News Release


Senator J. Robert Kerrey of Nebraska, Al Gore, Vice President of the United States, and Lloyd Morrisett of the Markle Foundation Comment

CUPERTINO, Calif. -- February 15, 1994 -- Tandem Computers Incorporated (NYSE:TDM) and Infonautics Corporation, Wayne, PA, today announced that they are working together to build the world's most extensive electronic library for children. This unique online information service, called the Homework Helper, will be one of the pioneering resources of the information highway.

This multi-million dollar agreement is the beginning of a relationship aimed at creating a revolutionary distributed computing environment connecting students to information available from multiple publisher sites.

Tandem will be the exclusive computer systems provider for the service, drawing on over 20 years of experience in delivering solutions for online transaction processing. This service will run on the Tandem Integrity Network Resource (NR) servers. These cost-effective UNIX servers offer leading performance and scalability.

Senator J. Robert Kerrey of Nebraska, a leading advocate of educational technology, said, "I have always thought that education should be the primary driver on the information superhighway. The Tandem and Infonautics partnership illustrates the kind of private-sector initiative that will be required to lead the way. The Homework Helper will help children reap the benefits of the information age."

Homework Helper, a breakthrough reference service, lets students with home computers search tens of millions of pages of reference material. It is perfect for students, because it responds in plain English. For example, the query "Who said, 'Et tu, Brute?" will yield the full text of Julius Caesar, the complete Monarch Notes; an encyclopedia article on Caesar; and references from newspapers, magazines and other sources.

Senator Kerrey added, "The development of an extensive, easy to use electronic research resource for the nation's elementary and secondary school students is the type of cutting edge application which is essential if the information superhighway is to work. I am encouraged and excited by projects such as the Homework Helper which collect and organize large amounts of materials, which make them available through open systems, and which allow access by simple English language queries. I commend Infonautics, Tandem and Prodigy and the many publishers involved in this effort for the contribution which they are making to advancing the new telecommunications technologies."

Al Gore, Vice President of the United States stated, "Efficient access to information is becoming critical for all parts of the American economy. Banks, insurance companies, manufacturing concerns, and many other business operations now depend on high-speed communication links. Many more businesses can take advantage of such systems if they are reliable, easy to use, and inexpensive. Such systems would be of enormous value to schools, hospitals, and other public organizations. Even the most remote school could be connected too state-of-the-art information."

Gore added, "When it comes to telecommunication services, schools are the most impoverished institutions in society. I've spoken often about a vision of a schoolchild in my hometown of Carthage, Tennessee being able to come home after school, turn on her computer and plug into the Library of Congress. I believe that his can only happen when you have the private and public sectors working together."

Lloyd Morrisett, president of the Markle Foundation and co-founder of the Children's Television Workshop said, "The Homework Helper is of great potential value to students of all ages, and of wide and varied interests."

Participating Homework Helper publishers will be encouraged to license a turnkey hosting system, to be known as the Electronic Printing Press (tm). This fully scalable technology will enable both small and large publishers alike to connect to the information superhighway, and claim control over their electronic publishing destiny.

Homework Helper carries the works of over 35 publishers, including USA Today, The Los Angeles Times, Forbes, Simon and Schuster, Reuters, journal Graphics, and Time magazine. Additionally, the system houses over 700 major literary works; thousands of digitized photographs, graphic images and maps; CNN Television Transcripts; Compton's Multimedia Encyclopedia; and the World Almanac and Book of Facts.

The Homework Helper will be offered through major networks, including the Internet. The initial launch, currently scheduled for this fall, will be on the PRODIGY service. It is targeted at the 47 million children in primary and secondary schools in the U.S. It will be offered on a subscription price per month basis. Prices may vary depending on the network, but will be lower than a basic cable TV subscription.

Jim Treybig, president and CEO of Tandem said, "The infrastructure needed for the information superhighway exists today in the combination of large networks and computer systems that meet its requirements. By teaming with Infonautics, we set a new standard for information delivery, providing systems that are highly cost-effective, and grow as the demand for service increases, making services like Homework Helper affordable to the public."

Marvin Weinberger, president of Infonautics said, "Our strategic alliance with Tandem will help American children become 'infonauts' -- to launch out into information space and go anywhere their dreams can take them. If children have the desire, there will be no limits on what they can learn."

Concurrently, Infonautics and MRJ, Inc., headquarters outside of Washington, D.C., a leading strategic information resources company, announced another relationship in which MRJ will assist Infonautics in the development and launch of the Homework Helper service.

Infonautics Corporation, based in Wayne, PA. was formed to create a new class of information products that will revolutionize the accessibility and affordability of electronic information. Infonautics is funded, in part, by a program-related investment by the New York based Markle Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to communications technology for the public good, and the Ben Franklin Partnership for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Infonautics has also received venture capital investments from Zero Stage Capital of Pennsylvania and Keystone Venture Capital.

Tandem Computers Incorporated (NYSE:TDM), founded in 1974, is the leader is continuously available parallel processing, reliable client/server solutions and enterprise networks. The company manufactures, markets, and provides services and systems ranging from the desktop to the data center, as well as software to deliver complete customer solutions. Tandem, headquarters in Cupertino, California, is a Fortune 500 company with offices worldwide.


Access Communications
Betsy Boesel Sagges


Infonautics, Inc.
Ellen S. Keech