For Release Monday, February 10, 1997
Contact: Joan Schwartz 617/353-4626


Boston University wins National Science Foundation award to establish regional infrastructure to connect to very high speed network

(Boston, Mass.) -- Boston University has been awarded a grant by the National Science Foundation (NSF) under the Connections to the Internet Program to establish a connection to the vBNS (very high speed Backbone Network Service), the prototype for the next generation Internet. The vBNS now operates at speeds more than 10 times faster than the current Internet. "This project will give us the access to the high bit rate connectivity we need in order to conduct advanced research in computational science and networking, and to begin constructing the infrastructure for the next generation network in our region," says Dr. John H. Porter, associate provost for information technology at Boston University. These new networks will create the infrastructure to support distributed virtual environments, telepresence, distance learning, remote visualization, and metacomputing.

Boston University's project, known as the New England GigaPoP (Gigabit-capacity Point of Presence) and High Bandwidth Network Project is administered by the University's Office of Information Technology in collaboration with the Center for Computational Science. The new infrastructure will support research and educational activities not only at Boston University, but also provide the framework for very high speed connectivity among institutions throughout New England, linking the region to other institutions across the USA who are connected to the vBNS and eventually to the next generation Internet, also known as the Internet2. The goal of the next generation Internet, as stated by President Clinton in his recent State of the Union address, is to connect leading research institutions at speeds from 100 to 1000 times faster than today. Nearly one hundred leading research universities have joined the Internet2 consortium and committed to connecting their institutions to this new network by connecting to a regional GigaPoP.

Boston University’s plan has four components:

  1. Regional Gigapop -- The GigaPoP will be the hub of the regional network and the point of interconnection to external networks, including the current Internet, the vBNS, and the next generation Internet.
  2. High Bandwidth Metropolitan Network -- The University will utilize ATM to interconnect local institutions. ATM is an advanced networking technology which will be available from NYNEX in the very near future in the metropolitan Boston area. Sites beyond the NYNEX region will be able to connect by leasing high speed fiber optic connections from NYNEX, MCI, SPRINT or other telecommunication carriers.
  3. Metropolitan link to the vBNS -- Boston University will bring vBNS into Boston and into the metropolitan network, allowing any institution connected to the metropolitan network or the GigaPoP to obtain a link to the vBNS.
  4. Metropolitan link to the Internet -- A new connection will be developed to connect the metropolitan network to the current Internet and evolving Internet2 through the GigaPoP. Many institutions, including Boston University, are reaching maximum capacity with current technology. The high speed connections to the GigaPoP and from the GigaPoP to the Internet will significantly enhance Internet access for participating institutions.

A seminar to introduce the New England GigaPoP and High Bandwidth Network Project is being held on Monday, February 10, 1997 at 6 pm, at the Stone Science Center Auditorium, Room B50, Basement level, 685 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston.

The Center for Computational Science at Boston University in collaboration with the Office of Information Technology provides an interdisciplinary framework in which scientists are pioneering parallel supercomputing applications. Through the NSF sponsored MARINER project the University is extending this framework to researchers, industry, teachers and learners throughout the New England Region.