Columbus is set to host a technology conference that for the first time will bring together five nationally recognized technology institutions that play a major role in the development and distribution of information technology to the education and research communities nationwide.
The conference is a national event that draws participants from across the country in order to identify and discuss the challenges of and solutions to problems associated with networking technology and content delivery. It takes place April 14-16 at the OSU Fawcett Center in Columbus.
The conference, "Meaningful Performance - End to End" is hosted jointly by ITEC-Ohio (Internet2 Technology Evaluation Center of Ohio), ADEC (American Distance Education Consortium), Internet2, Ohio State University, and OSC Networking. Internet2 develops advanced applications and other networking technologies for higher education, research and business.
ITEC-Ohio, an Internet2 initiative operated by OSC Networking, tests and evaluates new applications and protocols, while fixing technical problems associated with applications and network infrastructure. ADEC is a provider of distance education programs, and is holding its annual All-ADEC meeting in conjunction with this event. Ohio State, with it's tens of thousands of faculty, staff and students, is an end user. And OSC Networking, the Internet Service Provider for Ohio's higher education and research community, is a distributor. OSC Networking is a division of the Ohio Supercomputer Center, a technology initiative of the Ohio Board of Regents.
People are doing more with the Internet than ever before, and as a result they are pushing it to its technical and physical limits. With virtually every teacher, student and researcher in the country using the Internet, technical innovation has not kept pace with user demand. Until recently the Internet was used mostly for email and surfing the world wide web. Nowadays, people are using the Internet for connecting supercomputers to their desktops, for Internet videoconferencing, transferring massive data files for computational chemistry, neurology and astrophysics, accessing distributed servers, telemedicine, bio-informatics, remote robotic surgery, and much more.
ITEC-Ohio Director Pankaj Shah said that although researchers and network engineers are working hard to accomplish meaningful performance from one end of the network to another across the country, end users are mostly unaware of the technological intricacies involved to solve such problems.
"Guaranteed end-to-end performance is a myth on today's Internet, even though end users expect high quality performance. This conference will focus on bringing all the elements, such as faculty, students, administrators, researchers, network engineers and software developers, together to discuss their problems, solutions and perspectives," Shah said.
ADEC is a national consortium of 60 state and land grant institutions providing economic and distance education programs and services via Internet satellite links. ADEC's Advanced Internet Satellite Extension Project (AISEP) is developing and deploying advanced Internet services and technologies over a satellite infrastructure in order to enhance research, instruction and learning at a diverse set of institutions across the country including tribal colleges, historically black colleges, and Hispanic serving institutions, most of which are geographically remote and far removed from terrestrial Internet connectivity.
"Now in these difficult times, it is critically important that the best thinking in education and Internet technology be integrated to meaningfully serve learners and serious Internet users. ADEC is proud to be working closely with ITEC-Ohio, OSC Networking, Ohio State and Internet2 to create a real future for programs and products that will improve people's lives," said ADEC President Janet Poley.
Internet2 is a collaborative national project that coordinates the talents and resources of almost 200 universities across the country and around the world, in partnership with government agencies and industry leaders, to develop the next generation of advanced Internet applications.
Cheryl Munn-Fremon, Director of the End-to-End Performance Initiative at Internet2, said the joint conference was planned because rarely do the end users have contact with the developers and network engineers. Bringing them together in this forum is intended to foster a better understanding on both ends of the developer-distributor-user continuum.
"Internet2 looks forward to joining with its partners in Ohio in the Windows on the Future conference. End-to-End performance challenges must be surmounted if we are to experience the full promise of advanced networking in our teaching, learning and research activities," Munn-Femon said.
Many conference sessions will be streamed live from the Fawcett Center, and are free of charge to the public. Go to www.itecohio.org for access to streaming, and for additional information about the conference and hosts agencies.
-Written by Dan Downing, OSC Networking Communications Manager