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Thursday, January 26, 2006

GENI : The 350Million Dollar Dream

Seldom do I get the time & patience to look at projects in the academia( no disrespect meant – its just that I do not find the time to look at them – being choked in the commercial world for a long time!!) –Some friends shared the information about the new internet related efforts. The GENI (Global Environment for Network Investigations ) is an experimental facility being planned by the NSF (with an outlay in excess of 350 million US$), in collaboration with the research community works with the goal o enable the research community to invent and demonstrate a global communications network and related services that will be qualitatively better than today's Internet. The belief is that if the Internet is going to deliver increasing value to society, then experimental facilities that allow the research community to address new threats, exploit emerging technologies, enable new applications, and foster the embedding of the network throughout the physical world needs to be fostered.

The draft conceptual document released recently highlights the limitations of the current internet:

-The Internet is not secure - with worms, viruses, and denial of service attacks, and there exists enough reasons to worry about massive collapse, due either to natural errors or malicious attacks. Problems with “phishing” have prevented institutions such as banks from using email to communicate with their customers. Trust in the Internet is eroding.

- The current Internet cannot deliver to society the potential of emerging technologies such as wireless communications. Even as all of our computers become connected to the Internet, we see the next wave of computing devices (sensors and controllers) rejecting the Internet in favor of isolated “sensor networks”.

- The Internet does not provide adequate levels of availability. The design should be able to deliver a more available service than the telephone system. In particular, it should meet the needs of society in times of crisis by giving priority to critical communications.

- The design of the current Internet actually creates barriers to economic investment and enhancement by the private sector. A large number of specific problems with the Internet today have their roots in an economic disincentive, rather than a technical lack
Besides highlighting a few more limitations, the report points out that these limitations are deeply rooted in the design of the Internet. It is easy to overlook them because of the astonishing success of the Internet to this point. we may be at an inflection point in the social utility of the Internet, with eroding trust, reduced innovation, and slowing rates of uptake.

While the current looks like this, the future Internet must enable and encourage:
- A world where mobility and universal connectivity is the norm, in which any piece of information is available anytime, anywhere.
- A world where more and more of the world’s information is available online—a world that meets commercial concerns, provides utility to users, and makes new activities possible. A world where we can all search, store, retrieve, explore, enlighten and entertain ourselves.
- A world that is made smarter—safer, more efficient, healthier, more satisfactory—by the effective use of sensors and controllers.
- A world where we have a balanced realization of important social concerns such as privacy, accountability, freedom of action and a predictable shared civil space.
- A world where “computing” and “networking” is no longer something we “do”, but a natural part of our everyday world. We no longer use the Internet to go to cyber-space. It has come to us. A world where these tools are so integrated into our world that they become invisible. Good project worth monitoring for progress.

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Sadagopan's Weblog on Emerging Technologies, Trends,Thoughts, Ideas & Cyberworld
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