UCAID is a collaborative effort by schools, industry and government to build a high-speed successor to the popular Internet which has become too busy and slow in moving large chunks of data.
The group has spawned Internet2 and Abilene that advances networking between campuses and corporation. The National Science Foundation is a major supporter of these projects. Jeffrey Huskamp, ECU's chief information officer, said he is delighted to join with the other campuses in the UCAID projects because its members represent the top research institutions in the nation. "Our involvement in UCAID will offer us new opportunities to collaborate with and participate in national initiatives and programs that were previously unavailable to us," he said.
Internet2, as it is being developed by UCAID, will allow scientists to share vast amounts of data, collaborate better across large distances and run complex equipment remotely. It is not an attempt to replace the existing Internet or build a new network service for general users The original Internet was developed by a Pentagon agency in 1969 and was used primarily by scientists on college and university campuses and government agencies.
Later it gained widespread popularity as individuals and organizations logged onto the vast network and created sites that supply information, conversation and the sale of products. Although the Internet, as most people know it, was satisfactory for scientists in earlier years, it has more recently become too crowded. For people in research and academic areas, it has become unpredictable in its availability and insufficient in the way it supports new scientific applications.
UCAID was formed in 1997 to manage the development of Internet2. The organization also assists other programs such as North Carolina Gigabit Point of Presence -- GigaPOP -- that assembles computer traffic into a single high-bandwidth link.
"It goes without saying that this represents another significant milestone for East Carolina University as we gain recognition and respect as a prime time player in the information technology arena," said Huskamp.
ECU developed its first data and video network on campus in 1983. In 1991, the school began the planning of a new and much more advanced network that included the installation of state-of-the-art ATM/fiber optic equipment. In the year of its completion, the network won the 1996 Consulting Engineers of South Carolina Award for design and became a national finalist in the American Consulting Engineering Council competition.
The ECU network is the largest ATM implementation in the University of North Carolina System. In 1998, the campus was ranked 25th among America's 100 Most Wired Colleges by Yahoo Internet Life Magazine. A total of 146 universities hold membership in UCAID. Other North Carolina campuses with UCAID memberships are N.C. State University, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Duke University and Wake Forest University.
ECU News Bureau