The Quilt recommends MCNC’s Mark Johnson to FCC advisory committee

The Quilt has nominated MCNC Chief Technology Strategist Mark Johnson to serve on the Federal Communication Commission’s new Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee (BDAC) as a representative of the national research and education (R&E) networking community.

In January, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai announced the formation of this new federal advisory committee that will provide advice and recommendations for the commission on how to accelerate the deployment of high-speed Internet access. The BDAC is intended to provide a means for stakeholders with interests in this area to exchange ideas and develop recommendations, which will in turn enhance the FCC’s ability to carry out its responsibility to encourage broadband deployment to all Americans.

According to reports, approximately 380 nominations have been submitted for this committee with 17 seats available. The FCC intends to establish the BDAC for two years, with an expected starting date this spring.

The role of R&E networks in delivering advanced broadband Internet access for education, research and other community anchor institutions while also working to evolve the technology of the Internet itself provides an important perspective for the committee as it contemplates how to remove barriers to deployment.

The Quilt President and CEO Jen Leasure explained that because R&E networks like MCNC were established to meet the specialized needs of academic research in higher education institutions. The experience they have is particularly valuable for informing FCC policy for gigabit networks and beyond.

“Our country’s research and education networks and Mr. Johnson are well-positioned to contribute decades of leadership and experience in the deployment, management, engineering and operations of advanced Internet technologies at the local, state, regional and national levels,” wrote Jen Leasure in a letter of recommendation to Chairman Pai. “As independent, non-profit network builders and operators, R&E networks hold an invaluable role in this country’s broadband landscape that provides them with a unique perspective to contribute to discussions about removing barriers to broadband deployment.”

MCNC is a technology nonprofit that builds, owns and operates the North Carolina Research and Education Network (NCREN). MCNC has deployed fiber in 82 of 100 North Carolina counties and serves anchor institutions in all 100 counties on this vast, 2,600-mile network. MCNC also is committed to creating a market for dark fiber in the state to facilitate ubiquitous, gigabit residential broadband.

Johnson’s career encompasses 30 years of leadership experience in the management, engineering, and operations of Internet technologies. During his tenure at MCNC he has been responsible for operating a private microwave network and for a variety of fiber network technologies as a customer and constructor. North Carolina’s varied geography and mix of urban and rural communities means he has encountered all types of technical and regulatory obstacles in broadband technology deployment. And, Johnson has successfully worked with all types of entities in the broadband technology landscape to address these obstacles.

“The BDAC will be important in that it will advise the FCC on impediments to deploying advanced broadband Internet in rural areas,” said Johnson. “It’s important for MCNC and many of the country’s R&E networks because this is a strategic issue for us, and we want a voice in how those issues are framed. All of The Quilt members are pressing for better broadband to some degree, and it is also a critical issue for education so that everyone has access and connectivity.”

Johnson has received support from The Quilt as well as from many members of The Quilt who have written letters of recommendation. Internet2 has submitted a letter on his behalf and well as the North Carolina Wireless Research Center. N.C. Secretary of Commerce Tony Copeland has endorsed his nomination as well as Internet pioneer Jane Patterson and Joanne Hovis from the Coalition for Local Internet Choice (CLIC).

Mark is a founding board member of The Quilt, is a former board chairman, currently serving as its vice chair.  Mark is also a founding board member of the Schools, Health, and Libraries Broadband (SHLB) Coalition, a nonprofit, advocacy organization that supports open, affordable, high-capacity broadband connections for anchor institutions and their surrounding communities. If selected, he will represent the interests and missions of The Quilt research and education network community as a whole and is willing and available to serve a two-year term on the committee as well as participate as a member of any subcommittee(s).

Don’t miss VMware breakfast at Winter Member Meeting

If you are attending the The Quilt 2017 Winter Member Meeting in La Jolla, there will be a VMware-sponsored breakfast on Wednesday, Feb. 8 (7 to 8:15 a.m.) in the La Jolla Room at the La Jolla Shores Hotel.

Tim Boltz and Martin Gavin from Carahsoft will be there to answer any questions you may have regarding VMware or Carahsoft. We also will be discussing The Quilt’s exciting new VMware Convenice Pricing Program and the Carahsoft team will be doing an overview of:

  • Contract successes
  • Member savings and value
  • How can your members can gain access to this contract and all of its benefits
  • FAQs

Limited space is available. Please contact Jennifer Griffin to reserve a spot. This will be an excellent opportunity to meet the Carahsoft team so please consider participating!

