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News Release 98-013

NSF Approves 29 New Connections to High-Performance Computer Network

February 26, 1998

This material is available primarily for archival purposes. Telephone numbers or other contact information may be out of date; please see current contact information at media contacts.

The National Science Foundation (NSF) announced today that 29 additional institutions will be connected to the very high performance Backbone Network Service (vBNS), allowing scientists and engineers across the country to collaborate and share powerful computing and information resources. This latest round of connections brings the total number of institutions approved for connections to 92.

The vBNS is a crucial player in the president's Next Generation Internet and is the initial interconnect for Internet2 member institutions.

"By building an Internet that is faster and more advanced, we can keep the United States at the cutting edge of Internet technology, and explore new applications in distance learning, telemedicine, and scientific research," said President Clinton.

The NSF will make more connections-up to 150 institutions-should the Congress continue to support NSF's role in the Next Generation Internet (NGI) initiative. NSF's fiscal 1998 appropriation bill directs NSF to use $23 million of the domain name intellectual infrastructure fund toward Next Generation Internet activities. However a preliminary injunction in a pending lawsuit (William Thomas, et al, v. Network Solutions and National Science Foundation) currently prevents NSF from spending this money. For FY 99, NSF has requested another $25 million for NGI activities.

"The vBNS is a facility-like a laboratory or a supercomputer center-that will accelerate science in all disciplines as well as push the limits of networking technology and applications," said George Strawn, director of NSF's Advanced Networking Infrastructure and Research division.

The vBNS, begun in 1995, is an investment of $50 million in a five-year project with MCI Telecommunications Corporation. Connections are evaluated by a peer review process and are approved based on scientific and technical merit.

The sophisticated telecommunications network currently runs at 622 million bits per second and is expected to operate at 2.4 gigabits per second (2,400 mbps) by the year 2000. By comparison, the average home modem transmits 28,800 bits per second. The vBNS is expected to always be several steps ahead of commercially available networking.

This large capacity allows scientists to collect and share large amounts of data, to collaborate better across large distances, and to run complex equipment from remote sites. The ability to share data and equipment helps scientists studying everything from atoms to galaxies, and to remotely run simulations of science from environment to the beating heart.

Most institutions receive High Performance Connections grants of up to $350,000 from NSF over two years for their connections to offset the cost of linking from their sites to the vBNS backbone. NSF is spending a total of $9,022,859 for this round of connections grants.


See also: Fact Sheet: "A Brief History of NSF and the Internet" and Fact Sheet: "High Performance Networking and NSF"

Institutions Approved for High Performance Connections

February, 1998

  • Washington University (St. Louis)
  • University of Alabama at Birmingham
  • University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa
  • University of Alabama in Huntsville
  • University of Missouri-Columbia
  • University of Florida
  • Florida State University
  • University of Miami
  • University of Wyoming
  • Washington State University
  • Montana State University
  • California State Polytechnic University, Pomona
  • California State University, San Bernardino
  • San Diego State University
  • University of California-San Diego
  • Wayne State University
  • University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
  • Drexel University
  • Purdue University
  • George Washington University
  • Columbia University
  • New York University
  • University of Massachusetts, Amherst
  • Princeton University
  • Georgetown University
  • University of Idaho
  • University of Nebraska-Lincoln
  • University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • Cornell University

Principal Investigators
Beth Gaston, NSF, (703) 292-8070, email:

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering. In fiscal year (FY) 2018, its budget is $7.8 billion. NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and other institutions. Each year, NSF receives more than 50,000 competitive proposals for funding and makes about 12,000 new funding awards.

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