Image of Project Athena Project Athena
Project Athena

Project Athena was an eight-year (1983–1991), $100 million collaborative project involving MIT, IBM, and Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) to integrate computers into the university curriculum at MIT and beyond. The project stimulated many influential applications, such as Instant Messaging, Active Directory, and the X Window System. But the real goal was to make very powerful software available for students, faculty, and staff to do almost anything—from sending email and writing papers to analyzing data and creating new applications. Getting an Athena account is one of the first things all new members of the MIT community do when they arrive. Though powerful wireless networks provide near-universal Wi-Fi access across campus, students still love using the Athena clusters.

“Grumpy Fuzzball” was the last Project Athena dialup server, officially named: or

“Grumpy Fuzzball”
DECStation 5000/25 “Maxine” Computer

photo: Michael Cardinali for MIT Museum

RSS icon