Seven US universities are to benefit from a $3.5 million cash injection from IBM, to springboard Internet2 - a second generation Internet service for academia, government and industry.
Internet2 is designed to streamline facilities available for research, by minimising the stress on bandwidth caused by unnecessary graphics and junk sites and so providing higher quality of service.
IBM has pledged to donate hardware, software, switches and networking equipment, as well as its own personnel and expertise.
The research universities to benefit will be South Carolina?s Clemsen, North Carolina?s Duke and the University of South Carolina itself, also the universities of Indiana, Northwestern in Illinois, Chicago and Michigan.
The project is one of two initiatives that will focus on developing applications to meet the needs of academia, and is being driven by universities. The second, Next Generation Internet (NGI) is being led by the federal government.
IBM?s Internet Division general manager Irving Wladawsky-Berger, asserted that, in spite of the developmental stage of Internet2, businesses as well as academic institutions and the government should make themselves aware of it.
?We expect the universities will help develop the advanced infrastructure and, more importantly, start piloting the kinds of new applications you can use once you have an Internet2 kind of infrastructure. Things such as the heavy use of video, advanced digital library applications, more multimedia capabilities, and better user interfaces will come because you can make everything more human."
He added: ?We think this is going to impact businesses considerably. The Internet2 promises to push the state of the art by a couple of orders of magnitude, providing qualities of service that are far better than today.?
More than 100 universities are participating in Internet2, along with industry partners including 3Com, Bay Networks, Cabletron Systems, Cisco Systems, Newbridge Networks and Nortel as well as IBM.
The project was conceived in September 1995, and developed in conjunction with the US state-run National Science Foundation.
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