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. (February 2018)
The Internet Archive launched the Wayback Machine in October 2001. It was set up by Brewster Kahle and Bruce Gilliat, and is maintained with content from Alexa Internet. The service enables users to see archived versions of web pages across time, which the archive calls a "three dimensional index".
Since 1996, the Wayback Machine has been archiving cached pages of websites onto its large cluster of Linux nodes. It revisits sites on occasion (see technical details below) and archives a new version. Sites can also be captured on the fly by visitors who enter the site's URL into a search box. The intent is to capture and archive content that otherwise would be lost whenever a site is changed or closed down. The overall vision of the machine's creators is to archive the entire Internet.
Information had been kept on digital tape for five years, with Kahle occasionally allowing researchers and scientists to tap into the clunky database. When the archive reached its fifth anniversary, in 2001, it was unveiled and opened to the public in a ceremony at the University of California, Berkeley.
The name Wayback Machine was chosen as a reference to the "WABAC machine" (pronounced way-back), a time-traveling device used by the characters Mr. Peabody and Sherman in The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show, an animated cartoon. In one of the animated cartoon's component segments, Peabody's Improbable History, the characters routinely used the machine to witness, participate in, and, more often than not, alter famous events in history.