Find out what was trending this year at #QuiltinSoCal

The Quilt returned to the La Jolla Shores Hotel and La Jolla Beach and Tennis Club in California on Feb. 6-8 for its 2018 Winter Member Meeting. Let’s see what was trending this year …

R&E networks ready for Winter Member Meeting in La Jolla

The Quilt will be returning to the La Jolla Shores Hotel and La Jolla Beach and Tennis Club in California on Feb. 6-8 for its 2018 Winter Member Meeting.

Overview

The Quilt will be holding its annual Winter Member Meeting at our traditional venue in La Jolla. We are looking forward to this in-person gathering of our national Quilt community and stakeholders to learn and share with one another in order to collectively advance networking for research and education.

We have many exciting conversations and topics planned for you this year. We also have provided time between sessions for working lunch meetings and other networking opportunities. View Agenda.

Highlights & Opportunities

This year’s event kicks off with in-person meetings of our Quilt working groups as well as our Quilt Board of Directors. We’ll wrap up the day with a networking event.

On Day 2, we start the day with various breakfast opportunities including our general breakfast gathering, our Quilt newcomers breakfast, the Carahsoft-sponsored breakfast for the Quilt VMware Program, and our Global NOC Users Group breakfast. The meeting’s general session begins at 8:30 a.m. with a highlight of the meeting which is our plenary panel on “Networks — Human and Telecommunications — in the CENIC Context: Perspectives from CENIC Charter Associates.” Other highlights include an Overview of Middle and Last Mile Wireless Access Solutions – Feasibility and Policy Considerations; Quilt Member Lightning Talks; National Broadband Policy Update; REN Network Security Briefs; Briefings from our R&E Networking Colleagues to the North (BCnet and Cybera); E-Rate and Other National Policies and Programs Discussion; and our Advanced Networking Sampler. At 5:30 p.m., our Quilt meeting reception begins on the Garden Patio at the Shores Hotel.

Our dynamic program wraps up on Thursday with the NOAA N-Wave and RON Partner Breakfast followed by a round table discussion on friction-free networking for scientific research, a confluence of Quilt forums and a meeting of the InCommon Steward Program participants.

Questions?

We look forward to this week together every year in La Jolla. If you need further information about this year’s Winter Member Meeting, please contact Jennifer Griffin.

Social Media

Follow all conversations on social media using #QuiltinSoCal.

R&E Networks deliver high performance, open access to information

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) plans to vote on Dec. 14 to roll back provisions that prevent Internet Service Providers from blocking or slowing particular parts of the Internet in favor of others. This is the concept known as “net neutrality.”

There is concern that rolling back net neutrality protections will have a negative impact on access to information and services vital for our schools, community colleges, universities, health care institutions, and other members of the research and education community.

The Quilt is a national coalition of Research and Education Networks, or RENs. The Quilt has always been and remains committed to supporting the missions of our member networks and will continue working to support the efforts of RENs to ensure that open access delivery models remain available to all stakeholders. Essential to our members are the concepts of transparency and control. As nonprofits, RENs are governed by boards and advisory committees made up of constituents who set the policies that determine how services are delivered. RENs do not block or discriminate against any legal applications or content traversing their networks and provide their user communities with operational visibility.

RENs are committed to making all of the Internet available to all users, and use a number of techniques to ensure the Internet performs well for users and does not limit access to services and content they desire. The Quilt conducts a rigorous RFP process to choose qualified vendors of Internet service that includes assurances that the full Internet is accessible, service is reliable, and prices are low. The Quilt’s 2018 Commodity RFP schedule and key milestones can be found here. Additional information and details are available in this announcement.

RENs also make direct “peering” connections with content providers where large amounts of traffic are exchanged. RENs and Internet2 also expand their peering capabilities with additional peering arrangements available through their networks. Additionally, content distribution networks operated by Akamai, Netflix and others are hosted inside REN networks to improve performance and access. It is this comprehensive, cost-conscious approach to maintaining great networking performance, reliability, and access that make RENs so special.

