Department of Computer Science

Duke University

Six Centuries of Internetworking

Fall 2001

Current topic: Big Brother and the Barbarians at the Gate. For Thursday, December 6, please read the infrastructure security material.

Final projects are due on Thursday, December 13 at 5:00 PM EST.

Beware of the ``Goner'' virus: see alerts at NIPC and the Internet Storm Center.


Jeff Chase (
TTH 2:15 - 3:30 (D243 LSRC)

"Understanding your technology is the key to understanding your times."  This course is about the Internet, but it is about much more than that. Rather, it is about the progression and impact of the series of technologies that enabled the storage, retrieval, transmission, protection, and processing of information.  This course views the Internet as just the latest (but not the last) technology in this series. The best way to fully understand what the Internet is, how it came about, and its impact on society is to explore the story of its predecessors. It is an entertaining story filled with interesting characters and interesting times.

The title of the course dates from the development of the Gutenberg printing press about 1450. 
Other technologies of interest are the chronometer, mechanical computing automata, railroads, telegraph, telephone, electrical supply networks, cryptography, "wireless" radio, and television broadcasting.

The second half of the semester focuses on the computing and networking technologies that built the modern Internet on these foundations during the last of the six centuries.  We round out our trip through the centuries with some speculation about the next 50 years as the "Internet revolution" continues to unfold.

Seminar proposal: PS, PDF