Follow all conversations on social media during the Winter Member Meeting using #WMM17.

Quilt offers ESnet Science Engagement Workshop at #WMM17

The Quilt will be returning to the La Jolla Shores Hotel and La Jolla Beach and Tennis Club in California on Feb. 7-9 for its Winter Member meeting. Among the many exciting conversations and topics of interest that week will be the ESnet Science Engagement Workshop for Regional Networks on Thursday, Feb. 9 (9 a.m. to 3 p.m.) inside the La Jolla Room at the La Jolla Shores Hotel (separate registration required).

The Energy Sciences Network (ESnet) provides network connectivity and services for DoE/SC Labs to communicate with science collaborators around the world. To support this mission, ESnet conducts regular reviews of network requirements to determine the current and future science communication and collaboration needs for numerous communities. The purpose of these reviews is to accurately characterize the near-term, medium-term and long-term network requirements of the science being performed. This approach brings about a network-centric understanding of the science process used by the researchers and scientists, without asking technical questions directly, and derives network requirements from that understanding.

The goal of this interactive workshop outlines a process that can be adopted by members of the R&E networking community to advance the mission of science engagement and fully realize the investments made in networking and personnel by agencies such as the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science and the National Science Foundation.

Presenting Team

  • Jason Zurawski, Science Engagement Engineer, ESnet (lead)
  • Kevin Thompson, Program Director, National Science Foundation
  • Steve Diggs, Data Curation/Cyberinfrastructure, Scripps Institution of Oceanography
  • Jennifer Schopf, Director of International Networking, Indiana University

Topics

The topics of this workshop focus on the intersection of research and technology, in particular the use of high-speed networks. Specifically, the purpose of science engagement; overview of an outline for a case study approach to gather scientific requirements (documentation, meeting preparation); and a live example of how to conduct an in-person review to characterize needs with a visiting scientific group. View the Draft Agenda.

Who Should Attend?

Regular participants in The Quilt and the cyberinfrastructure engineering community are encouraged to attend, participate, and help define a strategy to encourage growth of scientific understanding and support.

Limited space is available. Please contact Jennifer Griffin if you have any additional questions!

Follow all conversations on social media during the Winter Member Meeting using #WMM17.

The Quilt converges in SoCal to kick off 2017

The Quilt will be returning to the La Jolla Shores Hotel and La Jolla Beach and Tennis Club in California on Feb. 7-9 for its 2017 Winter Member Meeting.

Registration & Overview

If you have not yet registered, online registration is available. Click here.

Two hotel choices are offered – The La Jolla Shores Hotel and The La Jolla Beach and Tennis Club. These properties are adjoining properties and are a short walk between one another. The main Quilt Member Program will be held in the La Sala room at the La Jolla Beach and Tennis Club.

We are looking forward to the many exciting conversations and topics of interest this year. View the agenda. We also have provided time between sessions for working lunch meetings and other networking opportunities.

Highlights & Opportunities

  • Networking CEO Round Table – closed meeting (Tuesday, Feb. 7 – 8 a.m.)
  • Member Beach Event by Quilt CIS Program Authorized Providers (Tuesday, Feb. 7 – 5:30 p.m.)
  • VMware Hosted Informational Breakfast (Wednesday, Feb. 8 – 7 a.m.)
  • CENIC/Scripps Institute program at Calit2/UCSD (Wednesday, Feb. 8 – 2:30 p.m.)
  • Member Reception at Birch Aquarium hosted by CENIC (Wednesday, Feb. 8 – 5:30 p.m.)
  • NOAA N-Wave and RON Partner Breakfast (Thursday, Feb. 9 – 7 a.m.)
  • Trifecta – Combined Working Group Meeting (Thursday, Feb. 9 – 8 a.m.)
  • ESnet Science Engagement Workshop (Thursday, Feb. 9 – 9 a.m.) – *registration required

The Trifecta – Combined Working Group Meeting

During the Quilt Fall Member Meeting a couple of independent conversations happened around getting a few working groups in the same room since we all have a stake in each other’s best practices. We have scheduled that opportunity on Thursday, Feb. 9 from 8 a.m. to noon.

