UM to offer a master's in...


February 22, 1993|By Steve Auerweck

UM to offer a master's in telecommunications

Telecommunications is a black art that demands not only hardware and software skills, but also expertise in ever-shifting standards, a hundred different national policies and a thousand undocumented traditions.

Perceiving a void in traditional instruction in the field, the University of Maryland at College Park plans to offer a master's degree program in telecommunications that will draw on four areas of the university.

William Destler, head of the electrical engineering department at College Park, will head the program, which is subject to final approval by the state Higher Education Commission.

"The growth in the telecommunications industry has been greater than the growth in the computer industry in the last 10 years," Dr. Destler said in discussing the need for the program.

The idea for the program was offered two years ago by a Digital Equipment Corp. executive who felt that many skilled technical people still lacked an understanding of the policy and regulatory issues that are critical in the field.

Eventually, MCI Communications Corp. and Bell Atlantic Corp. joined with DEC in helping to develop the program; the three companies have committed more than $350,000 in cash and equipment.

Four classes are planned for the fall semester, using resources from the university's engineering, business, science and public affairs programs.

"It's an extraordinarily challenging program," Dr. Destler said. "We want it to be practical, but not system-specific."

Detailed information is available from the College Park electrical engineering department.

Optelecom will receive help from Corning

Optelecom Inc. of Gaithersburg has gained the support of Corning Inc. in marketing components for fiber-optic gyroscopes.

Under an agreement announced last week, Optelecom will get both technical and marketing help from Corning.

"We anticipate that the fiber-optic gyro, with no moving parts, will replace conventional gyros in navigation and other systems requiring orientation and rotation sensing," Dr. William Culver, Optelecom's chairman, said in a news release.

Rockville students win contest to design city

A team of students from the Tilden Middle School in Rockville took first place Wednesday in a national contest to design a city for the 21st century.

The competitors designed cities using the popular SimCity simulation software from Maxis; the software company then turned their ideas into blueprints, and the students built scale models.

L About 200 schools nationwide competed in the Future City Com

petition, according to Chris Currie, a spokesman for the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc., one of the sponsors of the contest.

Last week, finalists in five regional contests came to Washington to compete during National Engineers Week. The winning team from Tilden consisted of students Emma Lincoln, Kevin Milans ++ and Matthew Smith; faculty adviser Gerry Klinglesmith; and engineer volunteer Steve Nieberding.

The judges felt that the students "understood high-tech energy systems and urban planning concepts and defended them against some pretty tough questions," Mr. Currie said.

E-mail users gain access to White House

If you're a subscriber to the CompuServe or America Online computer services or have access to an Internet-connected electronic-mail system, you can now beam your thoughts straight to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

The two E-mail accounts were created during President Clinton's campaign. On CompuServe, the address is 75300,3115; on America Online, it's Clinton Pz. The Internet addresses would be or But if you write, don't expect return E-mail.

A White House spokesman told Knight-Ridder News Service that the message volume is already hard to handle, and the staff is not yet set up to produce responses electronically.

Cellular One adds Dow Jones service


Cellular One has added the Dow Jones PersonalInfo Network to its Star*Info cellular phone information service in the Baltimore and Washington areas.

The Dow Jones service provides nearly 1,500 news briefs on a typical day in a range of areas including business news, world news, weather forecasts and reviews.

Cellular One customers can reach the service by dialing *INFO on their cellular telephones.

Sprint's data network processes transactions

Sprint introduced last week a data network called TranXact, which it said is designed for transaction processing applications, such as credit-card authorization.

The network, which will be available in April, is aimed at merchants who want to have point-of-sale terminals or electronic cash registers dial in to verify card numbers.

One unusual feature is a link to cellular pocket radio systems run by local Bell operating companies. It would offer the prospect, Sprint said, of charge-card payment in taxicabs, with instant verification.

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