ARLINGTON, Va.—Ten years ago, the world's first freely available Web browser to allow Web pages to include both graphics and text was developed by students and staff working at the National Science Foundation (NSF)-supported National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.
To celebrate the 10th anniversary of the release of the Mosaic Web browser, NCSA is holding a panel discussion April 29 to explore the future of computing and networking with five of the nation's leading technologists. Panelists include Dan Reed, director of NCSA; Ray Ozzie, founder of Groove Networks; Vinton Cerf, senior vice president of Architecture and Technology for WorldCom; Rick Rashid, senior vice president for research at Microsoft Research; and David Kuck, an Intel Fellow for the Enterprise Platforms Group and director of the KAI Software Lab at Intel. The 7-9 p.m. (Central) event will be webcast at http://realvideo.ncsa.uiuc.edu/asxfiles/MosaicAnniversary.asx.
Mosaic spurred a revolution in communications, business, education, and entertainment that has had a trillion-dollar impact on the global economy. Mosaic, the progenitor of modern browsers such as Microsoft Internet Explorer and Netscape, emerged at NCSA through research funded by NSF's Computer and Information Science and Engineering (CISE) directorate.
"Without Mosaic, Web browsers might not have happened or be what they are today," said Peter Freeman, NSF assistant director for CISE. "The growth of the Web and its impact on daily life shows the kind of dramatic payoff that NSF investments in computer science research can have for all areas of science and engineering, education and society as a whole."
The history of NSF's supercomputing centers, established in 1985, overlapped greatly with the worldwide rise of the Internet and personal computers. It was, therefore, not surprising that software developers focused on creating easy-to-use Internet tools for desktop machines. The NSF centers developed many tools for organizing, locating and navigating through information, including NCSA httpd, one of the first widely used Web server applications. But perhaps the most spectacular success was NCSA Mosaic, which in less than 18 months after its introduction became the Internet "browser of choice" for more than a million users and set off an exponential growth in the number of Web servers as well as Web surfers.
Marc Andreessen, who would later help found Netscape Communications, was a member of the team that developed Mosaic, a graphical browser that allowed programmers to post images, sound, video clips, and multi-font text within the Web's hypertext system. In 1994, NSF awarded a large grant to NCSA specifically for Mosaic development, enhancement and support.
NSF, through the Supercomputer Centers program, NSFnet, and many other activities over the years, has continued to expand the promise of Mosaic. Today, NSF is devising strategies and plans to develop and deploy an advanced cyberinfrastructure—a state-of-the-art computing, information and networking infrastructure that will revolutionize the conduct of science and engineering research and education the same way Mosaic and the Internet have revolutionized how people communicate, shop, and stay informed.
For more information on the NCSA symposium on "The Future Frontier: Computing on NCSA Mosaic's 10th Anniversary," see http://www.ncsa.uiuc.edu/Divisions/PublicAffairs/MosaicEvent/. NCSA also maintains a collection of pages on the history of Mosaic, including downloads of the software, at http://www.ncsa.uiuc.edu/Divisions/PublicAffairs/MosaicHistory/.
NSF is an independent federal agency that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering, with an annual budget of nearly $5 billion. NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 universities and institutions. Each year, NSF receives about 30,000 competitive requests for funding, and makes about 10,000 new funding awards. NSF also awards over $200 million in professional and service contracts yearly.
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