Times Technology Writer
The University of Alabama in Huntsville has won a $350,000 federal grant to prepare the school to join a faster, next-generation version of the Internet.
The grant is part of a package of high-technology money that President Clinton was to announce today at the 1998 Technology Conference in San Francisco.
UAH's grant is to allow the school to join the National Science Foundation's very-high-speed Backbone Network Service, known as the vBNS. The vBNS can transmit 622 million bits of data per second.
Joining the vBNS is a step before joining Internet 2, a computer network that the government and major universities are building to transmit 2.4 billion bits of data per second by the year 2000, said UAH spokesman Ray Garner.
Internet 2 and vBNS will eventually move data almost 60,000 times faster than some home phone lines, and 1,700 times faster than the high-grade T1 lines that link some Internet-service companies and large corporations to the Internet.
That speed can transmit all the information from the Encyclopaedia Britannica across the country in less than a second, according to UAH.
This project will bring together industry, government and academia andwill benefit the community and the state in research as well as economic development," said UAH President Frank Franz.
The large capacity of the vBNS network will allow UAH scientists and engineers to collect and share large amounts of data, and, at the same time, conduct research for high-performance networking and its applications," said Sara Graves,director of the Information Technology and Systems Laboratory at UAH.
The vBNS and Internet 2 will be able to allow more live, interactive broadcasts and simulations among academic and industrial scientists, classrooms, andvarious organizations.
Businesses can join the network by investing in its infrastructure and working with affiliated schools. So, Huntsville businesses that workwith UAH may eventually benefit from the school's network upgrade.
Companies involved with Internet 2 will have a tremendous competitive advantage when it becomes the standard," said David Brown, head of computer science at the University of Alabama's College of Engineering, during a June interview about Internet 2.
Technologies developed for Internet 2 are expected to migrate to the restof the Internet at some point.
The University of Alabama's Tuscaloosa and Birmingham campuses are also joining the vBNS. As electronic information becomes more important to commerce, the university system's participation in vBNS enables Alabama residents to influence and participate in the development of the infrastructure of the globaleconomy," said University of Alabama System Chancellor Thomas Meredith.
UAH is among 29 universities and research laboratories joining vBNS as a result of today's announcement. With today's announcement, a total of 93 organizations are part of the vBNS system, said Garner.
UAH can now share the network that Harvard University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and other elite institutions are a part of, he said.
The vBNS was created in 1995 by the National Science Foundation and MCI Telecommunications Corp. The five-year vBNS project was capitalized with $50 million
Staff reports: This development , long in the works, is expected to be a strong shot in the arm for the ISL (Intelligent Systems Laboratory, Center for Robotics & Automation, University of Alabama in Huntsville. ISL is the reasearch group that worked with Quik-Tek Software to develop "The Team Manager", a 32 bit Windows 95/NT baseball/softball coaches management software program. Access to new technology will likely be a powerful boast to future versions and upgrades of "The Team Manager" and related products.
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