terena networking conference 2009

TNC day 4: Progress in mobile computing, identity federations and web services

11 June 2009
As the TERENA Networking Conference wound down to its fourth and final day, participants were treated to various presentations that illustrated how robust technology can result in more possibilities for mobile computing, identity federations and web services. read more

Session Highlights

The morning session on ’virtual people’ focused on issues related to identity federations. Although these are mostly well known, participants heard additional insights on what, how and why these issues can be handled. Authenticating users and providing trustworthy statements of their relevant attributes are critical to allowing the development of many other services in the future. For example, linking authentication systems across different layers of a network service could create a reliable distribution system for an artistic performance on demand, ensuring that only authorised viewers can see it and that the required network resources are reserved and monitored. Trusted attributes could also allow networks to determine the health of computers that request connection, so that insecure systems are able to get sufficient connectivity to make themselves secure without risking damage to the network or other users. Participants learned that a framework to support good practice in these areas is being developed.

An explanation of GEMBus rounded off this session. With his usual enthusiasm, Diego Lopez of RedIRIS showed how this future GÉANT service will allow users to consume and compose network services into applications, providing a seamless integration between the networking infrastructure and the services provided by NRENs and the whole research community.

In a session dedicated to support infrastructure, Simon Leinen of SWITCH presented the GN3 EduPERT activity, which facilitates the tracking down of end-to-end performance problems across multiple network domains using a variety of techniques. He outlined the challenges for PERTs (performance enhancement response teams) and highlighted why they are necessary.

Other sessions showed what mobile computing can offer in different working environments, such as video conferencing and video streaming on mobile hand-held devices and hand-held inertial guidance systems for indoor use where GPS or other positional based system are not available. Various presentations on the strengths and pitfalls of virtual networks were covered in sessions on virtual technology.

Closing plenary: web services

The various web services offered by Amazon.com were explained by Simone Brunozzi in the closing plenary session. He also revealed the cost saving benefits that cloud computing can offer those companies having to make large investments in network infrastructure equipment.

Amazon.com services are scalable so that you only use what you need which offsets any costs of over- or under-provisioning equipment. It also enables the subscriber to tailor the service to his/her requirements. Users have the flexibility to specify the platform of their choice, i.e. Windows, Linux, Oracle, etc. For example, the Harvard Medical School uses Oracle for simulation development.

Some of the questions posed by the audience included issues related to data and its storage and country-specific legislation governing these. In the case of cloud computing, the data is not necessarily stored in the country in which it was created. This could potentially lead to problems of ownership and privacy, among others. Victor Reijs of HEAnet, raised the issue that certain data sets are not allowed through the UK because UK laws are different to those in other countries. Mr. Brunozzi explained that data is confined to regions only, i.e. in Europe only or in US only. Participants also learned that the backup of servers and data is not provided by Amazon.com, but this can be easily achieved using the EBS system.


Archived video streams of all TNC presentations are available from http://tnc2009.terena.org/media/archive.php.

Most of the slides and some of the papers can be downloaded by clicking on the relevant session in the programme, at http://tnc2009.terena.org/schedule/.

TNC day 3: Problematic predictions about the near future

11 June 2009
The intricacies of planning a major research network and of understanding evidence for global climate change were the topics of the plenary session at TNC 2009 yesterday, Wednesday 10 June.

“Thanks for keeping our science in business by keeing the data flowing,” began Stefan Rahmstorf of Potsdam University. He presented an overview of evidence for anthropogenic climate change and said that recent observations show that earlier climate change predictions were too optimisitic. Even if we stopped emitting carbon dioxide tomorrow, atmospheric warming cannot be reversed, only slowed and possibly stopped, he said. read more

Concentrating just on the electricity supply, if we were to organise significantly large renewable energy sources in the most appropriate locations and connect them in a European supergrid, this would require a major social transformation, Stefan Rahmstorf said. “Social scientists tell us this kind of transformation can’t happen top-down.” It would need agents of change in society at all levels and governments would need to build on initiatives from different sectors. “Maybe you want to become one of those change agents,” Rahmstorf suggested, adding that the research networking community could play a significant role.