Three of The Quilt’s working groups: Financial Focus Group, Communications and Outreach, and Services, will be coming together to discuss areas of common and interdependent interest and tap into the wider group experience and expertise. This is an opportunity for members of these working groups and other Quilt member staff to exchange experiences and ideas on process, strategies, financial exercises, and key decision making approaches that can ultimately be developed and replicated within The Quilt R&E networking community.

Participants are encouraged to participate and help define a strategy that can be used to leverage programs and services across our community. Joe Sawasky, President and CEO of Merit Network, also will be presenting on the Merit Digital Collaboration Tool: Merit Commons.

Questions?

Please contact Jennifer Griffin if you have any questions at this year’s Winter Member Meeting.

Social Media

Follow all conversations on social media using #WMM17.

 

UEN, Quilt Members converge in Utah for SC16 Conference

Every November, thousands of researchers and industry representatives in high-performance computing and related fields, such as advanced networking, data storage, and data analysis, meet for the annual Supercomputing Conference (SC16) to learn about HPC and scientific applications and innovations from around the world.

This year’s conference, with the theme “HPC Matters,” took place Nov. 13-18 in Salt Lake City, Utah. This annual event previously was held in Salt Lake City in 2012.

Quilt Members once again were an integral part of the annual event through demonstrations, booths, presentations and building SCinet. Quilt members joined many from the international supercomputing community, essentially a gathering of scientists, engineers, researchers, educators, programmers, system administrators and developers that is unequaled in the world.

The internationally-recognized technical program included presentations, papers, informative tutorials, timely research posters and Birds-of-a-Feather sessions. A 515,000 square-foot exhibition hall featured the latest technologies and accomplishments from the world’s leading vendors, research organizations and universities, offering the first opportunity for attendees to learn about the technologies that will shape the future of large-scale technical computing and data-driven science.

The Salt Palace Convention Center during the event also turned into the home to the fastest, most innovative computer network in the world during SC16 conference.  SCinet, the high-performance, experimental network built specifically for the conference, offers an unprecedented amount of bandwidth within the conference exhibit hall and connecting the convention center to the broader Internet.

Partnering with Quilt Member Utah Education Network (UEN) and CenturyLink, SCinet provided more than 5 Tbps of internal network bandwidth, along with tens of 100 Gbps Ethernet circuits to bring 3.15 Tbps of Wide Area Network bandwidth to the convention center. UEN guided this collaboration with national and international research and education networks and commodity Internet providers. More than 12,000 conference exhibitors and attendees relied on SCinet during SC16.

Listen to the UEN podcast on how Corby Schmitz and Gyongyi Horvath prepare for SC16.

If you or others from Quilt Member Institutions attended SC16, we would like to hear from you and your experience for a future blog. Please contact us or Tweet us @TweetTheQuilt.

FMM logoWe will have an extraordinary line-up of speakers and guests scheduled to participate this year at our annual event. Building on the success of the 2015 events held in Austin, Texas, The Quilt, National Science Foundation’s Campus Cyberinfrastructure and Cybersecurity Innovation for Cyberinfrastructure PI Workshop, and the ESnet Site Coordinators Committee once again will be co-locating their meetings with us this fall.

Our Fall Member Meeting agenda is shaping to be filled with exciting discussions and presentations.

We’re planning to begin our collocated program with the three groups by exploring the LIGO Gravitational Waves Detection and cyberinfrastructure support for LIGO with Peter Couvares of Syracure University followed by a panel discussion that focuses on the LIGO project, LIGO researchers and cyberinfrastructure required to support the research.

On Day 2, we’ll start with our opening plenary featuring Dr. Jim Kurose, assistant director of NSF computer and information science and engineering, followed by a panel discussion on national cybersecurity featuring CICI/CC* PIs, ESnet and other regional representatives discussing topics such as Science DMZ, medical research, and HIPAA compliance. Then we’ll converse on ways to help bridge the gaps in science engagement along with several other panel discussions throughout the day including statewide data transfer initiatives, integration of vertical member segments in a statewide/regional community, and a summary of the workshop report on the Role of the Regional in Improving Access to Computational Infrastructure. On Friday, we’ll continue with the topic of cybersecurity among others.

The agenda will continue to be updated here leading up to the event.

Thanks again to Quilt member KINBER for inviting us to Philadelphia for this year’s meeting.

You can follow the conversation now and throughout the meeting using #FMM16 or @TweettheQuilt.

We look forward to seeing you in October!

