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InfobITS logo, volume 7, number 1, spring 2001.

 

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TIP2001: Techs in Paradise High-Technology Meetings
by Ward Takamiya

The University of Hawaii (UH) played host earlier this year to 300-400 international Next Generation Internet / Internet2 engineers, leaders, and policymakers in a week-long series of meetings. Held at the Hawaii Imin Conference Center at the East-West Center (adjacent to the UH Manoa campus), these meetings literally bridged the gap between the East and West, with Hawaii at the hub of activity. Here, many Asia-Pacific countries joined together with the U.S. mainland and Western world to showcase the latest in networking technologies and to discuss the future of the Internet. The convenience of having all these different meetings in one place allowed participants, many who are members of different groups, to attend multiple meetings during the week.

The week began with featured speakers including Professor Jun Murai of Keio University, a man respectfully called "the father of the Internet in Japan;" Bill St. Arnaud, Director of Advanced Networking at Canada's CANARIE project, who discussed how Canada has become the international leader in advanced optical network deployment; and Dewayne Hendricks of the Dandin Group who spoke on how the radio spectrum could be more effectively used for advanced networking, along with his work toward advanced telecommunications for the Kingdom of Tonga.

The largest series of meetings was the APAN / TransPAC / NLANR / Internet2 (see below for acronyms) Techs Workshop, a.k.a. the Joint Techs. Started in 1998, the Joint Techs have been getting together and holding periodic national conferences of networking engineers. These conferences feature presentations, Birds-of-a-Feather (those with similar interests) meetings, and demonstrations of state-of-the-art high-performance networking technologies. Topics of interest included routing protocols, updates on network infrastructures, multilingual DNS, wireless network research, video over IP, Earth monitoring, and Ipv6 (a.k.a. the Next Generation Internet Protocol).

The MINC group held several meetings to discuss their charter to promote the "multilingualisation of Internet names, including Internet domain names and keywords, internationalization of Internet names standards and protocols, technical coordination and liaison with other international bodies." With high technology and the Internet growing worldwide, there must be a way to represent things such as domain names in foreign languages using a foreign character set. For example, how does one represent www.hawaii.edu in Chinese characters?

The APAN group held their specific meetings on February 1-2 and had on their agenda updates of the status of the APAN network, reports on the liaison relationships with the Internet2 and TransPAC groups, and committee reports.

The IEEAF group's goals are to accelerate the growth of educational collaboration over the Internet2 network to assist with teaching and learning.

The HIC group, which consists primarily of government offices and the University of Hawaii, are working together to share resources in Hawaii in order to reduce the overall costs of the state's networking infrastructure.

Logistical Considerations

photo of 
laptop bar u

The Information Technology Services (ITS) department at the UH was responsible for much of the local arrangements, including:

  • Acquiring the venue and assigning meeting spaces
  • Setting up the network (both wired and wireless) for use by the 300+ attendees
  • Handling Audio/Visual requirements (including setting up data projectors, videoconferences, speakerphones for teleconferences, and so forth)
  • Creating a "Laptop Bar" where attendees could have access to a network connection and power outlets or use an available desktop computer
  • Playing "concierge" for visitors who wanted to experience some local amenities

Though the Joint Techs handled their own registration and logistics for the first part of the week, the UH was entirely responsible for the APAN meeting. The UH handled registration, food, and transportation for the registrants, as well as lodging arrangements for some.

Outcomes

Though many issues were resolved during the week, without a doubt many more were born. Two notable outcomes that resulted from this conference include ITS Director David Lassner being appointed as a Co-Chair of an APAN committee and an overwhelming desire by the APAN members to return to Hawaii for its upcoming meeting in 2003.

Next year, the University of Hawaii is scheduled to play host to the World Wide Web Consortium's (W3C) WWW2002 Conference, with an expected draw of over 1,500 attendees. ITS already has experience with large conferences such as INET '95 and WebNet '99 and is confident in its ability to host next year's conference.

Interesting Observations

Here are some interesting and anecdotal observations made during the week:

Sessions started on SuperBowl Sunday! (Draw your own conclusions.)
Director David Lassner performed a hula at the opening Joint Techs reception.
A University of Michigan professor attending the conference was able to remotely teach his class one morning using an H.323 videoconferencing setup. His students were treated to live views of the UH Manoa campus and surrounding areas.
One group's member who couldn't make the trip to Hawaii from Japan joined part of its meeting via another videoconference setup.
Dozens of Ethernet drops, power outlets, and 10 desktop computers were available in a "Laptop Bar" where attendees could access the Internet and their e-mail.
Wireless users able to sit in the tranquil Japanese garden and check e-mail.
Some attendees sat on the steps outside the building and continued to use the wireless service after the day's events were done and the building was locked up.
Information Technology Services staff were able to help users with the network setup on their laptops, even though the computers had foreign character sets and the staff couldn't understand the language.
A wireless network of 14 Apple AirPort Base Stations were distributed around the East-West Center conference location, covering all meeting rooms as well as the dining rooms and areas immediately outside the perimeter of the building.
Approximately 1/3 of the attendees were using the wireless network at any given time.
Some individuals with laptops were observed having InternetPhone conversations in the hallways and dining areas (so as not to disturb any meetings) over the wireless network. Many laptop owners plugged in for power anywhere there was a spare outlet.
The APAN opening reception (hosted by Indiana University) was held at Kapiolani Community College and catered by the college's Culinary Arts school, drawing rave reviews from everyone.

Transportation arranged for the APAN meeting (and opening reception) were open-air trolleys that shuttled attendees between the Sheraton Waikiki Hotel and the East-West Center.

The only network outage experienced during the week was due to the caterer's coffee urn in the next room tripping a circuit breaker.
Groups were decidedly in favor of coming back to Hawaii for future meetings!

 


Meeting Acronyms

APAN, the Asia-Pacific Advanced Network, is a high-performance network for research and development on advanced applications and services and international collaboration.

ccTLD, the Country Code Top Level Domain managers, are responsible for naming of top-level domain names.

HIC, the Hawaii Intranet Consortium, is a consortium of government organizations (primarily U.S. Department of Defense) in Hawaii that work together to leverage infrastructure and reduce overall costs. Strategies include maximizing local peering and sharing high-bandwidth links where appropriate.

ICANN, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, is the non-profit corporation that was formed to assume responsibility for the IP address space allocation, protocol parameter assignment, domain name system management, and root server system management functions previously performed under U.S. Government contract by the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) and other entities.

IEEAF, the Internet Educational Equal Access Foundation, is a new non-profit foundation established to accelerate the growth of Internet2 and Next Generation Internetworking to enable and stimulate the rapid expansion of collaboration among educational institutions across the world.

Internet2 is a consortium being led by over 180 universities working in partnership with industry and government to develop and deploy advanced network applications and technologies, accelerating the creation of tomorrow's Internet.

MINC, the Multilingual Internet Names Consortium, is a non-profit, non-governmental, international organization. It focuses on the promotion of multilingualisation of Internet names, including Internet domain names and keywords, internationalization of Internet names standards and protocols, technical coordination and liaison with other international bodies.

NLANR, the National Laboratory for Applied Network Research, has a primary goal to provide technical, engineering, and traffic analysis support of NSF High Performance Connections sites and High-Performance Network Service Providers (HPNSP) such as the NSF/MCI very high performance Backbone Network Service (vBNS).

TransPAC is a high-bandwidth international Internet connection, connecting APAN to the U.S. to support a broad range of applications including astronomy, molecular biology, high energy physics, medicine, meteorology, visualization, and computational science.

 

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Updated: April 06, 2001