The Alternative Futures Project
at the University of Illinois

In the late 1960s and early 1970s a group of graduate and undergraduate students at the University of Illinois conducted research on computer-based communications media.  This research could be regarded as a forerunner of internet applications, including collaboration, simulation and information navigation programs.  The work was funded by the National Science Foundation and the Charles F. Kettering Foundation.  The Alternative Futures Project was located in the Computer-based Education Research Laboratory (the PLATO system). For theoretical inspiration it was connected with the Biological Computer Laboratory. This website provides documents about this small research team.

Project Newsletters

Press Coverage

Participants, Research Assistants, and Faculty Advisers



A conference on the innovative work done on the PLATO system was held June 2-3, 2010, at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, CA.