From Compsci.ca Wiki
Internet Relay Chat or IRC for short, is a chat protocol built for group communication in real-time, first devolped in 1988 Jarkko Oikarinen. IRC is capable of having multiple rooms per server, known as channels. Each channel can consist of many different people, discussing numerous things, as well as the ability to have private converstaions with, and send files among users.
See IRC Channel