Advanced Networking Initiatives
Advanced networking initiatives are undertaken by a wide-range of academic, government, and corporate organizations worldwide, including research centers, standards bodies, and individual initiatives.
Below are several notable organizational activities. iCAIR participates in many activities related to these initiatives.
- NSF Computer and Information Science and Engineering Directorate
The National Science Foundation's Computer and Information Science and Engineering Directorate (NSF CISE) has been a crucial force in the development of the Internet since the early days of the development of NSFNet, the national backbone network that evolved into today's Internet. The NSF provides funding for many basic research efforts related to advanced networking technology development. The NSF also supports a number of areas of applied network research, such as funding for the National Laboratory for Applied Network Research (NLANR). The NSF has provided funding for connectivity for over 100 institutions under its High Performance Connections program, the majority to allow for connectivity to the vBNS, also funded by the NSF.
- Next Generation Internet
Through the Next Generation Internet (NGI), the Federal government has made a major commitment to its stated policy of accelerating the pace of developing national network infrastructure orders of magnitude more powerful than what exists today. Participants include all major agencies that use networking infrastructure. The National Science Foundation, NASA, NIH, DARPA, DOE, and NIST are expected to contribute significant additional funding to the development of the NGI. Two founding members of MREN are NGI organizations, and directly or through MREN, the Center has undertaken several NGI related projects. MREN is assisting to develop a Chicago-based NGI Advanced Networking Interexchange (NGIX).
- Internet Engineering Task Force
Many advanced Internet initiatives develop under the auspices of the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), a collaboration of networking technologists, which has been the guiding force shaping Internet policy, standards, design and development since the early days of the Internet. The IETF provides for a process under which technical reports and documentation on proposals for revision of protocols are published, for example, as Requests for Comment (RFCs, which can provide information on proposed experiments, proposal, drafts, and standards) and Internet Engineering Notes (IEN).
- Electrical and Electronics Engineers
The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) also provides for standards related to advanced networking, although primarily for specialized areas such as certain types of physical infrastructure. The IEEE is an international professional society that undertakes a variety of projects leading to the design, development and testing of many different types of advanced components.
- Metropolitan Research and Education Network
The Center has formed a partnership with Metropolitan Research and Education Network (MREN), one of the most advanced high-performance digital networks in the country. The iCAIR facilities are directly connected to the MREN network. Designed in 1993, and operational in 1994, MREN's mission is to provide advanced networking for advanced applications. MREN was developed by a consortium of universities, national laboratories, and a major communications corporation, in part to develop concepts that would lead to the design and develop a next-generation Internet. Designed as an advanced network for advanced applications, MREN, became a model for next-generation internets. For example, MREN pioneered such concepts as "GigaPOP"s, regional aggregation points that provide a wide-range of value-added network benefits. MREN has been acknowledged as the world's first GigaPOP. Currently, the partnership includes over 30 major Midwest research universities, three national laboratories (Argonne National Laboratory, Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, and the National Computational Science Alliance, NCSA), three state networks, including MERIT and WiscNet, several national agency networks, including DREN and NREN, and many international networks. MREN allows for flexibility because it provides for AUP-free transit.
StarLight, the next generation Science Technology and Research Transit Access Point (STAR TAP), is an international advance exchange facility for global advanced networks that will lead federal, state and international research networking. StarLight is designed to support large-scale global eScience based on Grid computing and advanced applications related to next-generation optical networking. Located at Northwestern University, StarLight was designed and developed in partnership with the University of Illinois at Chicago and Argonne National Laboratory, and is funded by the National Science Foundation.
- The Electronic Visualization Laboratory
The Electronic Visualization Laboratory (EVL) at the University of Illinois at Chicago has developed a series of important new 3-D VR visualization technologies, including the CAVE ª (Cave Automated Virtual Environment), a 10'*10'*9' room sized, multi person, high resolution environment with audio and video features. EVL has also created an ImmersaDesk, a smaller, drafting table sized version of the CAVE, and the PowerWall, consisting of four 1280*1024 screens. Increasingly these technologies are being used for new network based applications across multiple disciplines.
- National Computational Science Alliance
The National Computational Science Alliance (NCSA), with core facilities at the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana,, is a nation-wide consortium devoted to state-of-the art information technology research in support of science. Northwestern is a partner which was recently awarded one of two ten-year National Science Foundation Partnerships for Advanced Computational Infrastructure (PACI) grants. NCSA is establishing national research teams to explore advanced enabling network technologies and application technologies that will be made available for broader applications through regional technology. NSF Partnerships for Advanced Computational Infrastructure (PACI). NCSA is connected to MREN and the vBNS.
- Mathematics and Computer Science
The Mathematics and Computer Science (MCS) Division of Argonne National Laboratory (ANL) is a large multi program laboratory operated by the University of Chicago for the Department of Energy. ANL's mission is basic and applied research that supports the development of energy related technologies. In support of that mission, ANL has developed one of the world's most advanced capabilities for advanced and high performance computing, especially in the area of parallel processing, GRID development, e.g., Globus, advanced applications for advanced networks and advanced networking.. MCS was one of the developers of the pioneering I-WAY project in 1995. (http://www.anl.gov). Globus is a project being developed by a national collaboration led by Ian Foster of the Argonne National Laboratory MCS Division and Carl Kesselman of the California Institute of Technology, that is creating an integrated set of basic Grid services, termed the "Globus Toolkit." This toolkit is a collection of components that provide basic services such as security, resource location, resource management, communication, interfacing and linking utilities, as well as related object libraries, development systems, and compilers. Globus will be available as an underlying component Grid resource that will be used by Grid applications.
In the book, The GRID, Blueprint for a New Computing Infrastructure, Edited by Ian Foster and Carl Kesselman, a new vision for advanced computing infrastructure is proposed. A number of advanced computing communities, including Center researchers, are planning to create a National Technology Grid, an emerging infrastructure that will fundamentally change the core concepts of computing and communications. National and regional Grids will allow for significantly more computational power to be available to many more communities through distributed processing. NCSA will lead several regional efforts to create advanced Grid enabling technologies and related applications, as well as new classes of middleware. MREN will provide the basis of the first Grid infrastructure. http://www.gridforum.org
CANARIE, the Canadian Network for the Advancement of Research, Industry, and Education, is a not-for-profit research consortium that has been on the forefront of advanced network innovation for many years, including advanced network design and implementation. This consortium is a partnership with over 140 members, including the Canadian government, educational research institutions, and commercial companies. CANARIE is designing and building the information highway in Canada, and has undertaken the funding and deployment of several major networking initiatives in Canada, including CA*net II the equivalent of Internet2, and a new all-optical network initiative, CA*net III. CANARIE was the first international member of MREN.
Last Updated: 12 May 2009