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U.Va. gets $1 million donation

From Richmond Times-Dispatch
April 6, 1999

By J. Leffall

The sky is no longer the limit.

That's what Vint Cerf, senior vice president of MCI WorldCom Inc., said referring to the $1 million in Internet routing equipment donated to the University of Virginia by his company and Cisco Systems Inc.

The companies and U.Va. yesterday unveiled the equipment, which educators and business executives say will fuel a national pilot project to teach students about technology though a hands-on Internet engineering course for fourth-year computer science majors.

Cerf said the 12 Cisco 7000 routers and two Cisco 2500 routers are not "obsolete hand-me-downs but state-of-the-art equipment."

Routers connect one local-area network or wide-area network to similar networks in other locations. They store and forward messages and data from one network to another. The Internet links more than 12,000 local-area and wide-area networks encompassing millions of computers worldwide.

"There is a desperate need for Internet-enabled engineers," Cerf said. "We need people who can scale the Internet to the size it needs to become and we believe this opportunity gives us a chance to train and gather more people."

Technicians installed the equipment in the new VINTLab -- named after Cerf -- and ran a test demonstration for several students and professors yesterday.

Richard W. Miksad, dean of U.Va.'s School of Engineering and Applied Science, said more than 100 students signed up for the course for next semester. The initial class is in progress.

"This is a major step toward being a world leader in technology for the school and the state," Miksad added.

The class is one of the first of its kind in the nation, said Jörg Liebeherr, a professor in U.Va.'s computer science department.

Jim Massa, director of global government alliances for Cisco Systems, said the equipment is not for show but for innovation.

"The Internet is an enabling technology," he said. "I want to challenge the students and teachers here to keep their vision large. They may come up with something we haven't yet thought of."


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