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I2-NEWS: I2-NEWS: $12 Million Middleware Initiative Will Aid Scientific Discovery and Education

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  • From: Greg Wood <>
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  • Subject: I2-NEWS: I2-NEWS: $12 Million Middleware Initiative Will Aid Scientific Discovery and Education
  • Date: Mon, 24 Sep 2001 10:04:32 -0400

Greg Wood

$12 Million Middleware Initiative Will Aid Scientific Discovery and Education

NSF awards go to EDUCAUSE, Internet2, NCSA, SURA, UCSD, University of Chicago, USC/ ISI, and University of Wisconsin

September 24, 2001--A group of university-led organizations and research centers across the U.S. will work together on a $12 million project to develop middleware--software that allows scientists and educators to share applications, scientific instruments and data, and collaborate with their colleagues across the Internet.

The National Science Foundation (NSF) today announced the program called the NSF Middleware Initiative (NMI). NMI will create and deploy advanced network services that will make it easier for Internet users to access a wide range of resources available through high-performance networks. For example, they will be able to share scientific tools, such as telescopes or modeling software, access supercomputing systems and databases, and run simulations in real-time with colleagues across the country and around the world.

The effort will build on the successes of the Globus* project and the MACE** initiative in developing middleware tools, and will integrate emerging middleware components into a well-tested, comprehensive, commercial-quality, middleware distribution package that runs on multiple platforms. These middleware distributions will be disseminated to research labs and universities worldwide.

Two groups will receive the awards. A team formed by Internet2 will include EDUCAUSE and the Southeastern Universities Research Association (SURA). A second team that includes the University of Southern California School of Engineering's Information Sciences Institute (ISI), the University of Chicago, the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the University of California at San Diego (UCSD) and the University of Wisconsin at Madison, will establish the GRIDS (Grids Research Integration Deployment and Support) Center.

"We believe that middleware and a comprehensive middleware infrastructure will be the key to creating a network infrastructure that can be used by the worldwide research community to share ideas, conduct research, and make new discoveries," said ISI's Carl Kesselman, "There is a world of resources and information out there, and we intend to bring it to the scientific community in a seamless manner, so that they can focus specifically on their research."

"Much as the academic community was the proving ground for the Internet, so may this pioneering work foster a marketplace for middleware," said Ken Klingenstein, director of the Internet2 middleware initiative. "While the focus of the NMI is to support research and education, the consequences of this work could be far broader."

NCSA's Randy Butler compared the NMI and its expected impact to the original NSFnet, the high-performance network that first connected the NSF supercomputer centers in the 1980s. "NSFnet allowed researchers around the country to begin to build and strengthen collaborations because they could easily share information," said Butler. "NMI will allow researchers to go beyond simple information sharing and enable true virtual teaming."

The GRIDS Center will have two main functions: developing and integrating an NMI architecture and packaging, testing, and supporting NMI software distributions.

The Internet2 team will develop an NMI architecture that focuses on inter-realm directories, security, and naming and will integrate these services into a variety of key applications, including desktop video. The team will also promote widespread, consistent, and rapid deployment of these technologies to the higher education and research communities.

EDUCAUSE is a nonprofit association whose mission is to advance higher education by promoting the intelligent use of information technology. Membership is open to institutions of higher education, corporations serving the higher education information technology market, and other
related associations and organizations. EDUCAUSE programs include professional development activities, print and electronic publications, strategic policy initiatives, research, awards for leadership and exemplary practices, and a wealth of online information services. The current membership comprises more than 1,800 colleges, universities, and education organizations, including over 180 corporations. EDUCAUSE has offices in Boulder, CO, and Washington, D.C. Detailed information about membership and association programs and services is available through the EDUCAUSE Web site at

About ISI
Founded in 1972, the USC School of Engineering Information Sciences Institute is a leading world center for computer science research. One of the birthplaces of the Internet, it now provides top-level infrastructure and research services, and its hardware and software
prototypes have been incorporated into thousands of commercial and public systems. For more information, please visit