When the R&E community originally built the Internet, the principle of a free and open network was a key component to the innovation and evolution that led to the Internet as we know it today. Without it, we could not have created a network community of equals across different disciplines among the private and public sector worldwide. It is clear any change to that fundamental principle will change inter-networking which is why our primary focus is to make sure that the research and education community participates in a global Internet in an unrestricted capacity for all innovators.

#QuiltinABQ Recap: Trending conversations from 2017 Fall Member Meeting

Thank you for joining us in Albuquerque for the 2017 Fall Member Meeting. Building on the success of the colocation of Fall 2015 and 2016 events, this year’s Fall Member Meeting also coincided with the National Science Foundation Campus Cyberinfrastructure and Cybersecurity Innovation for Cyberinfrastructure PI Workshop and the ESnet Site Coordinators Committee Fall Meeting (ESCC).

Some of the best networking minds in the country gathered in the southwest desert for some exciting discussions on how R&E networks are uniquely positioned to meet today’s infrastructure challenges to support researchers in their scientific discovery. Thank you once again to Quilt Member, the University of New Mexico Albuquerque GigaPoP, or UNM-ABQG for inviting us to New Mexico.

This was one of our most dynamic programs to date! The meeting started off with an impressive plenary from Dr. Raymond Newell of Los Alamos National Laboratory on cybercryptography followed by excellent regional cyberinfrastructure collaborations panels from Texas and New Mexico to support scientific discovery. Additional highlights include plenaries from Jack Brassil of the National Science Foundation and Louis Fox from CENIC, and panel discussions showcasing our R&E networking communities collaborative approach to cyberinfrastructure workforce development, connecting public libraries, and others.

Below we have captured and curated many of the social media conversations that were happening throughout the event. We hope you enjoy this recap and the information provided, and we’ll see you again on Feb. 6–8, 2018 for our 2018 Winter Member Meeting in La Jolla, Calif.

2017 Fall Member Meeting sets sights on ABQ

Our 2017 Fall Member Meeting is only a few weeks away, and we have a great program lined up for Quilt members, affiliates and guests inside the Hyatt Regency – Downtown Albuquerque on Oct. 3-5 in New Mexico.

At the invitation of our Quilt member, the University of New Mexico Albuquerque GigaPoP, or UNM-ABQG, The Quilt is very excited to have our community gather in the desert southwest to learn, share, and collectively advance networking for research and education. Building on the success of the colocation of Fall 2015 and 2016 events, this year’s Fall Member Meeting also coincides with the National Science Foundation Campus Cyberinfrastructure and Cybersecurity Innovation for Cyberinfrastructure PI Workshop and the ESnet Site Coordinators Committee Fall Meeting (ESCC).

Some of the best networking minds in the country will be gathered all in one place for some exciting discussions on how R&E networks are uniquely positioned to meet today’s infrastructure challenges to support researchers in their scientific discovery.

The draft program agenda for The Quilt Fall Member Meeting is available here. Highlights include a joint networking reception, plenaries on Quantum Cryptography, cyberinfrastructure investments, discussions on regional research platforms and scaling a national research platform with additional highlights from the first NRP Workshop in Montana this summer, US UCAN and Quilt member collaborations on the Institute of Museum and Library Science (IMLS) Grant and Toolkit, advanced networking and big data, Science DMZs, lightning talks, cybersecurity, and more.

This is one of our most dynamic programs to date! We are looking forward to the opportunity to bring all these groups together, and thank you once again to our Quilt member UNM-ABQG for inviting us to Albuquerque.

For workshop logistics and registration, please contact Tracey Norris at tracey@thequilt.net
You can follow the conversation now and throughout the meeting using #QuiltinABQ or @TweettheQuilt.

We look forward to seeing you ABQ!

Humans and technology intersect at NRP Workshop

The first National Research Platform (NRP) Workshop is happening next month and The Quilt is excited and looking forward to discussing and learning more about our potential role in developing a national big data superhighway.

The NRP workshop will be held at Montana State University in Bozeman, Montana on Aug. 7 and Aug. 8. The purpose is to bring together representatives from interested institutions to discuss implementation strategies for deployment of interoperable Science DMZs at a national scale. This workshop is sponsored by the National Science Foundation through the Pacific Research Platform and Montana State University, and CENIC.

