The National Science Foundation (NSF) is a United States government agency that supports fundamental research and education in all the non-medical fields of science and engineering. With an annual budget of about US$6.87 billion, the NSF funds approximately 20% of all federally supported basic research conducted by the United States' colleges and universities.
It was created by a collaboration between the United Kingdom's General Post Office, Western Union International and the United States' Tymnet. This network grew from Europe and the USA to cover Canada, Hong Kong and Australia by 1981, and by the 1990s it provided a worldwide networking infrastructure.
Computer engineer, Ray Tomlinson invented internet based email. Email is short for electronic mail. Ray Tomlinson chose the @ symbol to tell which user was "at" what computer. This is a key method of communication which is still used today.
Newsgroups are Internet discussion groups on just about any topic you can imagine. There are more than 50,000 newsgroups, with additional groups being added daily. Newsgroups were one of the first ways that students and scientists (using ARPANet, an early version of the Internet) could share their opinions, interests and hobbies online.
A Bulletin Board System (BBS) is a computer system software that allows users to connect and log into the system using a terminal program. Once logged in, a user can perform functions such as uploading and downloading software and data, reading news and bulletins, and exchanging messages with other users. Many BBS also offer on-line games and users can compete with each other, and BBS with multiple phone lines often provide chat rooms allowing users to interact with each other.
It was the world's first operational packet switching network and was the network that became the basis for the Internet which was launched in 1969. ARPANET was developed under the direction of the U.S. Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA).
The initial purpose was to communicate with and share computer resources among mainly scientific users at the connected institutions.