October 28, 2002
Director of Media Relations

AMHERST, Mass.-The National Science Foundation has awarded Amherst College a grant of $150,000 to support the college's connection to the Internet2 networks and establish high-performance networking. Philip Fitz, director of information technology at Amherst, will lead a team of staff from the information technology department that will collaborate with faculty to establish Internet2 connectivity and put it to work in the college's research labs.

"Amherst College prides itself on hiring faculty who are among the top researchers in the country, and so are engaged in cutting-edge research similar to the work being done at large research universities," the team wrote in its proposal. "An increasing number of Amherst science faculty collaborate with researchers at other institutions, and need the very high bandwidth and quality of service of Internet2 to collaborate effectively and efficiently. The College has recognized that high bandwidth connectivity is fast becoming an essential tool for many faculty, and has committed to making improvements in the campus infrastructure."

Amherst's rural location limits its telecommunications choices, especially access to the Internet and Internet2, an effort by 200 universities working in partnership with industry and government to develop advanced network technologies. Working with Hampshire, Mount Holyoke and Smith Colleges and the University of Massachusetts (the Five College consortium), Amherst is seeking to create a cost-effective fiber network connection to Springfield, Mass., the closest point on the main telecommunications corridors. This NSF grant will be used to establish such high-performance connectivity.

The Advanced Networking Division of the Computers, Information Science and Engineering Directorate of the National Science Foundation awarded this grant. The NSF funds research and education in science and engineering through grants, contracts and cooperative agreements to more than 2,000 colleges, universities and other research and education institutions in all parts of the United States. The Foundation accounts for about 20 percent of federal support to academic institutions for basic research. The National Science Foundation Website is at http://www.nsf.gov/home/programs.