Exhibits At the Museum

This Day in History

Today: August 20, 2014
Map of the ARPANET in March 1972

October 27, 1980

The First Major Network Crash, the Four-Hour Collapse of the ARPANET, Occurred

The ARPANET, predecessor of the modern Internet, was set up by the Department of Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). Initially it had linked four sites in California and Utah, and later was expanded to cover research centers across the country.

The network failure resulted from a redundant single-error detecting code that was used for transmission but not storage, and a garbage-collection algorithm for removing old messages that was not resistant to the simultaneous existence of one message with several different time stamps. The combination of the events took the network down for four hours.