National computer networking comes to UW and the Northwest.In 1981, the Department of Computer Science became part of the ARPANET, a research network established by the government's Advanced Research Projects Agency. It was the predecessor to today’s Internet.
Comprehensive transaction processing data base systems were implemented, with online access through a dedicated administrative network connected to terminals. Systems that became available during this period included the Student Data Base (SDB), Higher Education Personnel Payroll System (HEPPS), Purchasing System (PAS) and Budget Systems (BGT). Many of these systems are still in use.
In 1986, the UW connects to NSFNET, the next step toward the modern Internet. NSFNET was set up by the National Science Foundation (NSF) to provide access to supercomputers in San Diego, Illinois, and elsewhere for heavy research computing. The Internet domain name “washington.edu” was registered on September 4, 1986. Part of the NSFNET initiative included creation of regional networks to provide connectivity between the national “backbone” and individual institutions within a geographic area. In 1987, the UW and nine other institutions formed the NorthWest Academic Computing Consortium (NWACC) and created "NorthWestNet" (NWNet), a regional network designed to link partner institutions in Washington, Alaska, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, and North Dakota to each other and NSFNET.
In 1987, the STAR telephone class registration system was launched. STAR was the UW’s first self-service administrative system, and enabled students to register for classes by themselves. Later, STAR was moved onto the Web, and now online course registration is available through MyUW.
In 1989, NWACC members asked the UW to take over operation of NWNet. Subsequently the UW formed and still operates its successor, the Pacific Northwest Gigapop. Originally constructed from commercial 1.5Mbps data links, the network now provides 10Gbps services linking partner institutions with commercial Internet carriers as well as the country's primary research networks, Internet2 and National Lambda Rail.
In the late 1980s, the UW merged all information technology organizations into a single unit, Computing & Communications (C&C). At the same time the University consolidated five separate computing networks into a single institution-wide network.