Celebrating the GlobalNOC’s 15th Anniversary

Informatics and Communications Technology Complex
IUPUI
Indianapolis, Indiana
September 10, 2013

Introduction

Thank you, Brad [Wheeler], and thank you all for coming this afternoon to help celebrate this important milestone for Indiana University and the Global Research Network Operations Center.

Over the last 15 years, the GlobalNOC has been at the heart of IU’s leadership in the operation and management of high-speed national and international research and education networks. It has now grown into the pre-eminent network operations center of its kind anywhere in the world.

The continued growth and success of the GlobalNOC are further confirmation of IU’s position as a world leader in the uses and applications of information technology and in computer networking, in particular. Its continued international growth is also further confirmation of IU’s position as one of the world’s leading international universities.

Growth of GlobalNOC

The Network Operations Center began relatively modestly in 1998, when I approved its establishment. Soon after, IU was awarded the contract to manage and operate the Internet2 research and education network—then called Abilene.

In 1998, we also received the original $10 million award from the National Science Foundation which allowed us to establish TransPAC, the first high-speed dedicated research and education network connection between the United States and the Asia Pacific. I had the honor of being the principal investigator for that award, and I am honored to have played a role in establishing the NOC.

Today, the GlobalNOC manages not only the Internet2 network and the current iteration of TransPAC, TransPAC3, but a total of more than 20 major national and international networks connecting the United States research community to networks in Japan, China, Europe, Australia, and South America. The Global NOC also manages the state of Indiana’s own I-Light high-speed optical fiber network from this very building.

As a further indicator of the center’s growth, the GlobalNOC began with just three employees—and today it employs nearly 90 network engineers and associated technical staff, and has over 15 graduate students working on various projects associated with the NOC. This is the equivalent size of a decent-sized start-up or a small tech company.

Incidentally, as another indicator of the global reach of the NOC, I just returned this weekend from a visit to Africa. While in Ghana just a few days ago, Laurie and I visited with a young woman—Pamela Pomary, a network engineer at the University of Ghana—who was here this summer as part of the GlobalNOC’s Summer of Networking program.

Research and International Collaboration

The global, high-speed communications networks managed by the GlobalNOC are, of course, absolutely critical to 21st century scientific research.

As you know, scientific research today is an activity that spans the globe. Scholarship and research in just about every discipline from anthropology to zoology is truly international. High-speed research and education networks play an essential part in binding these disciplines together and making international collaboration possible.

The international networks supported by the GlobalNOC enable a level of collaboration among researchers at the world's universities and other institutions that could not have been imagined just 20 years ago.

Special Thanks

This kind of success would not have been possible without the dedicated efforts of many, many people.

I especially want to acknowledge the role of the late Jacob Levanon, under whose leadership the GlobalNOC was brought into existence.

I also want to commend:

  • Dave Jent, Associate Vice President of Networks for Indiana University, who has overseen the spectacular growth of the NOC,
  • Steve Wallace, who was the original network engineer and oversaw the technical work of establishing the NOC,
  • Jim Williams, who recently retired as IU’s director of international networking and who helped IU to forge partnerships that have created educational and research opportunities around the world, and
  • Matt Davy, IU’s former chief network architect, whose efforts were also instrumental in the establishment of the NOC.

A special word of commendation goes to Vice President Brad Wheeler, for his outstanding leadership of IU’s Information Technology efforts.

Finally, let me extend congratulations to the many dedicated staff members who have contributed so much to building GlobalNOC and who are responsible for its continued success.

Conclusion

GlobalNOC has played a major role in transforming the face of digital science, research and education in Indiana, the U.S., and around the world.

It is an integral part of IU’s great tradition of innovation and leadership in information technology, and the outstanding work that is done here puts Indiana University right at the center of international developments in advanced networking.

Congratulations to all of you who have contributed to the tremendous success of the GlobalNOC during its first 15 years, and best wishes for continued success.