Predicting future networking needs

The networking needs of the climate modelling community are only just emerging, said fellow plenary speaker William E. Johnston, senior scientist with ESnet, the USA Energy Sciences Network. He explained the work that has been done to identify the networking implications of scientific instruments, supercomputers and processes, and to develop approaches to building a network environment that will enable the distributed aspects of science. He also detailed how ESnet investigated the plans of major stakeholders in order to predict requirements for capacity and services in the near future.

“ESnet is set to provide bandwidth and connectivity adequate for all known uses of the network, including the LHC [Large Hadron Collider], for the next several years”, William Johnston said. But he explained that plans for ESnet4 in 2012 were largely based on information gathered between 2003 and 2006, and “there’s increasing evidence that some parts of the science community have underestimated their bandwidth requirements”. It is possible that the USA-installed base of LHC analysis hardware will consume significantly more bandwidth than was originally estimated, and climate simulation data sets are now expected to grow exponentially faster than the planned capacity of ESnet, Johnston said: “so I think we’ll outgrow the current pattern by around 2015”.

Capacity well beyond the current projections is needed, as well as the flexibility to optimise use of available capacity. ESnet will need 100Gb/s waves, and is actively involved in the development and deployment of 100Gb/s per channel optical transport equipment and 100Gb/s routing equipment, with almost 60 million dollars of funding to build a testbed. He concluded that the US and pan-European networks should meet requirements for the next two years, but it’s important now to seek technology for the next generation of networks.

Sessions highlights

Technology and products were the focus of two sessions featuring presentations by TERENA’s industrial members. Topics ranged from technological aspects of the lightpath paradigm, presented by Jean-Marc Uze of Juniper Networks, to the world-wide infrastructure offered by Tata Communications, presented by Yves Poppe. Bart Van Aanholt of Level 3 Communications focused on the needs of national research and education networks (NRENs) for content distribution networks, asking NREN representatives in the room to give him answers rather than ask questions – an approach that led to lively discussions that were followed up at the exhibition booths.

NREN feedback was also sought during a session on the Internet Engineering Task Force. Participants first heard an overview of the IETF, how it works and how it would like more NREN involvement in its activities. The second presentation picked out the most pressing issues that NRENs could help with, related to IPv4 address space limits, routing, mobility and manageability. A debate followed, about why NRENs are currently not so involved. Contributors agreed there are several likely reasons: other fora are seen as more relevant; IETF participation means having to keep track of complex discussions and so costs time and money; and NRENs tend to focus on operational excellence rather than on research. It was suggested that hot topics and the need for standardisation in identity and trust issues could provide a stimulus for NREN involvement.

Identity and security

Identity federations were discussed in a session on ‘virtual people’, that started with a ground-breaking proposal for metadata distribution that would help simplify the problem of interconnecting federations and allowing the use of e-identity outside national boundaries. There followed a presentation on the hot topic of attribute adaptation with results available from the eduGAIN software developers. Finally, there was a discussion about the flip-side of federated single sign-on; federated single log-out. The distributed nature of the system makes single log-out extremely complex, and usability is as fundamental as security.

In a session on ‘vulnerabilities in future networks’, participants heard that helping people to behave safely on their home computers and networks may be the best way to improve security in the workplace as well. Criminals and competitors take advantage of peoples' trust to discover passwords and other confidential information, then use vulnerabilities in technology to widen their attack and increase their profit. Defending against such attacks requires vigilance by users as well as continued development of technical tools to detect and contain intrusions, along with effective plans to use these.

Content portals and support for services

A session on content portals featured a presentation of the SWITCHcast system for simplifying the process of making videos available, embedding them in other information objects, and accessing them once they are published. The second presentation introduced the concept of social networking to foster the management of scientific papers and references, which is not only useful to individual researchers, but also for analysing trends and impacts of their work.

