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Three Michigan universities are currently working on a project to evolve a network that will link their educational and research computing centers. This project requires the concurrent development of several interrelated technical activities, the most important of which are the network's specialized hardware, software for the network's communications computers, and support software for each of the host computers. The specific topic of this paper is the network's unique hardware configuration, its general design, and the rationale behind its particular specifications. Also included are descriptions of special interfaces developed for the system's synchronous data sets, and the IBM system 360 and Control Data 6000 series computers.