The National Science Foundation funded a 5-year cooperative agreement for the Pacific Research Platform (PRP) to improve the end-to-end, high-speed networking data transfer capabilities in collaborative, big-data science among 20 institutions. As part of the PRP cooperative agreement, NSF requires that the ensemble of PRP technologies be extensible across other scientific domains and to other regional and national networks. In response to this requirement, the NRP Workshop will solicit input from many multi-state networking organizations (Internet2, The Quilt, ESnet and others) on how the PRP model might further blossom.

Sessions will be devoted to science-driver application researchers describing their needs for high-speed data transfer, including their successes and frustrations. Discussions will focus on requirements from the domain scientists and the networking architecture, policies, tools and security necessary to deploy a 200-institution National Research Platform. All participants will be encouraged to ask questions and share their thoughts during these discussions. View the impressive line-up of speakers and experts.

The NRP is committed to facilitating the necessary social engineering among a diverse group of science, R&E network and IT leaders as well as provide proven end-to-end networking. An effective national partnership will need cyberinfrastructure experts working with scientists at their interface and understanding the desired scientific outcomes, rather than viewing the technology as an end to itself. Identifying common functionality that can be leveraged between science applications to make the NRP partnership more efficient and effective and prioritize high-performance access to supercomputer centers is key.

Registration has closed as the event is at capacity. For information about future workshops or the latest PRP research, please join the PRP listserv. Any other questions, visit the FAQ section on the event website.

MCNC’s Mark Johnson joins FCC’s Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee Working Group

The Quilt, a national coalition of advanced U.S. regional networks for research and education (R&E), and MCNC, the non-profit owner and operator of the North Carolina Research and Education Network (NCREN), today announced that MCNC Chief Technology Strategist Mark Johnson will represent the national R&E networking community on a new Working Group within the Federal Communication Commission’s Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee (BDAC).

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 to enhance the FCC’s ability to carry out its responsibility to encourage broadband deployment to all Americans.

The FCC announced two BDAC Working Groups this week, and Chairman Pai appointed Johnson to serve as a member of the Removing State and Local Regulatory Barriers Working Group, which is a 25-member group chaired by Robert DeBroux, Director of Public Policy and Federal Regulatory Affairs at TDS Telecom and full member of the Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee. The other BDAC Working Group announced this week will focus on Competitive Access to Broadband Infrastructure. Another two BDAC Working Groups were announced earlier this month.

“I’m honored to represent The Quilt and MCNC with this appointment, and I look forward to working with my fellow group members to find ways to best deploy connectivity solutions and advanced broadband Internet into rural areas,” Johnson said. “I’m delighted that the R&E networking community will have a voice on this critical issue, and I look forward to getting to work.”

The full BDAC held its first public committee meeting on Friday, April 21.

The schedule for the new BDAC Working Groups has yet to be determined.

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. He also is a founding board member of The Quilt, a former board chairman, and currently serves as its vice chair.

The Quilt offers guidance on NSF cyberinfrastructure future plans

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has made cyberinfrastructure a central theme in its plans for developing and delivering tools to enhance scientific discovery.

This year, between January and April, the NSF sought input from the research community on science challenges and associated cyberinfrastructure needs over the next decade and beyond. The federal agency was looking for bold, forward-looking ideas to help advance the frontiers of science and engineering over the next decade and beyond (NSF CI 2030). This activity also recognized that researchers in varying disciplines may need different resources; may have differing priorities for access, interoperability, and continuity; and may require external expertise to address the most critical problems in their specific disciplines.

Please refer to Dear Colleague Letter (DCL) NSF 17-31 for full background information on this activity.

What is Cyberinfrastructure?

Cyberinfrastructure was first used by the NSF to describe research environments that support advanced data acquisition, data storage, data management, data integration, data mining, data visualization and other computing and information processing services distributed over high-speed networks beyond the scope of a single institution. It is classified as a technological and sociological solution to the problem of efficiently connecting laboratories, data, computers, and people to find that next great innovation or discovery.