Three solutions to the different and complex challenges of providing operational support for network services were presented in a session on support infrastructure. I-SHARe (Information Sharing across Heterogeneous Administrative Regions) is an operations management tool to support operations processes, which was started in the GN2 (GEANT2) project and is continuing in GN3. Following a demonstration of the cNIS (common network information system) earlier in the afternoon, more detail was presented in the session. cNIS is one of four tools within the GEANT network service delivery platform that enable the delivery of multi-domain services on top of the existing network infrastructure. The session closed with an explanation of a declarative approach to the complex problem of pathfinding in multi-layer, multi-domain (MLMD) networks.


Archived video streams of all TNC presentations are available from http://tnc2009.terena.org/media/archive.php.

Most of the slides and some of the papers can be downloaded by clicking on the relevant session in the programme, at http://tnc2009.terena.org/schedule/.

TNC closes with a playful invitation to visit Vilnius in 2010

11 June 2009
This year’s TERENA Networking Conference concluded today, Thursday 11 June, with a playful invitation for attendees to visit TNC in Vilnius, Lithuania. from 31 May to 3 June 2010.

Laimutis Telksnys of the Lithuanian research and education network LITNET presented a short film highlighting the city’s attractions, and participants of TNC 2009 received a picturesque puzzle-cube to take home as a reminder to attend next year. read more

Almost 500 participants attended TNC 2009 in Malaga, Spain, participating in numerous sessions, side meetings and informal 'birds of a feather' discussions. They saw demonstrations of telemedicine projects, the Common Network Information Service and of a project to recreate the music of ancient instruments. They also had the opportunity to meet sponsoring companies and the presenters of scientific posters, as well as to enjoy memorable social events and entertainments.

The 2009 TERENA Networking Conference was held at the University of Malaga and was hosted by the university and the Spanish national research network, RedIRIS. Local support was provided by Unicongress/Atlanta.

Sponsorship was provided by Telefonica, Telindus, Juniper Networks, Extreme Networks, Global Crossing, Cisco, Vidyo, Adva Optical Networking, Level 3 Communications, Ciena, Ekinops, Infinera, T-Systems, RedIRIS, University of Malaga, Andalucia and EMT.

TERENA's Vice President of Conferences, Miroslav Milinović chaired the closing session, thanking all contributors and participants, re-capping the key themes of the event and looking forward to next year's meeting.


Archived video streams of all TNC 2009 presentations are available from http://tnc2009.terena.org/media/archive.php.

Most of the slides and some of the conference papers can be downloaded by clicking on the relevant session in the programme, at http://tnc2009.terena.org/schedule/.

TNC day 2: Clouds forecast to reduce climate impacts of networking

10 June 2009
An invitation to participate in a green computing project was issued by Bill St. Arnaud of CANARIE during the TNC 2009 plenary session yesterday, Tuesday 9 May. He gave an overview of evidence for global climate change and the reductions in carbon dioxide emissions that have been recommended in order to slow the rate of change enough so that we have time to adapt. “This will affect research networking along with every other aspect of life and society,” he said.

The high energy demand of ICT departments in research universities makes them vulnerable to impending policies and regulations that may impose penalties on heavy carbon emitters. But Bill St. Arnaud said there are opportunities in this situation too. The trade in carbon offsets is expected to become a 645 billion dollar industry in the near future and the research and education community could benefit from early participation in this market, if we are well prepared. read more

Moving data centres close to their own sources of relatively cheap renewable energy would facilitate a zero carbon strategy. Wind and solar power would be the most suitable sources, said St. Arnaud. When the wind stops blowing or the sun goes down, whole data sets or computing jobs could be transferred to computing clouds with available power so that work would continue. The challenge would be to design network architectures and business models that could ensure reliable service delivery and avoid greatly increased energy consumption by the network.

