Post by Mark Jackson Post by D B Davis Post by Mark Jackson Post by D B Davis
On Sat, 8 Dec 2018 15:35:33 -0000 (UTC), D B Davis
Post by D B Davis
On Fri, 7 Dec 2018 16:00:30 -0000 (UTC), D B Davis
Post by D B Davis Post by Mark Jackson
Yes - Donald Davies invented packet switching
independently (and coined the term) in pursuit of
inter-computer communications efficiency, not nuclear
resilience. See /Where Wizards Stay Up Late/ (Hafner
Did ARPA use Davies for reference? ARPA did indeed use
Baran's distributed communications, which was explicitly
conceived and designed to survive a nuclear war.
Davies had a working network, Baran had simulations. Cerf
and Kahn used those sources and also the results of
research conducted at PARC, where another working packet
Baran's seminal data network is explicitly conceived and
designed to survive an nuclear war.
Your point being?
My point remains as originally stated above. Nuclear war
survivability as a historical motive is not cut and dried. Your
feelings that "nuclear war had no part in the design of the
Internet" is a misconception.
Baran was entirely unsuccessful in convincing AT&T that they
should build a packet-switching system. He did succeed in getting
the Air Force interested, but when the proposed project was
assigned to the Defense Communications Network Baran saw no support
there for it and the project died. That is as far as that
initiative went and it has no ancestral claim on the creation of
the ARPAnet, the genesis of which was a desire to facilitate
communication among the many different computers supporting
ARPA-funded research around the country. Nuclear resilience had
nothing to do with it.
Yes, the folks working toward creating the ARPAnet became aware of
Baran's work around the same time they became aware of Davies'.
But Davies had invented the same packet-switching approach as
Baran; if the latter had never existed development of the ARPAnet
would have proceeded unchanged.
PKD writes some of my favorite alternate history. Matter of fact,
this morning _The Man in the High Castle_ is being scrutinized to see
if it what it says about "Lao Tzu," which appears in another rasw
thread. In the end, in /this/ reality, Baran's data network, which
was conceived and designed to survive nuclear war, is seminal.
Seminal - "strongly influencing later developments."
OK, give us some alternate history: how, specifically, would the
ARPAnet have differed if Baran's work had never existed?
PKD's a genius with words, you know. It amazes me how he fluently
describes a character's mental processes. Perhaps PKD pretensions can do
me some good.
“We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about
what we pretend to be.” - Vonnegut
The word "seminal" is a good word. It defies binary thinking because
no one knows for certain how, or even if, a seminal work affects those
that follow. Seminal in this context comes from the preface of RAND's
"On Distributed Communications" :
An electrical engineer by training, Paul Baran worked for Hughes
Aircraft Company's systems group before joining RAND in 1959.
While working at RAND on a scheme for U.S. telecommunications
infrastructure to survive a "first strike," Baran conceived of
the Internet and digital packet switching, the Internet's
underlying data communications technology. His concepts are
still employed today; just the terms are different. His seminal
work first appeared in a series of RAND studies published between
1960 and 1962 and then finally in the tome "On Distributed
Communications," published in 1964.
John W Campbell Jr had passed away by the time the Ackermans
released _PR #9: Quest Through Space and Time_. In that MMPB Forrest
Ackerman describes Campbell as seminal figure who /inspired imitators./
See, the thing is, you may dominate, but, unless you /inspire imitators/
you're not seminal.