NSF cyberinfrastructure report aims to awaken potential of ‘sleeping middle’

The final report on the Role of Regional Organizations in Advancing the Computational Infrastructure has been submitted to the National Science Foundation with the goal to developing recommendations to assist regional organizations to leverage their work for the benefit of the research community as well as understand what actions, if any, are needed to achieve a radical shift across a diverse set of organizations to improve coordination of, access to and utilization of the national computational infrastructure.

There are many cyberinfrastructure organizations in the space between campuses and nationally-shared cyberinfrastructure facilities that enable use of advanced cyberinfrastructure in research. According to the contributors of this report (which included staff and several members of The Quilt), now is the time to harness the collective energies of these organizations and focus them on innovating CI infrastructure and expertise while also sharing those solutions on an intra- and inter-regional basis.

“The recommendations provided in this report are aimed at awakening the potential of the ‘sleeping middle’ of regional network/CI organizations to develop and enrich the national CI ecology,” as noted in the summary.

pdf-icon-1Download a copy of the full report.

The Role of Regional Organizations in Improving Access to the National Computational Infrastructure conference was held in Kansas City, Missouri, in October 2015. A total of 36 white papers were submitted in advance, and 39 individuals were in attendance. The majority of the participants were from academic institutions, and many also represented a state, regional or national organization with significant interest in improving access to the national computational infrastructure. Contributions by white paper authors and conference attendees are grouped into key thematic areas as presented in the report in addition to two sets of recommendations – core recommendations and recommendations for actions within specific communities.

The purpose of this project was to gain input from relevant organizations and to develop a set of recommendations to reinvigorate the state of advanced cyberinfrastructure and to lay the groundwork for a vibrant, healthy national computational cyberinfrastructure that brings together all the relevant players and is flexible enough to accommodate new developments. By carefully considering the information and choosing to implement the recommendations from this 34-page report, it may be possible to accomplish broad scale change across the cyberinfrastructure landscape in support of future computational and data-intensive science in the United States and beyond.

This work was funded by National Science Foundation Award No. 1543655 to Kansas State University. Gregory E. Monaco, Ph.D. Department of Psychological Sciences, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS, and the Great Plains Network. This replaces the Draft Report submitted in March 2016.

NTIA seeks input on new Community Connectivity Initiative

The National Telecommunications and Information Initiative (NTIA) will be hosting a nine-part webinar series in an effort to grow the Community Connectivity Initiative.

The webinars, taking place on the second Thursday of each month starting in July through March 2017, will support accelerated broadband access, improve digital inclusion, strengthen policies and support local priorities. These hands-on and interactive sessions will allow stakeholders the chance to have a say in the future growth of the initiative while identifying tools that could benefit communities in the present and future.

The planned discussion topics are as follows:

  • July 14: Initiative update and framework and assessment design discussion
  • Aug. 11: Initiative update and discussion of the report and recommended output
  • Sept. 8: Initiative update and recommendations discussion
  • Oct. 13: Initiative update and discussion on user support requirements
  • Nov. 10: Initiative update and evaluation discussion
  • Dec. 8: Initiative update and discussion of training requirements
  • Jan. 12: Initiative update and discussion of roll-out timeline
  • Feb. 9: Initiative update and communication discussion
  • March 9: Initiative update and next steps discussion

Admission is open to the public, although it is requested that participants pre-register for each webinar. Questions during the webinar may be sent to BroadbandUSA@ntia.doc.gov.  For more information about the webinars, how to register and the webinar topics, visit the Federal Registrar.

Additionally, NTIA has invited several thought leaders to Washington D.C. for a two-day design workshop to help complete the next level of detailed design for the Community Connectivity Framework, Online Assessment Tool, and Reports.

This event is invitation only and is scheduled for June 28-29.

The NTIA’s BroadbandUSA team is developing new tools to support communities working to accelerate broadband deployment, deepen broadband adoption, strengthen local policies, and use broadband to advance local priorities. The Community Connectivity Initiative design is based on the best practices and best thinking of leading practitioners in communities throughout the country. The program structure encourages continuous improvement, inviting community leaders to take stock of their current broadband assets, access, and applications, identify opportunities and next steps, and re-assess later. The goal is to support more communities as they develop local plans to increase access, adoption and use and to use common measures rooted in local practice to create a foundation for further investments in broadband.

For more about the initiative, visit http://www2.ntia.doc.gov/CCI