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CENIC logoFour groundbreaking projects that focus on the innovative use and expansion of high-performance networking were honored by the Corporation for Education Network Initiatives in California (CENIC), as recipients of the 2010 Innovations in Networking Awards.


Four awards are presented annually in the categories of Educational, Gigabit/Broadband, High-Performance Research, and Experimental/Developmental Applications. The awards are given annually by CENIC to highlight exemplary innovations that leverage ultra high-bandwidth optical networking, particularly where those innovations have the potential to revolutionize the ways in which instruction and research are conducted, or in the case of the Gigabit award, where they further the deployment of broadband in underserved areas.

The award presentation ceremony will take place at the CENIC 2010 Annual Conference: Full Speed Ahead in Monterey on March 8-10, 2010.

This year's winners include:

eTranscript California—Educational Applications:

eTanscript logoOne of the most significant advantages to a dedicated, owned, advanced network designed specifically for research and education is the freedom it affords the community to develop complex applications secure in the knowledge that the infrastructure will support them. One such application is eTranscript California, which provides secure, streamlined electronic transcript exchange for 53 post-secondary institutions including the California Community Colleges, California State University and many private and independent colleges. With a statewide transcript system in place, it is possible to translate large numbers of transcripts into national standards, track transcripts, combine transcripts into a single Composite Transcript, interface with high schools and conduct longitudinal studies on student success. Also, the California Community College Chancellor's Office estimates that the transcript-related costs for eTranscript California member colleges will drop from an average of seven dollars to less than fifty cents per transcript.

Rachelle Chong—Gigabit/Broadband Applications:

Closing the "digital divide" is a matter of great concern for California, where our rural population is larger than that of at least twenty entire states. The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) allocated $100 million over two years to the California Advanced Services Fund (CASF). The CASF provides incentives to companies to bring broadband service to unserved and underserved areas of California, many of which are rural, remote or socio-economically disadvantaged communities. As a CPUC Commissioner, and the commissioner assigned to the CASF proceeding, Rachelle Chong was instrumental in the creation of the CASF and defining workable processes for implementation.

Thanks to her leadership, current Special Counsel of Advanced Information and Communications Technologies for the Office of the State Chief Information Officer Chong has brought California closer to its ultimate goal of ubiquitous broadband services.

"Without a broadband pipe to provide access to the Internet, these unserved communities will become ‘digital have-nots'," said Chong. "Policymakers and corporate leaders across the nation have been talking about the importance of deploying broadband infrastructure for years, yet this critical infrastructure is not available throughout the state. It is time to stop talking and finish the job."


Enhancing Student Exchange Experiences with High Definition Videoconference—High-Performance Research Applications:


SCSD logoMonash University in Australia and the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) have added high-definition (HD) videoconferencing to their respective exchange programs, enabling transformative experiences for students and faculty that would not otherwise have been possible. HD video allows mentors at UCSD to attend final student seminars that are presented both to audiences at Monash and their mentors at UCSD concurrently. Thus, they receive feedback from both Monash and UCSD mentors, significantly enhancing the outcomes of their internship. Likewise, Monash students at UCSD present final seminars back to their mentors in Australia while presenting to a local audience at UCSD. Monash University’s program goes a step further by adding an advanced seminar scheme in which students attend seminars given by world leading experts before they depart Australia. The seminar scheme is novel, because it makes it feasible to attract some of the world's best researchers "virtually" to Monash.

Monash's Chancellor, Dr Alan Finkel, wrote recently of his experience attending one of these seminars, "I've participated in numerous videoconferences to date but nothing like this. The quality was so high that the experience was almost as if we were all in the same room."


Scalable Energy-Efficient Data Centers—Experimental/Developmental Applications:

CIAN logoOne of the most interesting and potentially revolutionary outcomes of the development of the Internet is the ability gained by every person on Earth to generate enormous amounts of data, a large portion of which must be stored in data centers. With major drivers such as Google and others entering this arena, the proliferation of data centers promises to challenge researchers developing models for interconnectivity, robustness, and sustainability. In response to this, a UCSD-led team of computer scientists and optical interconnection systems technologists in the Center for Integrated Access Networks (CIAN) is developing Scalable Energy Efficient Data Centers (SEED). SEED consists of novel optical interconnection technologies for a multi-stage network topology. The goal is to build SEED as an integrated solution encompassing physical layer hardware, protocols and topologies—while offering tomorrow's data centers greater scalability, bisectional bandwidth, fault tolerance and energy efficiency.


Also being recognized with the 2010 Outstanding Individual Contribution award, is Tom West, former president of both CENIC and most recently, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of National LambdaRail (NLR). West has more than four decades of executive management experience in the research and higher education community. He has served as a small college president and a vice chancellor for administration for regional campuses in a public university system. West was the Chief Information Technology Officer (CITO) for 26 years at two large public university systems—Indiana University (1973-1981) and the California State University (1981-1999).

From March 1999 through June 2004, he served as the President and CEO for CENIC. He served as CEO for both CENIC and NLR from September 2003 through June 2004, a time of great expansion for CENIC. Both the company, and the communities it serves, benefited tremendously from his extraordinary vision and ability to turn that vision into reality. <>

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Janis Cortese is Manager of Publicity and Communications at CENIC.