The approximately 7,000 computers in the United States that process information for research and education are not, as one might expect, concentrated or linked in integrated operations but for the most part are scattered, autonomous, and separated. Advancing technology is beginning to change this situation by permitting the importing and exporting of services, thereby providing the user with more options and calling for a different kind of computer center/user relationship. Financial strains in research and educational institutions are accelerating the changes.
One of the conclusions of this study is that networks – most generally, connections between unlike computers running under unlike operating systems across great distances – are here to stay; networks are practical and deserve the serious attention of any institution considering how or whether to replace its main computer.
The book grew out of and contains the papers, discussions, and analyses of three seminars conducted in late 1972 and early 1973 by EDUCOM with the support of the National Science Foundation. It identifies the central issues—which tend to be political, economic, and managerial rather than technological—involved in building and operating networks on a national basis. A number of informed specialists both within and outside the computer and communications field have arrived at conclusions and made recommendations that are essential to the important decisions being made today—and to decisions that will be made in the future00pertaining not only to network developments but also more generally to the selection and configuration of computing and communication activities with research and education on a national level.
Networks for Research and Education is addressed to anyone with an interest in the possibilities and problems of networking, irrespective of background or occupation: potential users, suppliers, and especially decision makers and their staffs, including state legislators, government officials, and administrative officers of colleges, universities, and other institutions involved in research and education.