National research and education networks (NRENs) will have to help find solutions, St. Arnaud said. He invited TNC participants to get involved in a new green cyber-infrastructure project to build a zero-carbon NREN and to show how to capture revenue from this. “We can be important leaders and show how networks can play an important role in addressing the biggest challenge facing our planet,” he concluded.

Clouds for e-science

In his plenary presentation, Paul Watson from the University of Newcastle focused on the advantages cloud computing can bring to science. Drawing on lessons from web-based companies that cope with peaks and dips in demand for their services by using servers in computer clouds, rather than their own hardware, he described a UK project which uses clouds to store and analyse data, and to share data and information with varying degrees of security.

He demonstrated the system to TNC participants, explaining that “clouds reduce the time from having an idea to realising it” by increasing the number of CPUs at the touch of a button, rather than with a lengthy planning and provisioning of hardware. “Clouds can revoutionise e-science,” said Paul Watson, by helping to reduce complexity. People are now thinking about federating private clouds, he said, so you could build service agreements with public clouds. “This will become important in the future because of the need to deal with renewable energy and other issues”.

Sessions highlights

In an afternoon session on climate change and disaster forecasting, two talks discussed how computer modelling can be combined with information from the real world to predict the likely impact of catastrophic events. Networks and geographical information systems can be used to incorporate information about population densities and building types to provide decision makers with rapid estimates of how severely people and infrastructures are likely to be affected. Mathematical modelling can also be used to understand physical processes, for example how landslides can generate tsunamis. A theoretical model has been combined with information about the actual seabed of the Mediterranean to assess the risks from such landslides in future.

The risks of revealing personal information were discussed in a session called, “Implications”, which featured an attempt to bribe attendees into giving away their names, passwords and other information. John Paschoud (LSE) told participants that a similar exercise to benchmark security among students showed that large percentages of them were willing to reveal various details in exchange for chocolate. Security messages on pub beermats were remembered by students to some extent so, he suggested, this kind of approach to raising awareness may be “more effective than yet another policy”.

In a popular session called, “All Change”, Hans Doebbeling (DANTE) presented an overview of the new GN3 project. He emphasised that, whereas GN2 had concentrated on building the GÉANT network, GN3 focuses on the user and providing high performance and services. Afrodite Sevasti (GRNET) addressed how the research, development and roll-out of multi-domain and end user services will be achieved. In the same session, Steve Cotter presented the new hybrid network architecture of ESnet (US Department of Energy's Energy Sciences Network) and how it will meet future needs of virtual collaborators and science. Work was completed in November, but the company is busy with a 70 million dollar grant from ARRA (American Recovery and Reinvestment Act), to stimulate and accelerate research into networking technologies.

Two sessions were dedicated to the FEDERICA project, which is closing the gap between middleware services and network infrastructure, and exploring the limits of virtualisation. How to transform the network infrastructure into a service accessible to users was the subject of one presentation, followed by the challenges of measuring in a virtualised environment. The relevance of the future Internet in the European Commission’s plans for the coming years was also explored.


Archived video streams of all TNC presentations are available from http://tnc2009.terena.org/media/archive.php.

Most of the slides and some of the papers can be downloaded by clicking on the relevant session in the programme, at http://tnc2009.terena.org/schedule/.

European network engineering students are welcomed at TNC 2009

10 June 2009
Postgraduate students met leading figures from TERENA and Cisco at the TERENA Networking Conference this week, Tuesday 9 June. Recognising that today’s students are the future leaders of the networking community, TERENA invited students of relevant fields to attend TNC 2009. Cisco endorsed the initiative by providing sponsorship, enabling the students to attend the event free of charge, so being exposed to current best practices and cutting-edge technologies. read more

TERENA’s Vice-President Conferences, Miroslav Milinović, and President, Dorte Olesen, warmly welcomed the students and explained of their own history and early experiences in the networking community.

