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$1 Million Gift of Equipment from MCI Worldcom and Cisco Enables U.Va. to Offer Revolutionary New Class

From UVA News
April 5, 1999

The University of Virginia has launched a national pilot project to teach students about Internet technology through a new hands-on course, with a gift of 12 Cisco routers from MCI WORLDCOM, Inc. and Cisco Systems, Inc. The computer equipment, worth more than $1 million, has been installed in the Engineering School's Virginia Internet Teaching Laboratory (VINTLab), making it one of the premier facilities of its kind in the country. The new facility has been named in honor of MCI WorldCom Senior Vice President Vint Cerf, widely known as a "Father of the Internet," for co-designing the architecture and the basic communication protocols, TCP/IP, that gave birth to the Internet.

"We are grateful to MCI WorldCom and Cisco for allowing us to take a major step forward in our drive to be a world leader in information technology education and research," said Richard W. Miksad, dean of U.Va.'s School of Engineering and Applied Science. "Information technology is one of the four key areas of excellence identified in our school's strategic plan. We are hiring faculty and developing programs in computer science and engineering that will be crucial to the advancement of society in the 21st century. Internet engineering is clearly one of these."

The equipment consists of 12 Cisco 7000 routers and two Cisco 2500 routers, special purpose hardware that serves as relay stations on the Internet. Previous gifts of computer equipment from the companies U.Va.'s School of Engineering and Applied Science to offer a completely new undergraduate course, "Internet Engineering," to fourth-year students majoring in computer science.

The first shipment of equipment arrived in Charlottesville in December, in time for the spring semester. In the lab, students are conducting experiments and learning to set up and manage an Internet network.

"The Internet economy is transforming the way we work, live, play and learn," said Cisco Systems President and CEO John T. Chambers. "By establishing an Internet Engineering course, the University of Virginia is ensuring that today's students are prepared for tomorrow's jobs."

As the role of the Internet as an information infrastructure grows, the demand for engineers who can troubleshoot problems happening along the backbone of the Internet will skyrocket, according to experts. This new course responds to that growing demand by providing engineers with the skills to manage, or even redesign, the current Internet infrastructure.

The course covers the technologies and protocols of network management and the Internet. In lab sessions, students are learning to set up networking hardware and software, take and interpret traffic measurements, and understand how protocols of the Internet interact. Students will experience the limitations of the current generation of Internet protocols and learn how to debug a malfunctioning network.

"MCI WorldCom is proud to deliver state-of-the-art Internet products to the University of Virginia," said Vint Cerf, MCI WorldCom senior vice president. "This new program should contribute to the state of Virginia's reputation as a technology hotbed by turning out techno-savvy students who one day will contribute to the workforce."

U.Va. has agreed to match the gift from MCI WorldCom and Cisco with a higher level of commitment to the field of information technology, by securing support for teaching resources, graduate students, administrative overhead, and lab space, Miksad said. Support for the program is coming principally from the School of Engineering and Applied Science, the computer science department and the Virginia Engineering Foundation.

Cisco Systems, Inc. is the worldwide leader in networking for the Internet. News and information are available at http://www.cisco.com

MCI WORLDCOM, Inc. is a global communications company with revenue of more than $30 billion and established operations in over 65 countries encompassing the Americas, Europe and the Asia-Pacific regions. MCI WorldCom is a premier provider of facilities-based and fully integrated local, long distance, international and Internet services. MCI WorldCom's global networks, including its state-of-the-art, pan-European network and transoceanic cable systems, provide end-to-end high-capacity connectivity to more than 40,000 buildings worldwide. For more information on MCI WorldCom, visit the World Wide Web at http://www.wcom.com.

For more information on the class, contact Professor Jörg Liebeherr at (804) 982-2228 or jl3k@virginia.edu. His Web page can be reached at: http://www.cs.virginia.edu/~jorg/. The computer science department's Web page is at http://www.cs.virginia.edu.


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