Internet2 Announces Winners of the First Annual IDEA Awards

Bob Dixon of OSC received award for Megaconference work

Ann Arbor, MI - April 21, 2006 - Internet2 today announced the first winners of its Internet2 Driving Exemplary Applications (IDEA) Awards program which seeks to recognize leading innovators who have created and deployed advanced network applications which have applied advanced networking to enable transformational progress in research, teaching and learning , and which hold the promise to increase the impact of next-generation networks around the world.

The four winning submissions were chosen among several distinguished nominations. Award submissions were judged on the depth of their positive impact on their primary users, the technical merit of the application, and the likelihood the application would be broadly adopted by its full natural community of potential users.  

"The Internet2 IDEA awards recognize leaders of the Internet2 community who have pushed the envelope of technology to enable a broad spectrum of the research and education community to learn, collaborate, and advance their missions in new and innovative ways," said David Lassner, CIO for the University of Hawaii and Chair of the Internet2 Applications Strategy Council. "In doing so, these applications and their lead collaborators serve as models for the entire community by driving innovation to the edge and creating new opportunities that just five years ago could not have been imagined."

This year's awardees represent a vast range of disciplines, from advanced radio astronomy to virtual master music classes; from remote global collaboration to digital archiving. Awards will be presented at Internet2's 2006 Spring Member Meeting held in Washington D.C. on April 26, 2006. Additional information about the IDEA Awards can be found at: http://idea.internet2.edu

The inaugural 2006 IDEA Award Winners include:

"The Megaconferences and their Spinoffs"

Collaborators:

  • Robert Dixon, The Ohio State University and OSC Networking (Nominating applicant)
  • Jennifer Oxenford, Mid-Atlantic Gigapop in Philadelphia for Internet2 (MAGPI) and the University of Pennsylvania

"Interactive Music Education"

Collaborators:

  • Tom Snook, New World Symphony (Nominating applicant)
  • Thomas Knab, Case Western Reserve University in partnership with the Cleveland Institute of Music
  • Christianne Orto, Manhattan School of Music
  • Brian Shepard, University of Southern California Thornton School of Music

"Transcontinental Persistent Archives Prototype"

Collaborators:

  • Robert Chadduck, Electronic Records Archives, National Archives and Records Administration (Nominating applicant)
  • Joseph JaJa, University of Maryland Institute for Advanced Computer Studies
  • Reagan Moore, San Diego Supercomputer Center

"Very High Speed Electronic Very Long Baseline Interferometry (e-VLBI)"

Collaborators:

  • Alan Whitney, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Haystack Observatory
  • Yasuhiro Koyama, NICT Kashima Space Research Center, Japan
  • Arpad Szomoru, Joint Institute for Very Long Baseline Interferometry in Europe (JIVE)
  • Hisao Uose, NTT Laboratories GEMnet2/GALAXY Project (Nominating applicant)

APPLICATION DETAILS:

"The Megaconferences and their Spinoffs"

The Megaconference programs use distributed networking - both people and technology - to solve the fundamental problem of how to regularly bring together hundreds of vastly distributed people in new ways each year. The Megaconference application is a huge interconnection of hundreds of interactive video conferencing endpoints throughout the world, using a network of cascaded multipoint control units using the H.323 video conferencing protocol, SIP, Access Grid, and 3G/H324 technologies. In 2005, there were an estimated 7500 participants.

The program seeks to provide participants a life-like environment to share cultural, technological and educational experiences across traditional geographic boundaries and time zones. Two spin-offs, Megaconference Jr and Keystone were established in 2004. Megaconference Jr., now held annually, brings together student presenters and audiences to share their life experiences enabling all who participate the ability visit cultures around the world without leaving the comfort of their classrooms. Three more spin-offs began in 2005 including Texas Connects, the Holiday Conference, and the Gigaconference .

Each year the Megaconference events attract novices to videoconferencing who by the end of their "Mega experience" are more comfortable with the technology and excited about the range of opportunities and applications it can afford. These individuals then take back their knowledge, experience, and enthusiasm for using the technology to their home institutions and become evangelists to their administrators, colleagues, and students.

"The Megaconferences bring together people from all over the world, inexpensively and from the comfort of their own classroom, office or laboratory," said Robert Dixon, chief research engineer for OSC Networking and the Ohio State University. "Creativity is unleashed in wonderful ways that allow everyone to express themselves and describe their work and experiences to an enthusiastic global audience. Friendships and memories are created that will endure forever. The world becomes a smaller and more friendly place when we can see and talk with one another openly and freely, without political or cultural boundaries."

"Interactive Music Education"

These award winning collaborators and their affiliated organizations have changed the face of music education in the U.S. through the use of advanced Internet2 networks. Using advanced networks, this application has dramatically expanded their educational resources through the use of live interactive music master classes, symposiums, and coaching sessions with music programs at Internet2 member universities. In doing so, these institutions are building a virtual music community to enable the free exchange of resources providing students access to coaches, teachers, and guest artists normally not available within their own campus.

