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IT Trends for 2011: Things Might Be Very Different Today


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This is a keynote talk I gave at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington's anual Wilmington Area Information Technology Exchange. ( It goes "through a fractured fairy" tale history of the Internet focusing on the ways that the Internet and web might actually never have happenned. The talk proposes an alternate present where these innovations failed ,and then looks forward toward where we might be 20 years from now with the evolution of cloud computing. The talk features 11 short video segments including footage of Larry Smarr, Doug van Houweling, Robert Cailliau, TIm Berners-Lee, Paul Kunz, Joseph Hardin, and Jeff Bezos. While teach video was only 1-2 minutes long in this talk, there are extended versions of the videos are available on my Vimeo channel

I wold love to give this talk a few more times. It was a lot of fun.

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IT Trends for 2011: Things Might Be Very Different Today

  1. 1. IT Trends for 2011: Things Might Be Very Different Today Dr. Charles Severance Clinical Associate Professor University of Michigan School of Information
  2. 2. A Fractured Fairy Tale of Internet History Fractured Fairy Tales presented familiar fairytales and childrens stories, but with storylines altered and modernized for humorous effect.
  3. 3. Pick one of the following moments in Internet History: (a) the building of the National Science Foundations NSFNet for academic use, (b) the creation of the World-Wide-Web at CERN, or (c) the development of the Mosaic web browser for Macintosh and PC computers. Assume that the event never happened and describe how you think that the current network environment would be different today.Brazil (1985)
  4. 4. What year was this ad on Television? What company made the ad? 0:30
  5. 5. Internet: TCI Show 08 December 11-14, 1995 1:22
  6. 6. Research Networks• 1960s - 1980s• What is the best protocol fairly to solve all of the competing needs?• Should we go with commercial solutions from IBM or Digital Equipment? Or should we build something “open”?• ARPANET was an exclusive Club Source: Unknown
  7. 7. University of Illinoisat Urbana-Champaign
  8. 8. Supercomputers...• As science needed faster and faster computers, more universities asked for their own Multimillion dollar supercomputer• The National Science Foundation asked, “Why not buy a few supercomputers, and build up a national shared network?” CC: BY-SA: Rama (Wikipedia) 2.0/fr/deed.en_GB
  9. 9. NCSA - Innovation• We now “assume” the Internet and the Web - it was not so easy...• A number of breakthrough innovations came from the National Center for Supercomputing Applications at Urbana-Champaign, Illinois Larry Smarr, NCSA• High Performance Computing and the Internet were deeply linked (2:51)
  10. 10. University of Michigan University of Illinoisat Urbana-Champaign
  11. 11. NSFNet @ University of Michigan• University of Michigan failed to get one of the five Supercomputer Centers• Partners: University of Michigan, Merit Network, IBM Corporation, MCI, and State of Michigan• Proposed a $55M high-speed network for $15M• Operated from 1988-1995 2:49
  12. 12. Source:
  13. 13. NSF Net• NSFNet was the first network that was “inclusive”• Standardized on TCP/IP• Initially the goal was all research universities• In the early 1990’s commercial companies (Internet Service Providers) could join and resell service
  14. 14. NSFNET T1 Backbone and RegionalNetworks, 1991
  15. 15. University of CERN Michigan University of Illinoisat Urbana-Champaign
  16. 16. The Beginning of the Web: CERN• The Internet was infrastructure - the web gave the Internet a “user interface and URLs• The Web was invented at CERN by Tim Berners-Lee and Robert Robert Cailliau Cailliau CERN• CERN developed browsers and servers - with a goal of worldwide hyperlinked documents (1:59)
