UT, Vandy Help Develop Network (330)

KNOXVILLE, Tenn.– Two Tennessee universities have received federal funding to join and help develop a new high-speed computer network.

 The University of Tennessee-Knoxville, Vanderbilt University and 33 other institutions will use a $12.3 million grant from the National Science Foundation to connect campuses to NSF’s very high speed Backbone Network Service (vBNS).

 Vice President Al Gore announced the grant, which will provide $350,000 over two years to each of the 35 participants. Grants were previously awarded to 29 organizations.

 The new network will be the foundation of the Next Generation Internet announced last fall in Knoxville by President Clinton.

 Gore said the network will be capable of transmitting all 30 volumes of the Encyclopedia Britannica in less than a second. It will also allow better transmission of audio and video than the current internet.

 UT-Knoxville faculty, instrumental in helping earn the grant for the campus, will be able to connect to more than 100 research institutions at speeds up to 1,000 times faster than today’s internet, Ed Mahon, UT-Knoxville director of telecommunications and network services, said.

 Mahon is UT’s principal investigator for the project.

 “This is a crucial step in providing UT-Knoxville’s researchers and the campus community with the next generation of high-speed capabilities. Our faculty’s descriptions of their research and their need for this type of network was very important in our winning this grant.”

 UT-Knoxville’s investment in its internal computer network also was a key element in securing the NSF funds, Dr. Terry Moore, academic projects coordinator, said.

 “This is not just about putting cable and hardware in place,” Dr. Micah Beck, network research coordinator, said. “Our primary goal is to make sure our faculty can do the research they want to do on this network.”

 At the same time, UT’s researchers will be helping develop technology and procedures for the network, he said.

 Being part of the network will be an advantage in attracting additional research funding and faculty to UT-Knoxville, said Stan Pinkleton, manager of planning and special projects.

 Contact: Moore, Beck, Pinkelton (423-974-2644)