The collaborating institutions regularly connect to living composers and conductors whose schedules do not permit them to attend rehearsals of their music and allows unique opportunities for musicians to hear first-hand from the composers themselves. The collaborating institutions leverage Internet2 networks for master classes, teaching, sectionals, symposiums, performances, community outreach and live auditions. Using this network for auditions enables music students in remote locations who would normally have difficulty in going to major cities the opportunity to audition for world class symphonies. To accomplish these programs, the sites involved use multi-casting capabilities as well as multiple interactive DV and MPEG2 streams. The high bandwidth of the connection and the Internet2 backbone allows for realistic high-definition video and realistic, better-than-CD quality surround sound while supporting low latency and minimum packet loss to create a true life-like learning environment for both teacher and student.

"What we have been able to accomplish through the experience of Internet2 networks for music education, collaboration and performance is just a first step in how this technology will be used for those purposes in the future," said Tom Snook, CTO of the New World Symphony. "It is unique, not only because it is building relationships between institutions and among music educators, professionals and students, but it is building bridges between engineering, science, technology and the arts and humanities. It reinforces the very real relationship between science, art and humanities and how critical it is that they work together for the future of education, learning, science and the very future and growth of humanity itself."

"Transcontinental Persistent Archives Prototype"

This application is an innovative research test bed used to address the Nation's challenge of safeguarding, preserving, and providing access to demonstrably authentic electronic records -- to ensure continuing access to essential evidence that documents the rights of American citizens, the actions of federal officials, and the national experience. The prototype is a federation of different, and independently administered, computing platforms which interact as a single virtual repository. The system is distributed between NARA, the University of Maryland, and the San Diego Supercomputer Center. The persistent archives prototype is based on the Storage Resource Broker data management technology. The prototype has been used to demonstrate the management of technology evolution, the preservation of electronic records, and the automated extraction of authenticity metadata. The prototype showcases new levels of data virtualization - demonstrating the ability to manage the properties of electronic records collection across multiple sites independent of the underlying storage environments. The transcontinental persistent archives prototype is the product of a seven year research effort that includes the contributions of the National Science Foundation's Office of CyberInfrastructure, the San Diego Supercomputer Center, and the University of Maryland.

"The Transcontinental Persistent Archives Prototype represents advanced collaborative research. This technology demonstrates how shared knowledge can be managed and distributed across multiple institutions and platforms. The prototype is the Nation's window onto the electronic records archives of the future," said Robert Chadduck, director of Research, Electronic Records Archives (ERA) Program National Archives and Records Administration

"Very High Speed Electronic Very Long Baseline Interferometry (e-VLBI)"

In the past several years, advanced scientific research has increasingly benefited from the rapid improvements in ultra high speed Research and Education (R&E) networks. One of the most innovative applications is real-time very long baseline Interferometry, dubbed "e-VLBI," which creates a large-scale virtual radio telescope that is used for generating ultra-high resolution images of distant radio sources for astronomy as well as measuring the earth's orientation and motion in space with unprecedented precision.

Prior to the use of R&E networks, all VLBI relied on magnetic tapes or disk packs at each site to collect continuous data at Gbps per telescope from a radio source such as a distant quasar. These magnetic media are physically shipped to a central correlator for processing. Internet2 and other advanced networks are now making real-time electronic transmission of VLBI data, or e-VLBI, a reality on a global scale. The network-based e-VLBI approach allows scientists to have immediate access to correlation results, even while experiments are in progress, which allows them to make adjustments or changes in strategy to maximize the science output, or to identify and fix problems at telescopes.

"The international nature of e-VLBI is one of the most exciting aspects of the project.   E-VLBI now links radio telescope facilities in Japan, Australia, Europe and the U.S., and is rapidly displacing the traditional record-and-ship paradigm of the past 30 years. Advanced high-speed data networks stream simultaneous observation data to correlators in the U.S., Europe and Japan, thereby creating a virtual radio telescope with a diameter nearly the size of the earth," said Alan Whitney, principal research scientist and associate director at the MIT Haystack Observatory. "VLBI is uniquely suited to advanced global networks since the instrument is fundamentally dispersed on a global scale and requires that high-speed data streams be brought together from spatially-diverse telescopes for processing. The ultimate payoff for science will be higher sensitivity, which increases with increasing data rate, as well as rapid turnaround of processed data for increased productivity."

About Internet2(R)
Led by more than 200 U.S. universities working with industry and government, Internet2 develops and deploys advanced network applications and technologies for research and higher education, accelerating the creation of tomorrow's Internet. Internet2 recreates the partnerships among academia, industry, and government that helped foster today's Internet in its infancy.
For more information, visit: www.internet2.edu .

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