About Internet2(R)
Led by over 180 US universities, working with industry and government, Internet2 is developing and deploying advanced network applications and technologies for research and higher education, accelerating the creation of tomorrow's Internet. Internet2 recreates the partnerships of academia, industry and government that helped foster today's Internet in its infancy. For more information about Internet2, see:

About NCSA
The National Center for Supercomputing Applications is the leading-edge site for the National Computational Science Alliance (Alliance). NCSA is a leader in the development and deployment of cutting-edge high-performance computing, networking, and information technologies. The National Science Foundation, the state of Illinois, the University of Illinois, industrial partners, and other federal agencies fund NCSA. The Alliance is a partnership to prototype an advanced computational infrastructure for the 21st century and includes more than 50 academic, government and industry research partners from across the United States.

About SURA
The Southeastern Universities Research Association (SURA) is a consortium of 59 universities in the Southern U.S. SURA serves as an entity through which colleges, universities, and other organizations may cooperate with one another and with government and other organizations in acquiring, developing, and using laboratories, machines, and other research facilities and in furthering knowledge in the physical, biological, and other natural sciences and engineering. SURA's regional leadership role in information technology includes the SURA Crossroads Initiative, a project to develop an optical networking infrastructure throughout the SURA region. More information about SURA is available at

*Globus ( is a project of Argonne National Laboratory and ISI

**MACE ( is a group of leading information technology architects that provides technical advice and direction, and fosters interoperability in areas such as security and directories within the higher education community

Additional Contacts:

Peter DeBlois


Karen Green

Elizabeth Lawson


University of Chicago
Steve Koppes


Eric Mankin

+1- 310 448 9112

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September 2001


Quote of the Month: Tom West

* ONI Initiative “Network Architecture and Design” Document Released
* UCAID Stitches Regional Network Aggregators Together into "The Quilt"
* DCP Director of Applications Honored by ISTE
* Dates for CENIC 2002 Annual Conference Announced

National Networking News
* Website Launched
* Wireless Networks: Widely Available and Wide Open

Factoid: Internet Usage in the Workplace
Subscription Information

Quote of the Month
“CENIC is excited to be an integral part of ‘The Quilt’ ­ we think that this coalition of network aggregators has the potential to improve how advanced network services are developed and delivered to U.S. research and education institutions.”

--Tom West, President/Executive Director,CENIC


ONI Initiative “Network Architecture and Design” Document Released
In preparation for the implementation of its third major project, the Optical Network Infrastructure Initiative (ONI), CENIC has released a “Network Architecture and Design” document that provides some of the technical specifics surrounding the development of the ONI.

CENIC’s Optical Network Infrastructure Initiative (ONI) is creating a powerful optical network backbone that will serve the future networking needs of all of California’s universities, research institutions, community colleges, and K-12 schools. CENIC’s ONI was designed to develop a shared optical infrastructure that would immediately augment and eventually replace the various SONET advanced-services networks being used by various sectors of the CENIC community today.

The “Network Architecture and Design” document can be downloaded from the CENIC website:

More information about the ONI can be obtained on the CENIC website at:

UCAID Stitches Regional Network Aggregators Together into "The Quilt"
The Quilt is a UCAID Project whose participants are non-profit network aggregators -- like CENIC -- dedicated to advancing research and education in the United States by both providing a broad range of advanced networking services to their constituents, and facilitating innovative and successful projects and productive working relationships.

CENIC President/Executive Director Tom West sits on The Quilt's Steering Committee. CENIC was one of the initial participants in this project.

Other initial project participants included representatives from the following organizations: EDUCAUSE, Front Rage Gigapop (FRGP), Great Plains Network (GPN), Mid-Atlantic Crossroads (MAX), Merit Network, Inc.(Merit), Metropolitan Research and Education Network (MREN), North Carolina Gigapop, Net.Work.Virginia, Northern Crossroads (NoX), NYSERNet, OARnet, Pacific/Northwest Gigapop (PNWGP), Pittsburgh GigaPop, Southern Crossroads (SoX), Southeastern Research Universities Association (SURA), Texas GigaPop.

Participation in The Quilt is open: to non-profit network aggregators dedicated to advancing research and education in the United States that support advanced network services and
to other organizations invited by The Quilt Steering Committee which demonstrate on-going interest in and support for the goals and activities of The Quilt and leadership in advanced networking at the regional level.

