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Networking the Nerds
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The First Link

Doug EngelbartAs director of IPTO, Licklider could fund others to find out how to create an Intergalactic Network. One project he funded in 1963 was the "Augmentation Research Center," headed by Doug Engelbart out at Stanford.

After World War Two, Engelbart had returned to school and completed his Bachelor's Degree in Electrical Engineering at Oregon State University. He worked for NACA (later renamed NASA) at the Ames Laboratory for three years, but his fascination for computers grew and he went back to graduate school to study the new field of computer science.

After earning a Ph.D., he went to work at the Stanford Research Institute designing and building computer components. Bush's article still influenced Engelbart's work, and Englebart had some ideas on how to build an equivalent machine using computers. After a few years at SRI, he had enough experience and reputation to attract funding for his own laboratory. Besides Licklider, Engelbart also found some funding from of a young project engineer at NASA, Robert Taylor.

At the Augmentation Research Center, Engelbart was developing a new way of computing and he had to invent new tools to make it work. Many of his inventions were very innovative, including the mouse pointing device and windows on a computer display. He also created an early hypertext system called NLS, but it wasn't widely used. The world wasn't ready for hypertext.


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