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NSF grant to bring
high speed network to UConn
(March 30, 1999)

The University of Connecticut has received a two-year, $350,000 grant from the National Science Foundation as part of the National High Performance Connections program.

The enhanced network connection will extend the University's research capabilities, allowing faculty members to connect to the next generation of the Internet, known as Internet 2.

Unlike the Internet now shared by millions of sites worldwide, the Internet 2 network interconnects only a small number of high caliber research institutions, government agencies and defense contractors with extremely high bandwidth and low delay connectivity.

UConn's new connection will allow 155 million bits of information per second to be transferred between the University's researchers and colleagues throughout the United States, Canada, and some parts of Europe and Asia. The current Internet connection allows less than 3 percent of that capability.

"The University of Connecticut is one of only two public Research I institutions in New England and as such is firmly committed to the application of the most effective technology in support of our research programs," said Chancellor Mark A. Emmert in a letter to the NSF.

"I see the Internet 2 as the harbinger of the next level of communication that will eliminate both distance and the volume of data as limiting factors in the performance of research," he said.

The NSF recognized six projects, each led by UConn researchers, as part of the grant:

  • Educational Outcomes of Networked Multimedia, led by Michael Young, associate professor of educational psychology;

  • Immersive Telemedicine, by Ian R. Greenshields, associate professor of computer science and engineering, and Gale R. Ramsby, professor and chair of diagnostics imaging and theraputics at the Health Center;

  • Networked-Based Manufacturing Scheduling and Supply Chain Coordination, by Peter B. Luh, professor of electrical and systems engineering, and Lakshman Thakur, associate professor of operations and information management;.

  • Networked-Based Monitoring and Fault Diagnosis, by Krishna R. Pattipati, professor of electrical and systems engineering;

  • Networking Controls for Network Edge Multimedia Appliances, led by Robert Vietzke, manager of video communications with Telecommunications in the Computer Center;

  • Virtual One Stop Computational Biology Resource Center, by Dong-Guk Shin, associate professor of computer science and engineering, and Peter Gogarten, professor of molecular and cell biology.

Luh, director of the Taylor L. Booth Center for Computer Application and Research, guided the development of the research profect descriptions for the NSF proposal.

"We are very pleased to be recognnized by the NSF by this highly competitive award," said Vietzke, the principal investigator who submitted the application to the NSF.

"The University's commitment to the next generation networking, the high caliber of the proposed research and our experience in networking clearly impressed the NSF's review jury," Vietzke said.

Paul Kobulnicky, vice chancellor for information services, said "The development of the Internet 2 and its broad bandwidth capability are certain to redefine the very nature of research and education for the participating institutions.

"Within research, it will enable greater national and international collaboration efforts," he said, "and within instruction, it will enable the use of new paradigms both to distribute information and to engage students with information that is more multi-media oriented than has been possible until now."

Kobulnicky added that "because of Internet 2, the University will be making a larger investment in its telecommunications infrastructure, an investment that will translate to greater research and instruction productivity."

Implementing the high performance network includes leasing high speed fiber-optic circuits from the University's data network to the Internet 2 backbone Point of Presence (POP) in New London, and installing high-end network switches at several campuses.

The Internet 2 will be activated for the University on July 2, including installation of a 155 megabit-per-second link to the Avery Point campus and then to New London.

"Additional links to connect the other regional capuses will be phased in over several years, as research needs and funding allow," said Vietzke.

At Storrs, the Computer Center is proposing a multi-year strategy to upgrade the individual networks serving researchers, so that eventually all interested faculty could use the Internet 2 backbone. The process involves making significant enhancements to the campus network and replacing some of the wiring in older buildings.

Kobulnicky said the University plans to make the high performance network connection available to other educational institutions in the state, pending the approval of a statewide education network, which is included in the budget proposal for the state Department of Information Technology.

"The development of advanced Internet 2 connectivity," he said, "and the research and instructional applications enabled by these new telecommunications technologies will be the University of Connecticut's leading contribution to the development of a state-wide educational network."