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In 1973 the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) initiated a research program to investigate techniques and technologies for interlinking packet networks of various kinds. The objective was to develop communication protocols which would allow networked computers to communicate trans­parently across multiple, linked packet networks. This was called the Internetting project and the system of networks which emerged from the research was known as the "Internet" (In­tercontinental Network).

During the course of its evolution, particularly after 1989, the Internet system began to intergrate support for other pro­tocol suites into its basic networking fabric. By the end of 1991 the Internet has grown to include some 5000 networks in over three dozen countries, serving over 700,000 host computers used by over 4,000,000 people.

The bulk of the system today is made up of private network­ing facilities In education and research institutions, business and in government organizations across the globe.

A secretariat has been created to manage the day-to-day function of the Internet Activities Board (IAB) and Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF). IETF meets three times a year

Английский язык. Основы компьютерной грамотности 162

in plenary and in approximately 50 working groups convene at intermediate times by electronic mail, teleconferencing and at face-to-face meetings.

There are a number of Network Information Centres (NICs) located throughout the Internet to serve its users with documen­tation, guidance, advice and assistance. As the Internet contin­ues to grow internationally, the need for high quality NIC func­tions increases. Although the initial community of users of the Internet were drawn from the ranks of computer science and engineering its users now comprise a wide range of disciplines in the sciences, arts, letters, business, military and government administration.

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