“TERENA decided two years ago to make an effort to enhance the presence of students and young researchers at TNC,” Miroslav Milinović said. “We are happy to see this significant group at this year’s conference. I also would like to thank our sponsor, Cisco, who recognised our effort, saw the opportunity and helped achieve it.”

Several Cisco representatives were also on hand during the meeting to offer their advice and start a dialogue with the students that they hoped would continue after the TNC. They strongly encouraged the students to stretch the boundaries of technology and to challenge current assumptions. They explained that this bold approach will benefit technology specifically, and society as a whole. They also warned students that many new technology ideas face barriers that are not technical in nature, but are economical, political or societal.

To prepare students to deal with these issues, Cisco offered to provide non-technical resources in support of qualified student research projects, to help analyse and develop the non-technical aspects of their projects. Cisco also supports ground breaking ideas in the research community by providing equipment and expertise to qualified research projects.

Klaas Wierenga, Cisco’s representative in TERENA was very enthusiastic about this initiative: "It is great to see these new and talented young people come to the TERENA conference. Cisco is very happy to have made it possible for them."

The students travelled from various parts of Europe to attend this year’s TNC. Their studies include disciplines such as network communications, telecommunications and computer science.


Archived video streams of all TNC presentations are available from http://tnc2009.terena.org/media/archive.php.

Most of the slides and some of the conference papers can be downloaded by clicking on the relevant session in the programme, at http://tnc2009.terena.org/schedule/.

TNC day 1: Real-life impacts of networking technologies

9 June 2009
Participants at TNC 2009 viewed three dimensional images during the opening plenary presentation by Jorge Cortell of Kanteron Systems, which was delivered in Malaga, Spain, yesterday 8 June 2009.

Displaying a series of medical images, Jorge Cortell explained how such virtual depictions can be augmented to help surgeons operate with the minimum impact on patients. The solution he described allows an image to be projected onto a patient’s skin showing spatially correct details of the blood vessels, muscles and other tissues including tumours or other pathologies that lie beneath. read more

This direct-projected augmented reality (DirectAR) combines algorithms that overcome various challenges including projection-related distortions and anatomical variations. To achieve this, “networking has been crucial”, said Cortell, in bringing together three disparate projects with participants in four countries so that experts in healthcare, middleware, software and optical fields could collaborate. He thanked the research networking community for contributing to developments that helped make such work possible.

Sessions Highlights

Healthcare topics continued in the afternoon’s sessions with presentations of e-health applications of network infrastructure. Luiz Ary Messina explained the Brazilian Telemedicine University Network (RUTE) programme to provide healthcare over the Internet to people not served by the main healthcare system, including indigenous populations. Telehealth structures are less advanced in the USA, according to Michael McGill, who is responsible for health sciences for Internet2. He described developments towards a national high-speed broadband network and said that the current infrastructure is already improving the training of doctors and surgeons. Endoscopic surgeon Dr. Shuji Shimizu of Kyushu University in Japan agreed in his presentation that the advantages for teaching surgery are not only the possibility to reach geographically distant trainees, but also the ability to clearly see clinically relevant visual details. He told participants about the rapid development of a telesurgical system that began in Japan and Korea, but now helps share teaching and expertise globally.

In a concurrent session on supporting virtual technologies, there was a common theme: expanding the management tools and processes that we currently have for local and national networks to international collaborations. Challenges include growing numbers of people and organisations involved, and the fact that it may be be hard to find out if there is a problem on the stream, where it is and who to contact about it. This is even more of an issue for Grids, where problems propagate not around networks but between applications.

During a popular middleware session, Ken Klingenstein (Internet2) showed how the concepts of network middleware and identitify federations, which were purely ideas ten years ago, have become a reality. He looked ahead to challenges to come, emphasising the fact that areas of use get extended by the day. Jeff Boote (Internet2) presented and Candido Rodriguez (RedIRIS) demonstrated how middleware technologies are now applied at the very lowest layers, which for a long time was out of reach. The demonstration showed live access to performance data of the network connection here at TNC. Finally, George Inman (University of Kent) presented one of the hottest topics in identity management; once we have solved the problem of authenticating people and transferring their data, the next challenge is to be able to collect such data from scattered sources. He presented a solution that was recently reviewed and published by IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers).


