisioned a “world wireless system.” Later on, Paul Otlet visualized a mechanized system where books could be stored and searched for use. In spite of these earlier contributions towards a global computer network, the major breakthrough came in 1962. In several memos, J. C. R. Licklider discussed the “Galactic Network” concept. He envisaged a worldwide connection of computers whereby everyone would be able to access programs and data as fast as they needed to. Licklider discovered this concept while he worked as the leader of a DARPA computer research program. He influenced his successors such as Ivan Sutherland, Bob Taylor, and Lawrence G. Roberts with the concept.

In July 1961, Leonard Kleinrock developed the packet switching theory. He went on to write a book about the theory in 1964. He shared his discovery with Lawrence Roberts. The packet switching theory explained the possibility of communicating using packets instead of circuits. It was a major step towards computer networking. Furthermore, it was recommended to the government as a method of resolving the vulnerability of its Advanced Research Projects Agency Network (ARPANET). The first government agency to use it was the US Department of Defence. After this invention, Roberts partnered with Thomas Merrill to explore the aspect of computers talking to each other. This led to the development of the Interface Message Processor (IMP).

Robert Kahn and Vinton Cerf

Robert Kahn and Vinton Cerf were the inventors of the internet. Mr. Kahn was born on December 23, 1938 in New York, US. His parents were Beatrice and Lawrence Kahn. In 1960, Robert graduated as an Electrical Engineer from the City College of New York. He then proceeded to Princeton University and earned a Masters degree in 1962 and a post graduate degree in 1964.

On the other hand, Vinton Cerf was born in the coastal city of New Haven, Connecticut. He was born on June 23, 1943. His mother was Miguel Cerf while the father was Vinton Thurston Cerf. Cerf’s mother was a housewife whereas his father was an aerospace executive. Vinton attended the Van Nuys High School. He then joined Stanford University and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics.

Robert Kahn and Vinton Cerf have been credited as the internet inventors due to their development of two key components of the internet. They came up with the Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) and Internet Protocol (IP) in 1973. The TCP was a model which could allow sharing of information among multiple computer networks. In 1983, APRANET began applying the use of the TCP/IP. Thereafter developers started putting together different “network pieces” to come up with the modern internet.

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