J.C.R. Licklider

J.C.R. Licklider's Contribution to the Internet

J.C.R. "Lick" Licklider contributed to many advancements in computers that we take for granted today. Licklider began his scientific career as a professor at MIT who was interested in psychoacoustics, the study of how the human ear and brain convert air vibrations into the perception of sound. ( "www.livinginternet.com") Licklider also worked on MIT's SAGE project. Project SAGE tasked Licklider with designing and creating a computer-based air defense system against "Soviet bombers." Project Sage is what initially sparked his interest in computers. ("S.") His field of research, combined with his work on the SAGE project, made him believe that computers must become capable of direct human interaction.

Part of his vision included the eventual networking of computers. Here he explains it in his book ( Man-Computer Symbiosis):

It seems reasonable to envision, for a time 10 or 15 years hence, a 'thinking center' that will incorporate the functions of present-day libraries together with anticipated advances in information storage and retrieval.

The picture readily enlarges itself into a network of such centers, connected to one another by wide-band communication lines and to individual users by leased-wire services. In such a system, the speed of the computers would be balanced, and the cost of the gigantic memories and the sophisticated programs would be divided by the number of users.

- J.C.R. Licklider, Man-Computer Symbiosis, 1960.("www.livinginternet.com")

In 1962, Licklider was asked to lead to ARPA departments: Behavioral Sciences and Command and Control. One of his main tasks with this position was to find a better use for computers other than numerical calculations. In order to accomplish this, Licklider sought out top computer research institutions and opened research contracts with them. Among these institutions were Stanford, UCLA, and Berkeley. This group, named the Intergalactic Computer Network by Licklider, were eventually part of the group that created ARPANET; the precursor to the internet. ("S.")



Please see Bibliography page for references.

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