Carnegie Mellon University

Andrew Today

The Andrew Project: Andrew Today


Andrew is the central distributed computing service provided to the Carnegie Mellon campus by the Computing Services division. It includes a central file store, email, notification services, and a large selection of application software. The Andrew user community consists of over 10,000 users. Most of the software written twenty-five years ago has been replaced by commercial versions that it inspired.

Among the Andrew project's most impressive accomplishments is the canonization of computational access for university students. Whereas students entering college today may already be computer proficient, during Andrew's development computer literacy was the exception rather than the norm. In an increasingly networked world, students must have the opportunity to refine their computer skills and understand how to communicate, research, and learn via online resources. Computer literacy has become the infrastructure to university education.

The Andrew project owes thanks to healthy competition from MIT's Athena project, also a joint venture with IBM. Started only two years after the Andrew project, and with similar goals in mind, Athena adopted AFS and it is still in use today at MIT.  Conversely, for reasons of standardization, the original user authentication mechanism of AFS was replaced by the Kerberos authentication system that was developed in Athena.  Kerberos continues to be widely used at Carnegie Mellon today.

Finally, ten years after the inception of the ITC, Carnegie Mellon's Information Networking Institute began work on the Wireless Andrew project, which transformed the campus into the first completely wireless campus in the world. Employing the technology and infrastructure already in place from Andrew, the Wireless Andrew project links computers via radio signals to access points hardwired into the Andrew system. Users can perform the same tasks from untethered laptops and PDAs that were previously only available at tethered PCs.


Learn more about the Andrew Project with the following links:

The Andrew Project

History (An Overview)

History (The Details)

What is Andrew?

People (In Brief)