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[2009 Innovations in Networking Award Winners]

CENIC is delighted to announce the winners of its Innovations in Networking Awards for 2009. The awards are given annually by CENIC to highlight exemplary innovations that leverage the CalREN network, particularly where those innovations have the potential to revolutionize the way instruction and research are conducted.

The awards will be presented on March 10 at the Hilton Long Beach as part of a special noontime awards luncheon, and presentations by the awardees on their projects will follow.

This year's winners are:

Educational Applications: Alternate Endings
On September 15, 2008 as part of a showcase of high-bandwidth demonstrations using CalREN's experimental and high-performance networking tiers, an audience in the highly networked Atkinson Hall on the UC San Diego campus was treated to the remote premiere of Alternate Endings, a high-definition comedy-mystery movie that allows its audience to choose the direction of the plot through one of 16 separate paths. The movie itself, streamed from the Trojan Vision television studios in the Robert Zemeckis Center for Digital Arts, was merged at the various decision points with remote hosts located at USC's School of Cinematic Arts, and sent via CENIC's CalREN to the audience waiting 120 miles away in Atkinson Hall. Audience feedback was solicited by means of applause, sent back along the CalREN fiber-optic backbone to USC, and used to guide the characters' decisions. Characters' guilt, innocence, and even survival were determined by audience feedback, and the experience was a smashing success, with all technology performing flawlessly. A second viewing took place on December 10 at UCSD, with the same excellent audience experience ... but not the same outcome for the movie!

Gigabit/Broadband Applications: Redwood Coast Connect
The exhaustive Redwood Coast Connect study was carried out by Redwood Coast Rural Action, a regional network of community leaders in partnership with the California Emerging Technology Fund (CETF), with the aim of providing broadband providers, telecommunications carriers, service providers, elected officials, and any other interested parties with precisely the kind of hard data on people, places, and technology needed to propose and implement effective solutions to the unique networking challenges facing the rugged and often heavily forested California Redwood coast. By means of written community, online, telephone, and business mail-back surveys, the study examined factors influencing both supply and demand as well as broadband policy climate that could have an impact on any plans to provide the residents and businesses on the Redwood coast with broadband service. For those who would design or implement such plans, the insights gathered through Redwood Coast Connect will prove themselves invaluable.

Experimental/Developmental Applications: Project GreenLight
According to The Climate Group's Smart 2020 report released in June of last year, the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) industry's carbon footprint is equal to that of the airline industry. However, wise application of ICT across all sectors could create a reduction in our overall carbon footprint by as much as five times the ICT industry's own footprint. Such news sounds a call to action for everyone, but for researchers at Calit2, it's also a unique call to innovation. They have initiated Project GreenLight to discover creative ways to ensure that the next generation of data centers supports a sustainable lifestyle and that the research sectors that use them are aware of the issues surrounding carbon-thrifty computing. Not only will the hardware and software itself be studied to determine how best they can be optimized, but the equally crucial factors of cooling and structural engineering will be studied in depth along with applications from a myriad of data-intensive disciplines. Project GreenLight will also analyze how best to share the insights that will result to enable as many other researchers to benefit from them as possible.

High-Performance Research Applications: iWarp-Based Remote Interactive Scientific Visualization
Sending frame after frame of high-definition video reliably from one place to another, possibly located on another continent, is enough of a challenge to merit its own recognition. When the individual on the far end of the fiber-optic cable expects to rotate, grow or shrink, and otherwise manipulate the video images in real time and experience no latency, that challenge becomes even more daunting. And yet this is precisely what Scott Friedman of UCLA's Office of Information Technology achieved with with iWarp-Based Remote Interactive Scientific Visualization. As part of the project, cluster-based high-performance interactive visualization resources are available to remote researchers by leveraging the latest high-speed wide-area networking technologies. This was accomplished by extending the Infiniband-based visualization cluster with a 10Gbps iWarp-capable remote visualization bridge node. Remote users connect to this node, establishing an interactive visualization session. The system supports multiple, simultaneous high-definition (HD) quality interactive visualizations by sharing the capabilities of the back-end cluster.