High Performance Computing and Communication Act of 1991

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The High Performance Computing and Communication Act of 1991 (HPCA) is an Act of Congress promulgated in the 102nd United States Congress as Pub.L. 102-194 on 1991-12-09. Often referred to as the Gore Bill[1], it was created and introduced by then Senator Albert Gore, Jr., and led to the development of the National Information Infrastructure and the funding of the National Research and Education Network (NREN).[1][2][3]

The act built on prior U.S. efforts of developing a national networking infrastructure, starting with the ARPANET in the 1960s, and the funding of the National Science Foundation Network (NSFnet) in the 1980s. The renewed effort became known in popular language as building the Information Superhighway.[2][4]) It also included the High-Performance Computing and Communications Initiative and spurred many significant technological developments, such as the Mosaic web browser,[5] and the creation of a high-speed fiber optic computer network.



Senator Al Gore developed the Act[1] after hearing the 1988 report Toward a National Research Network[6] submitted to Congress by a group chaired by UCLA professor of computer science Leonard Kleinrock, one of the creators of the ARPANET, which is regarded as the eve network of the Internet.[7]

The bill was enacted on 1991-12-09 and led to the National Information Infrastructure (NII)[8] which Gore referred to as the "information superhighway". President George H. W. Bush predicted that the Act would help "unlock the secrets of DNA," open up foreign markets to free trade, and a promise of cooperation between government, academia, and industry.[9]

Among the many technological achievements that resulted from the funding of the Gore Bill, was the development of Mosaic in 1993,[5][10] the World Wide Web browser software which is credited by most scholars as beginning the Internet boom of the 1990s:

Gore's legislation also helped fund the National Center for Supercomputing Applications at the University of Illinois, where a team of programmers, including Netscape founder Marc Andreessen, created the Mosaic Web browser, the commercial Internet's technological springboard. 'If it had been left to private industry, it wouldn't have happened,' Andreessen says of Gore's bill, 'at least, not until years later.' [11]


In a 1999 CNN interview Gore created some controversy when his expression I took the initiative in creating the Internet[12] was misquoted by comedians and the popular media as if he had invented the Internet.[13] This representation was widely contradicted by notable Internet pioneers, such as Vint Cerf and Bob Kahn.[14]



  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Computer History Museum - Exhibits - Internet History - 1990s
  2. 2.0 2.1 Information Superhighway Envisioned-Legislation Pending to Establish National Computer Network
  3. NREN | Technology Resources
  4. FCLJ Vol 46, No. 3 - Blake and Tiedrich
  5. 5.0 5.1 NCSA Mosaic - September 10, 1993 Demo
  6. Kleinrock, Leonard; Kahn, Bob; Clark, David; et al. (1988), Toward a National Research Network, http://books.nap.edu/openbook.php?isbn=NI000393, retrieved 2007-06-01 
  7. Kleinrock, Leonard; Cerf, Vint; Kahn, Bob; et al. (2003-12-10), A Brief History of the Internet, http://www.isoc.org/internet/history/brief.shtml#Transition, retrieved 2007-06-01 
  8. Chapman, Gary; Rotenberg, Marc (1993), The National Information Infrastructure:A Public Interest Opportunity, http://www.cpsr.org/prevsite/publications/newsletters/old/1990s/Summer1993.txt, retrieved 2007-06-01 
  9. Bush, George H.W. (9 December 1991). "Remarks on Signing the High-Performance Computing Act of 1991". bushlibrary.tamu.edu (George Bush Presidential Library). http://bushlibrary.tamu.edu/research/public_papers.php?id=3723&year=1991&month=12. Retrieved 2008-01-16. 
  10. "Mosaic -- The First Global Web Browser". livinginternet.com. http://www.livinginternet.com/w/wi_mosaic.htm. Retrieved 2007-06-01. 
  11. Perine, Keith (23 October 2000). "The Early Adopter - Al Gore and the Internet - Government Activity". findarticles.com (The Industry Standard). http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0HWW/is_43_3/ai_66672985/print. Retrieved 2007-06-01. 
  12. "Transcript: Vice President Gore on CNN's 'Late Edition'". CNN (CNN). 9 March 1999. http://www.cnn.com/ALLPOLITICS/stories/1999/03/09/president.2000/transcript.gore. Retrieved 2007-06-02. 
  13. Urban legend on Snopes.com: "Al Gore Invented the Internet"
  14. Kahn, Bob; Cerf, Vint (2000-09-29), Al Gore and the Internet, http://amsterdam.nettime.org/Lists-Archives/nettime-l-0009/msg00311.html, retrieved 2007-06-02 

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