NSF Grant Will Spur Collaboration for Internet Tools, Information and Protocols
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The beauty of the Internet is also a beast. The Internet is a global network of networks--mostly private, and often competing among themselves. While the diffuse structure of the Internet is one of its strengths, the competitive environment has made collaboration on operational and engineering requirements difficult, and has made research on the metrics of the Internet virtually impossible.
To help address these concerns, the National Science Foundation (NSF) recently awarded a seed grant of more than $3.1 million over three years to the University of California, San Diego to establish the Cooperative Association for Internet Data Analysis (CAIDA). The association is aimed at promoting a more robust, scalable Internet infrastructure. CAIDA will foster engineering and technical collaborations among Internet providers, vendors and user groups.
"CAIDA will provide a neutral forum for competing interests to work together," said Tracie Monk, CAIDA director of external affairs.
"As the Internet was evolving, statistics about the NSFNET, the major backbone, were readily available. And operational standards were set through a collaborative 'Request for Comments' process. Now that the Internet has grown into a competitive, commercial environment, modes of collaboration must also change."
CAIDA is a spinoff of the NSF-supported National Laboratory for Applied Network Research (NLANR). Based at UCSD, NLANR involves the five NSF-backed supercomputing centers and supports the very high performance Backbone Network Service (vBNS). CAIDA and NLANR will continue to collaborate. CAIDA's focus will be on the commercial sector and on transferring to industrial use many of the new tools and technologies being developed by NLANR and other research institutions. CAIDA's initial goals include:
"Commercial organizations recognize the critical need to work cooperatively with public and private industry in order to advance the state of the Internet," said Ed Kozel, chief technical officer, Cisco Systems. Cisco (a leading provider of networking hardware and software for the Internet) recently pledged $150,000 to support a CAIDA taxonomy of available Internet measurement tools. Sun Microsystems and other leading technology vendors are also in the process of donating systems to be used in the next generation Internet Protocol (Ipv6), caching and other research endeavors.
"The continued stability and usefulness of the Internet relies on the development of advanced technologies to keep pace with the Internet's growth and evolution," said David Staudt, NSF program officer. "A non-profit is an effective, non-threatening way to collaborate on a global scale."
The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering. In fiscal year (FY) 2017, its budget is $7.5 billion. NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and other institutions. Each year, NSF receives more than 48,000 competitive proposals for funding and makes about 12,000 new funding awards.
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