UMBC to be site of institute for electronic commerce Curriculum targets global transactions

September 27, 1997|By Samantha Kappalman | Samantha Kappalman,CONTRIBUTING WRITER

University of Maryland, Baltimore County launched the first Institute for Global Electronic Commerce in the United States yesterday in a move that takes online transaction education to an international level.

"This decade will be one of phenomenal growth," said Ira Magaziner, author of the Clinton administration's July 1 report on global electronic commerce, who was at UMBC in Catonsville for the announcement. "This field will have the same impact as the Industrial Revolution had 100 years ago."

The institute is designed to promote research development on the electronic transmission of commercial transactions, including study of such issues as growth, security and legislation, said Acting Director Shlomo Carmi. It also has entered into a research partnership with IBM Toronto, he said.

Carmi, dean of engineering at UMBC, said the institute will offer internships in which students are placed in similar programs around the world. Eventually, he said, all institute courses will be available to other countries via video conferencing.

UMBC computer science professor Yelena Yesha submitted the proposal for the institute to the Group of Seven electronic policy group on behalf of the university and the United States 10

months ago. With the inclusion of Russia, the Group of Seven is now formally called the Summit of Eight; other members include Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States.

Yesha, who has worked with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and the National Institute of Standards and Technology, said she went to universities around the world to determine if they had a need for this type of curriculum, and found that they did. About two weeks ago, the summit endorsed the institute's curriculum.

Jim Johnson, head of the U.S. delegation to the Summit of Eight, said the institute is valuable because it will be a center for discussing policy issues that directly affect electronic commerce.

"The institute will be important in resolving conflicts among states on policy issues," Johnson said. "The same thing is true on an international level."

Shirley Hurwitz, an advanced technology expert at the National Institute of Standards and Technology, said, "Internet commerce is changing the way we do business. Educational institutes are needed to meet that need."

Said Magaziner: "The Internet will be the basis of commerce as a global medium. It is in the best spirit of American entrepreneurism for you [UMBC] to be at the front of what you are doing."

Pub Date: 9/27/97

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