  17. 17. University of CERN MichiganStanford University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  18. 18. The First Web Server in America• Stanford Linear Accelerator (SLAC) - Dr. Paul Kunz• It was a database of 300,000 research papers Paul Kunz SLAC• December 12, 1991• The first "search engine"? (2:22)
  19. 19. 1993: Gopher is Dominant • Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) Meeting • March 29-April 2, 1993 - Columbus, Ohio, USA (638 attendees) • Gopher BOF - 200 attendees • World-Wide Web BOF - 15 attendees including Tim Berners-Lee • P.S. DVD is invented this year
  20. 20. University of CERN MichiganStanford University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  21. 21. Mosaic - Netscape - Mozilla - Firefox• Mosaic was developed at NCSA - Unix / Windows / Mac - Easy Install• NCSA created the httpd web server which is the basic for the Apache web server• While most of the NCSA programmers Joseph Hardin, UM formed Netscape and made their fortunes, NCSA released their browser for free and focused on building standards to keep the web open 3:11
  22. 22. 1994:Year of the Web• Netscape Founded - April 4, 1994• WWW Conf: May 25-26-27 1994, CERN, Geneva (Switzerland) 0:49• WWW Conf: October 17-19, 1994, Chicago, IL• October 1994, Tim Berners-Lee founded the (W3C) at MIT• November 8, 1994 - Windows 95 beta 2 0:54
  23. 23. • Larry Smarr wanted to make supercomputers available to physicists• Unversity of Michigan snuck in 1.54Mb/sec instead of 56kb/sec backbone for the NSFNet• Tim Berners-Less and Robert Cailliau were building a system for network hosted documentation• Paul Kunz was trying to make his article database easier to use• Joseph Hardin wanted to make supercomputers more user friendly
  24. 24.
  25. 25. What is the flaw ofthe logic of the You Will commercials?
  26. 26. Monopoly andinnovation are seldom co-located.
  27. 27. My Dystopian Present• The network would be from AT&T• Our laptop would be from AT&T• Our PDA would be from AT&T• E-Mail addresses would be numeric and have an area code (517) 684-0982-4016 - there would be no spam - caller id for e-mail• We would be charged for every byte we transferred
  28. 28. My Dystopian Present• Hardware would work flawlessly• Hardware would be seldom be upgraded• Technology hardware would be very uniform• No user-servicable parts inside- repairs would be at a AT&T service center• There would be no free Wifi at airports - nothing would be free
  29. 29. 1997: The Web Land Rush...• In the late 1990’s there were many fortunes to be made - simply by being first in a market• Many things were “novel” when it was re-invented on the web• New brands were quickly established and became dominant 1:49
  30. 30. Clouds and The Future
  31. 31. Awesome Cloud LaptopImagine a awesome future where a laptop had no local storage, was Google CR-48always connected, data in the cloud December 2010 FAIL applications in the cloud, nothing to patch or upgrade ever, always perfectly backed up. Long battery life. No problem if hardware is lost or broken. Perfect, right?
  32. 32. Slinging Buzzwords is Not Enough FAIL
  33. 33. Youre So Vain You walked into the party like you were walking into a yacht.Your hand strategically placed below one eye. Your scarf it was apricot.... I had some dreams, they were clouds in my pocket clouds in my coffee Clouds in my pocket, and... Clouds in my coffee, and...
  34. 34. 1987 Convex C3800 Supercomputer 512MB-4GB Ram, 2-8 Processors, 240 MFlops per CPU Up to 32GB DiskIBM PS/2 - 16Mhz 286
  35. 35. 1987 Convex C3800 Supercomputer512MB-4GB Ram, 2-8 Processors, 240 MFlops per CPU Up to 32GB Disk 2011 Apple iPad2 512 Mb Ram, 2 Processors 1 Ghz Per CPU Up to 64GB storage10 Hour Battery Life, 1.3 pounds
  36. 36. The night Max wore his wolf suit and made mischief of one kind or another... What are the last words of “Where the Wild Things Are”?
  37. 37. 2011 Google has millions of low cost processors forming a cloud that seems to border on intelligence in terms of finding the most relevant historical information. 2031 I had some dreams, they were clouds in my pocket Clouds in my pocket, and...
  38. 38. Thank You Dr. Charles SeveranceUniversity of Michigan School of Information
  39. 39. Recommended Viewing
  40. 40. Moar Dr. Chuck Videos...