Happy Birthday, DNS

Twenty years ago Monday, two computer scientists at the University of Southern California created a key component essential to the modern Internet.

Jon Postel and Paul Mockapetris ran the first successful test of the automated domain name system, or DNS, which allows computers to find each other on the network and send information back and forth to each other without having humans manually look up the addresses of each machine.

The concept sounds simple now, but it was revolutionary 20 years ago. "Just like the white pages, you had to look up" the addresses of computers to exchange information, said Joe Touch, director of the Postel Center for Experimental Networking. "The telephone book got too heavy and too old too fast." The innovation was "like calling 411."

The anniversary of the event will go mostly unnoticed Monday, but the scientists at USC's Information Sciences Institute will celebrate with a private champagne popping at the Postel Center.

DNS remains almost exactly as it was 20 years ago, and the system should be able to expand along with the Internet for the foreseeable future, said Mockapetris. The next big enhancement will be to make it more secure

News source: Wired News

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