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Joseph Licklider

Last Edit: 10/01/17

Joseph Licklider was a pioneering computer scientist who envisaged a 'Intergalactic Computer Network'. Licklider was born on the 11th of March, 1915, and was a professor at MIT who co-founded the world renowned MIT Lincoln Laboratory. Licklider worked for Bolt Beranek and Newman technologies in the 1950's; BBN built the Interface Message Processor (IMP) for ARPANET.

Licklider was an academic who taught psychology, and wrote notable papers within that academic field, but, it is perhaps for his work in computer networking that he is best remembered. When he worked for ARPA - within the Information Processing Techniques Office - in the early 1960's, Licklider envisaged an idea for a global computer network which would connect scientists across the world, who could easily share ideas and research.

Licklider referred to his network as an 'Intergalactic Computer Network', and he outlined the network within a number of memorandums he sent to affiliates and members of the "Intergalactic Computer Network" in 1963. Basically, the ideas Licklider outlined in these memorandums would evolve to become ARPANET, and from ARPANET into the Internet. Therefore, Licklider is noted as being a 'pioneer' of the Internet.

Licklider left ARPO in 1964, but before he left he managed to inspire Ivan Sutherland and Robert Taylor to "buy into" his idea of a global 'wide area' computer network. Robert Taylor would outline a blueprint for this network in 1966-1967, and the network was built in 1968-1969. The network became operational on the 29th of August, 1969, and was named ARPANET. ARPANET was the materialisation and fulfillment of Licklider's 'Intergalactic Computer Network'

Licklider continued to work within the field of computer science after leaving ARPO, and helped to develop the Compatible Time-Sharing System (CTSS) opeating system. CTSS would inspire the development of operating systems like Unix.