"International Computing Networks at IU Receive NSF Awards"

TransPAC3 and ACE Awards Press Conference
ICTC Atrium
August 2, 2010

Thank you, Vice President Wheeler, and thank you all for coming this afternoon for this major announcement.

Today I am delighted to announce that the National Science Foundation has awarded Indiana University a double award totaling $9.2 million to lead two high-speed international network services. We wish to thank the NSF most sincerely for these awards and for their confidence in IU’s leadership of these projects of vital and national importance. One of those awards, worth $4.6 million, enables the university to continue the TransPAC3 network connection to Asia, and the second award, also totaling $4.6 million, provides for a new network connection to Europe under the America Connects to Europe (ACE) Program.

The Past and Future of Scientific Research

These awards further strengthen, enhance, and expand the high-speed global computer networks that underpin modern science and research, which is completely international in character. There is hardly a discipline—from anthropology to zoology—for which such networks are not essential. In the early 1980s, the first generation of the Internet achieved these aims, but, as all of us know, the Internet has since become more commercialized and no longer serves the very specific needs of the higher education and scientific communities.

In response to this evolution, over a decade ago countries around the world began developing their own research and education networks, including Internet2 here in the United States, GEANT in Europe, and APAN in the Asia Pacific, a network I actually was responsible for co-founding. It then became essential to strengthen the connections between and among those networks.

This is the future of scientific research in the 21st century. This era of science will be dramatically different from what we have known in the past. It will be vastly more complicated, more computationally intensive, and more widely distributed.

We will see scientists and researchers around the world sharing, accessing, and analyzing enormous quantities of data as they collaborate to solve wide-ranging problems that affect people around the globe: problems related to climate change, energy availability and usage, and basic human health. Educational and research networks like TransPAC3 and ACE enable that problem-solving—and life-changing—collaboration.

IU’s History of IT Leadership

These awards continue Indiana University’s history of leadership in managing high-speed international computer network services and further confirm IU’s position as one of the world’s leading international universities. In 1998, IU received the original $10 million TransPAC award from the NSF to establish 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 this award. That same year, IU established the Global Research Network Operation Center, or the Global NOC, which manages national and international advanced research and education 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.

IU’s leadership in IT also includes the Center for Applied Cybersecurity Research, the Research and Education Networking-Information Sharing and Analysis Center or REN-ISAC, and IU’s growing role in the NSF’s Global Environment for Network Innovations, or GENI, Project, which aims to help us shape and develop the next generation of the Internet.

This continues IU’s great tradition of IT innovation. In just the last year, millions of dollars in federal research funding have come to IU based upon our outstanding IT researchers and facilities. In fact, it was less than a year ago that we announced that IU Professor Geoffrey Fox would lead the NSF’s $15M FutureGrid Project with partners at the University of Chicago, UC San Diego, and seven other institutions.

Conclusion: Special Thanks

This kind of success would not have been possible without the vision of IU’s sixteenth president Myles Brand and the support he received from the IU trustees to make IU an international leader in information technology.

In addition, we would not be here today without the generous support and leadership that the Indiana General Assembly has provided over many years.

I would also like to acknowledge the Lilly Endowment, which has been essential in our efforts to make Indiana University an IT leader, and we are grateful for the generous support they have given us over the years. Finally, let me extend a word of thanks to the many dedicated faculty and staff members who have contributed so much to building IU’s IT infrastructure.

A special word of thanks goes to Vice President Brad Wheeler, whose leadership has helped lead to this announcement.

Another word of thanks goes to Jim Williams, who has played a vital role in relation to IU’s international networking efforts. His combination of technical skill and international diplomacy have helped IU forge partnerships that have created educational and research opportunities around the world, and I mean that quite literally. Jim has also most capably served as IU’s liaison with the NSF on this and other projects, and we are grateful for his dedication.

Thank you, Jim, and thank you all very much.