Press Archive

SDSC and NCSA Provide Mirror Servers to Promote Public Participation in Nation's First Electronic Town Meeting

Published 05/01/1995

The San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC) and the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) today join the federal government in the nations first experiment using computing and communications technologies to engage citizens in participatory democracy.

SDSC and NCSA have established mirror servers to support access to this meeting, which is an open forum on the subject of People and Their Governments in the Information Age. The meeting, which began at 9:00 a.m. EST today continues through midnight, Sunday, May 14.

The meeting will seek to garner public opinion on the use of information technology by federal, state, tribal, and local governments in creating an electronic government that works better and costs less. The Vice President of the United States, the Secretary of Commerce, and others are expected to make electronic appearances during the course of the meeting.

According to Secretary of Commerce, Ron Brown, Through this national open meeting, we hope to spur public discussion and vigorous debate on how government can improve delivery of services and benefits, and availability of information; and increase citizen participation in our democratic process using information technologies.

This meeting is being sponsored by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), the Department of Commerce (the National Telecommunications and Information Administration and the National Technical Information Services FedWorld), and the Vice Presidents National Performance Review. These sponsoring agencies are participants in the Information Infrastructure Task Force (IITF), an interagency group, chaired by Secretary Brown, that was formed to articulate and implement the Administrations vision for the National Information Infrastructure. Additional assistance is being provided by the U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO), the Library of Congress, the U.S. Census office (part of DOC), and the U.S. Geological Survey. In addition, significant time and equipment have been donated to support the meeting by America Online, CompuServe, Prodigy, MCI, Sprint, Kinkos, and IBM Global Network. Sun Microsystems donated Sun SPARCstation 10 platforms to serve as the mirror servers at SDSC and NCSA.

During the meeting, five discussion groups will be accessible:


from delivery of emergency help and health care to issuing business licenses.


from delivery of Social Security payments and food stamps to processing small business grants.


from declassifying secrets to making U.S. Census data more easily available.


from making access to government easier to ensuring that everyone has the opportunity to participate in government policymaking.


ensuring compatible electronic systems at the various government levels and system security and reliability.

Each discussion group will be hosted by one or more experts who will provide an introductory statement to initiate the discussion and describe who will take part in the discussion. Attendees will participate in the conference by replying to the hosts introductory statements, posting statements or comments, and by replying to the statements and comments of other attendees.

People with access to computers can participate in the meeting in any of these ways:

Point your World Wide Web browser to
For west coast users
For users in the central part of the country
For east coast users

Send a blank e-mail message to

Access an Internet provider or online service such as America Online and Prodigy.

Dial toll-free (800)779-3272 using a computer with a modem.

People who do not have computers, modems, or other access to the Internet can access this meeting through the nearest public access site. Public access sites are hundreds of institutions nationwide that have offered their computer facilities free-of-charge to the general public on a full- or part-time basis throughout the meeting. A list of these access sites can be obtained by contacting the GPO at (202)512-1530.

OMB is conducting a Notice of Inquiry (NOI) to solicit public opinion on the use of information technology to disseminate government information. This meeting will provide an alternative method of filing replies to the NOI. All comments submitted as part of the meeting will be included as official responses to the NOI.

The San Diego Supercomputer Center, a national laboratory for computational science and engineering, is sponsored by the National Science Foundation, administered by General Atomics, and affiliated with the University of California at San Diego. For additional information, refer to SDSCs World Wide Web server at or contact Ann Redelfs, SDSC, (619)534-5032,

NCSA, a unit of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, is dedicated to advancing leading-edge technologies in information and high-performance computing and communications in academia and industry. The center receives major funding to support its research from the National Science Foundation, the Advanced Research Projects Agency, NASA, corporate partners, the State of Illinois, and the University of Illinois.

List of public access sites in or near San Diego

California State University, San Marcos Computing Office 333 S. Twin Oaks Valley Road San Marcos 750-4792

University Heights Public Library 4193 Park Blvd San Diego 692-4912

Tierrasanta Public Library 4985 La Cuenta Drive San Diego 573-1384

Scripps Ranch Public Library 10301 Scripps Lake Drive San Diego 538-8158

Central Public Library 820 E Street San Diego 236-5800

University Community Public Library 4155 Governor Drive San Diego 552-1655

Skyline Hills Public Library 480 S. Meadowbrook Drive San Diego 527-3485

San Carlos Public Library 7265 Jackson Drive San Diego 527-3430

Rancho Bernardo Public Library 16840 Bernardo Center Drive San Diego 538-8163

Otay Mesa Public Library 3003 Coronado Avenue San Diego 424-0474

Mission Hills Public Library 925 W. Washington Street San Diego 692-4910

Logan Heights Public Library 811 S. 28th Street San Diego 533-3968

Point Loma Public Library 2130 Poinsettia Drive San Diego 531-1539

North Park Public Library 3975 31st Street San Diego 533-3972

Mira Mesa Public Library 8045 New Salem Street San Diego 538-8165

Linda Vista Public Library 2160 Ulric Street San Diego 573-1399

La Jolla Public Library 7555 Draper Street La Jolla 552-1657

College Heights Public Library 4710 College Avenue San Diego 533-3902

Beckworth Public Library 721 San Pasqual San Diego 552-1668

East San Diego Public Library 4089 Fairmont Avenue San Diego 533-3905

Carmel Valley Public Library 3919 Townsgate Drive 552-1668

Balboa Public Library 4255 Mt. Abernathy Avenue San Diego 573-1390

City of San Diego 410 B Street, 10th Floor Financial Mgt. MIS San Diego 533-4757

List of public access sites in or near Urbana-Champaign

Kinkos 401 Main Street Peoria

Kinkos 505 S. Mattis Avenue Champaign

Kinkos 1407 N. Veterans Pkwy Bloomington

Argonne National Laboratory OPA/201 9700 S. Cass Avenue Argonne (708)252-5581

Kinkos Suite 101 1163 Ogden Avenue Naperville

University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign MC 522 1408 W. Gregory Drive Urbana 244-2058

Rockford Public Library 215 North Wyman Street Rockford 965-6731

For more information, contact

Ann Redelfs
(619)534-5113 (FAX)

John Melchi
(217)244-8195 (FAX)