A US governmental body charged with the fostering and support of American research. It played a very important part in the development of the Internet in the 1980s when it started its Supercomputer Center Program. It is usually abbreviated to NSF. An early decision made by the NSF was to make supercomputing power available to as many American researchers as possible. In order to do this they networked the small number of supercomputers using Internet technology such as the Transmission Control Protocol. The network that was developed was known as NSFNet and was the core of the Internet until the mid-1990s when it was retired and replaced by the National Research And Education Network.