In May 1983, MIT announced the establishment of a five-year program to explore new, innovative uses of computing in the MIT curriculum. The MIT faculty was concerned that too little was being done to integrate the new computational technology into the undergraduate educational experience. Project Athena, as the program was called, arose from this concern.
Project Athena's mandate was to explore diverse uses of com-puting and to build the base of knowledge needed for a longer term strategic decision about how computers fit into the MIT curriculum. In January of 1988, Project Athena was granted a three-year extension to the original five-year program, and on June 30, 1991, Project Athena came to an end. But the fruit of Project Athena -- the Athena system itself -- was adopted as MIT's academic computing infrastructure, with plans to extend it beyond the educational sphere, into the research and administrative activities of the Institute.
What, then, is Athena? It is a campus-wide networked computer systemserving the needs of MIT's academic community. Rather than having a single computing center, Athena has over 600 end-user workstations distributed around campus in both general-use and departmental "clusters" where students and faculty can go 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to do classwork, write papers, do personal work, and communicate with other computer users worldwide.
The Athena system is actually composed of a large number of machines (workstations, printers, and servers) that are net-worked together, and is far more powerful than other computing facilities you have probably used.
Athena provides a bridge between the two familiar extremes ofstand-alone personal computers and timesharing machines. Each user of an Athena workstation has a dedicated, powerful multi-tasking computer at his or her disposal. And each Athena workstation is connected to MITnet, the campus-wide computer network, so you can access a number of shared services that would normally be available only on a central facility.
- The Society of Text - hypertext, hypermedia, and the social construction of information (Edward Barrett) (1989)
- How to Manage Educational Computing Initiatives - Lessons from the First five years of Project Athena at MIT (Jacqueline A. Stewart)
- MIT Project Athena - A Model for Distributed Campus Computing (G. A. Champine) (1991)
- Project Athena - Supporting distributed computing at MIT (J. M. Arfman, P. Roden) (1992)
- Pädgogische Theorien der Interaktion im Zeitalter Neuer Technologien - Versuch einer didaktischen Bewertung von interaktiven Computerlehr-/lernprogrammen (Claudia de Witt) (1993)
- Michigan Technology Staffing Guidelines - Section I-IV (2000)