Archived video streams of all TNC presentations are available from http://tnc2009.terena.org/media/archive.php.

Most of the slides and some of the papers can be downloaded by clicking on the relevant session in the programme, at http://tnc2009.terena.org/schedule/.

Streaming of presentations from TNC 2009 available online

8 June 2009
Archived streams of presentations from this year's TERENA Networking Conference (TNC 2009) are available on the conference website. Around 450 people attended the event, which also featured online presentation materials for those who could not be there in person.

The conference, with the theme ‘Virtuality into Reality', continued until 13.30 CET on Thursday. The closing plenary was delivered by Simone Brunozzi, Amazon.com’s Web Services Evangelist. In addition to five more plenary talks, each day included parallel sessions of presentations on a diverse range of topics.

All streams are available from http://tnc2009.terena.org. read more

Most of the slides and some of the papers can be downloaded by clicking on the relevant session in the programme, at http://tnc2009.terena.org/schedule/.

The streams are accessible from Windows, Apple and Linux machines. The only thing that is required is the Macromedia Flash plug-in. Streaming is at two bit rates: 750 kb/s and 250 kb/s. All streams are available live and in archive form around fifteen minutes after the session.

Streaming is undertaken by the technical team of the University of Malaga. The University of Malaga and the Spanish national research networking organisation RedIRIS are kindly hosting the event.

Feedback about the streams is welcome. Please send your comments to Bert van Pinxteren: pinxteren@terena.org.

For those who find these streams inspiring, please plan to be at TNC 2010 in Vilnius, Lithuania, from 31 May to 3 June 2010: http://tnc2010.terena.org.

Special edition journal publishes papers from TNC 2008

6 January 2009
For the third year in succession, the peer-reviewed journal ‘Campus-Wide Information Systems’ has published a special edition focusing on papers from the TERENA Networking Conference (TNC). Ten papers were selected from more than a hundred that were presented at TNC 2008 in Bruges, Belgium. read more

The selected papers “represent outstanding achievements in the areas of interest the conference focused on,” writes the conference programme committee chairman Diego Lopez (RedIRIS, Spain) in his guest editorial. “I hope that the selected papers will help in portraying the impressive quality of the presentations and the high level of discussions at TNC 2008, and contribute to the development of networking technologies and services, both in the academic and research environment, and society in general.”

Although only extended abstracts are required by the committee that selects presentations for the TNC, all speakers are welcome to submit a full paper for consideration for journal publication. The Call for Papers for TNC 2009, to be held in Málaga, Spain, has already closed. A Call for Posters will be issued towards the end of February 2009.

'Campus-Wide Information Systems' is produced by Emerald Group Publishing Limited and is available both in print and online. (ISSN 1065-0741, Volume 25 Number 5, 2008)

More information about this journal and other TERENA publications.

Information about the themes and topics for TNC 2009.

TNC 2009 Call for Papers - 'Virtuality into Reality'

6 October 2008
The Programme Committee for the TERENA Networking Conference 2009 has issued a Call for Papers exploring the theme, ‘Virtuality into Reality’.

The conference will be held from 8-11 June 2009 in Málaga in Spain, organised by TERENA and hosted by the University of Málaga and RedIRIS, the Spanish national academic and research network. read more

Extended abstracts of 600 – 1200 words (rather than full papers) can be submitted via the drop box at: http://tnc2009.terena.org/contribute/submit.

The deadline for submission is 30 November 2008 and authors should follow the guidelines for extended abstracts.

See more detailed information about the Call for Papers, topics and guidelines on the TNC 2009 website.