Acknowlegement: The Quilt,

DCP Director of Applications Honored by ISTE
The International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) named DCP Director of Applications John Vaille one of two recipients of its 2001 “Learning and Leading with Technology Award”.

ISTE is a nonprofit professional organization dedicated to promoting the appropriate use of information technology to support and improve learning, teaching, and administration in the K-12 schools. The “Learning and Leading with Technology Award” is given each year to those individuals who have made significant progress in promoting the successful use of technology in the K-12 environment.

Dr. John Vaille, a former classroom teacher, elementary school principal, and assistant superintendent, has held a number of prestigious positions in the national educational technology community. Before joining CENIC, Dr. Vaille served simultaneously as CEO of the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) and as the Executive Director of the National Education Computing Association (NECA), two influential Eugene, Oregon-based institutions. He was previously the Executive Director of California Instructional Technology Clearinghouse (1996-1999), and Executive Director of Computer Using Educators, Inc. (1993-1996).

Acknowledgement: Jessica Cole, ISTE,

Dates for CENIC 2002 Annual Conference Announced
The CENIC 2002 Annual Conference will be held from May 4 to May 8, 2002 at the beautiful Paradise Point Resort located on Mission Bay in San Diego, California. This is always an exciting, informative, and ­ most importantly ­ fun event that attracts participants from industry, state and local government, and networking organizations. We hope to see you there!

National Networking News

----------------------------------------------------------------- Website Launched
Scientists who use, or would like to use, the computational resources provided through the National Science Foundation's Partnerships for Advanced Computational Infrastructure (PACI)
program can now find all the information they need at

The new website combines information about the two PACI partnerships—the National Partnership for Advanced Computational Infrastructure (NPACI) and the National Computational Science Alliance (Alliance)--and the Terascale Computing System at the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center (PSC) on a site that is easy to use and focused exclusively on the needs of researchers who use high-performance computing systems. Each year more than 5,000 scientists from across the U.S. use PACI resources for simulation, data analysis, and scientific visualization.

The new site features a specialized grid computing portal, the PACI HotPage (, which allows users to view the status of PACI resources and supports secure, interactive access to the resources. Based on the NPACI GridPort Toolkit, the PACI HotPage gives users direct access to their HPC accounts, job management tools, file systems, and system-wide information.

Source: David Hart, SDSC

Wireless Networks: Widely Available and Wide Open
The folks over at ExtremeTech did a little experiment in detecting wireless networks based on widely available and inexpensive 802.11b hardware. They picked up a couple of sensitive antennas, a laptop with a wireless network card, and some recently released network-sniffing software, then drove around in a car seeing how many networks they could casually detect.

The results are shocking. After sampling some random areas in New York andSilicon Valley, they determined that at least 40% of all easily publicly detectable wireless networks are insecure and wide-open to hacking. The story is a bit technical but should be read by anybody who contemplates running a wireless 802.11b network at work or at home. Tips on securing your
set-up are included.

More info:,3396,s%253D1024%2526a%253D13880,00.asp

Source: Netsurfer Digest

Factoid: Internet Usage in the Workplace
Sixty-six percent of the US workforce now has Internet access at work, according to a new survey from Xylo. Last year, only 44 percent of US workers could go online in the office.

Men and women use the Internet at work in more or less equal numbers, although younger women are far more likely to use the Net at work. Young men, however, are more likely to use the Internet at work for personal reasons and more likely to say that it enhances their productivity.


CENIC is a not-for-profit corporation formed by the California Institute of Technology, the California State University, Stanford University, the University of California, and the University of Southern California to facilitate and coordinate the deployment, development, and operation of a set of seamless and robust advanced network services. The CENIC Associates program offers qualified companies the opportunity to collaborate with CENIC in pursuit of the goal of providing the most advanced network services for research and education. Cisco Systems, Nortel Networks, Pacific Bell, and the University and Community College System of Nevada are CENIC's Partner Associates.

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  • I2-NEWS: I2-NEWS: $12 Million Middleware Initiative Will Aid Scientific Discovery and Education, Greg Wood, 09/24/2001

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