In 2009, NSF undertook a community-informed analysis of cyberinfrastructure needs that led to the formulation of a vision, strategy, and set of initiatives entitled Cyberinfrastructure for 21st Century Science and Engineering (CIF21). Since that analysis, many changes have taken place in terms of scientific challenges and opportunities as well as technological progress. To continue capitalizing on the potential provided by cyberinfrastructure to advance science and engineering research, the NSF is beginning to formulate an updated strategy in 2017 as well as concrete plans for future investments in this area.

The NSF Cyberinfrastructure Special Report offers more in-depth presentations on cyberinfrastructure.

The Quilt Contribution

The Quilt has provided a response to the NSF’s Request for Information on Future Needs for Advanced Cyberinfrastructure to Support Science and Engineering Research (NSF CI 2030).

Regional research and education (R&E) networks play a critical role in providing the underpinning fabric that makes possible local, regional, national, and global collaborations using advanced cyberinfrastructure. As a non-profit consortium representing 36 regional R&E networks nationwide, The Quilt has a collective mission to support all science and engineering fields and their research challenges.

Decades of success since the initial funding of regional networks by the NSF have taught us that the geography of resources is a significant factor in supporting research pursuits and scientific discoveries. In several of its current cyberinfrastructure programs, NSF has recognized that coordination of specific cyberinfrastructure activities are most effectively coordinated at the regional level by organizations that are frequently best positioned to foster and enable collaboration across a number of boundaries and serve to maximize NSF investments for the greatest good.

These networks provide scientific researchers with the network paths and bandwidth they need to move data as well as access remote and virtualized advanced cyberinfrastructure. The networks are engineered to support high-quality services that are consistent to researchers independent of the field of study, the number of users on the network, or the number of collaborators and collaboration sites. These organizations provide a sophisticated level of network services.

The Quilt believes the following advancements in the development, deployment, and utilization of advanced cyberinfrastructure will be a key part of an ongoing national strategy to address scientific and engineering research challenges. In the RFI submission, The Quilt outlines and describes six specific technical advancements in cyberinfrastructure that must be addressed …

  1. Keeping pace with network capacity demands
  2. Distributed, federated computing with shared resource
  3. Hybrid commercial/private cloud services for research
  4. End-to-end performance of research flows
  5. Cyberinfrastructure security
  6. Development and sustainability of a diverse cyberinfrastructure workforce

*Download and view the PDF of The Quilt’s full RFI response issued out of the NSF website.

Investing in Cyberpractioners

Preliminary investments in programs that support development of “cyberpractitioner” roles at the campus and regional levels has had meaningful impact for those researchers fortunate enough to have access to these individuals. Nationally, we are just now gaining insights into the benefits of cyberpractioners on the research process with their ability to bring to bear additional research resources and tools for scientific discovery.

The Quilt affirms that the next area of focus should be the scalability and sustainability of these roles within the country’s advanced cyberinfrastructure ecosystem by creating opportunity for longer-term career paths. This will encourage these specialized individuals to remain in their field of work as they mature in these positions while also encouraging a new set of professionals to enter in these roles in the future.

Next Steps

NSF has supported advanced computing since its beginning and continues to expand access to these resources. This access helps tens of thousands of researchers each year – from high-school students to Nobel Prize winners – expand the frontiers of science and engineering, regardless of whether their institutions are large or small, or where they are located geographically. By combining superfast and secure networks, cutting-edge parallel computing and analytics, advanced scientific instruments and critical datasets across the country, the NSF’s cyber-ecosystem lets researchers investigate questions that can’t otherwise be explored.

According to NSF, the contributions and ideas collected across the country last quarter will be used this year to inform NSF’s updated strategy and plans for advanced cyberinfrastructure investments.

All submissions made to NSF will be made available on the following website: http://www.nsfci2030.org.

(Image credit: Visualization of 3-D Cerebellar Cortex model generated by researchers Angus Silver and Padraig Gleeson from University College London. The NeuroScience Gateway was used for simulations.)

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).