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Internet 2 Project

Source: Rice Computing News, Vol. XXIX No.1, Spring 1997
Gail Miller, Editor

Rice has joined a major new initiative to adapt research Internet technology to academic needs. The Internet 2 project, a collaborative effort by 100 American research universities to build a next generation Internet 100 times faster than today's network, will bring focus, energy, and resources to meet emerging academic requirements in research, teaching, and learning. Tony Gorry, Vice President for Information Technology Services, will coordinate Rice's efforts in the Internet II project.

With more than $50 million in committed funding from participating institutions, the Internet 2 project (I2) will help create a family of network-based applications and supporting infrastructure that reflects state of the art network and applications functionality.

Since the effort was announced by 34 research universities in October, 1996,12 has tripled in size and become a key element of the Clinton administration's $100 million Next Generation Internet Initiative, as well as a close cousin to the National Science Foundation's high speed research network, the VBNS (Rice is a member of a local consortium that won an NSF vBNS grant).

The project will address three major challenges over the next three to five years:

  • the creation of a leading edge network capability for the national research community. The rapid growth and commercialization of the Internet has resulted in such a high level of congestion that many faculty are becoming deprived of the network capability needed to support world class research.
  • the development of a new generation of applications that fully exploit the capabilities of broadband networks - media integration, interactivity, real time collaboration, just to name a few. These are essential for the support of new initiatives, such as distance education, national research objectives and lifelong learning, within higher education.
  • the rapid transfer of new network services and applications into the commercial marketplace, thereby improving production Internet services to all members of the academic community.

Membership currently stands at over 100 member universities, affiliated members (such as NCSA, NYSERnet), a number of federal agencies, and many of the leading computer and telecommunications firms, including IBM, Cisco Systems, AT&T, MCI, and Sun. The first general meeting was held in San Francisco in January, and in February President Clinton announced his intention to designate Ken Kennedy, Director of the CRPC at Rice, as Co-Chairman of the Advisory Committee on High-Performance Computing and Communications, Information Technology, and the Next Generation Internet.

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