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ECU announces grant to join high-speed network

(Nov. 11, 1999)   —   Serious business on the Internet takes speed and power and East Carolina University will get some of both, thanks to a $341,000 grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF).

ECU officials announced on Thursday (Nov. 11) that the university had been awarded a two-year High Performance Connectivity grant that will enable the campus to connect to NSF's very high performance Backbone Network Service (vBNS).

The network service is 10 times faster than current systems and allows scientists and engineers to collaborate and share powerful computing and information resources. The grant will allow ECU to join the ranks of 163 universities who are members of the University Corporation for Advanced Internet Development (UCAID), and are connected to a nationwide high-speed research network system called "Internet2."

The other schools in North Carolina that enjoy this distinction are UNC-Chapel Hill, N.C. State University, Duke University and Wake Forest University. "Our participation in this high-speed data system will provide a boost to our research abilities in the sciences and technology," said Dr. Jeffrey Huskamp, ECU's associate vice chancellor and the chief information technology officer. He said that the grant was approved, in part, to provide ECU's showcase research applications -- biotechnology, physics experimentation in violin acoustics, and diagnosis through telemedicine -- with the highest level of access to the campus network and the Internet.

Other applications that will benefit from access to this super-fast network service include computational chemistry, virtual reality, agromedicine,digital libraries, art and data analysis. Ultimately, all campus users will be able to access the high-performance system.

"With this award," said Ernie Marshburn, ECU's director of strategic computing initiatives, "ECU will usher in a new era of technological progress in eastern North Carolina." Begun in 1995, the high-speed network project is a five-year, $50 million effort of the federal government and the president's Next Generation Internet initiative. MCI Telecommunications Corp. is collaborating in the project.

The sophisticated telecommunications network runs at 622 million bits per second and has begun a move upward in speed to 2.4 gigabits per second. By comparison, the average home modem operates from 28,800 to 56,600 bits per second. In addition, the high-performance network is expected to stay well ahead of commercially available networking. Huskamp will serve as the principal investigator for the grant. Co-principal investigators are Marshburn, David C. Balch of the Center for Health Sciences Communication, Dr. George Bissinger of the Department of Physics and Dr. Paul L. Fletcher of the Department of Microbiology and Immunology.


Contact: ECU News Bureau | 252-328-6481