IDEA Award Winners 2010
IDEA award winners represent applied advanced networking at its best. The winning submissions for 2010 were chosen from many distinguished nominations. Award submissions were judged on the depth of their positive impact on their primary users, the technical merit of the application, and the likelihood the application would be broadly adopted by its full natural community of potential users.
Four applications share the award this year. They include: EchoDamp, a multi-channel audio mixer and echo controller for videoconference-based musical and other collaboration; the Research and Education Data Depot network (REDDnet) Data Logistics Toolkit and model for storage facilities supporting data-intensive collaboration; Worldview, a real-time 3-D network monitoring and visualization system; and Shibboleth, a federated Web-based single sign-on software that manages authorized access to protected online resources.
EchoDamp, created by Brian Shepard, Assistant Professor of Pedagogical Technology, University of Southern California Thornton School of Music, is a software multi-channel audio mixer and echo controller designed primarily for the high-performance network, musical videoconferencing environment. It features intuitive, easy-to-use controls, and supports numerous hardware audio interfaces on both Macintosh and Windows computers. A perennial "show-stopper" for live performance videoconferencing is audio feedback—where sound from the remote site feeds back into the originating site’s microphones, creating an annoying loop—which can make effective communication nearly impossible. Unlike currently available echo-canceling microphones, which cancel out too many important frequencies to be acceptable for musicians, EchoDamp listens for the directionality of a sound’s source, using that information to prevent echo from entering the audio chain in the first place. If echo does enter the signal, it is gracefully damped in an unobtrusive and musical manner. EchoDamp allows users to fully participate in high-bandwidth, live-streaming, bidirectional content without the constant annoyance and distraction of echo.
Shepard collaborated with several Internet2 community members to help test and trial EchoDamp to ensure the system’s readiness for its production rollout. Critical testers included: Scott Deal, Professor and Associate Director of Music Research Programs, IUPUI (Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis); Ben Fineman, System Administrator, Internet2; Dan Nichols, Head of Recording Services and Internet2 Multimedia Specialist, NIU (Northern Illinois University); and Justin Trieger, Internet2 Systems Manager, New World Symphony.
The Research and Education Data Depot network (REDDnet) is an NSF-funded infrastructure project that provides a large distributed storage facility for data-intensive collaboration among the nation's researchers and educators in a wide variety of application areas including high-energy physics. The underlying software distribution called the Data Logistics Toolkit (DLT) provides a powerful platform for campuses looking to create bridges for data intensive collaboration with national or regional infrastructure.
The REDDnet model provides "working storage" to help manage the logistical factors in moving and staging large amounts of data across the wide area network—not just fast transport, but enormous data volumes, globally distributed data, asynchronous data access and data preprocessing. To solve these problems, REDDnet integrates high-performance networking with a unique form of storage technology specifically designed for both deployment scalability and fast data transfer within wide area networks. Users include collaborating researchers who are trying to move data from one collaborator (person or institution) to another, or researchers who want share large data sets for limited periods of time (ranging from a few hours to a few months) while they work on it. Technology creators believe it will provide a powerful platform for campuses to create bridges with national or regional infrastructure for data-intensive collaboration.
REDDnet collaborators include Paul Sheldon, Professor of Physics and Director of the Vanderbilt Advanced Computing Center for Research and Education, Vanderbilt University (nominating applicant); Micah Beck, Professor, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, University of Tennessee, Knoxville; Terry Moore, Associate Director, Innovative Computing Laboratory, University of Tennessee, Knoxville; Martin Swany, Professor, Computer Science and Information Sciences, University of Delaware; P.R. Blackwell, Director, Columbia Regional Geospatial Service Center, Stephen F. Austin State University.
Worldview, developed by Indiana University’s Global Research Network Operations Center (GlobalNOC), the premier operations and engineering organization supporting advanced international, national, regional and local high-performance research and education networks. GlobalNOC engineers sought an improved way to make sense of the more than 3,300 interconnects between 1,700 routing/switching devices supported by GlobalNOC across the globe, and to communicate network information to non-expert audiences. Their solution was Worldview, a highly sophisticated, hands-on network visualization system that lets users search for real-time or historical network information using an intuitive, multi-touch interface where they can zoom, pan and tilt with simple hand gestures. The system can create visualizations of any geographic scope—from the entire globe to a small campus network segment.
Worldview not only helps network engineers monitor the end-to-end paths research data travels in support of global, cutting-edge science, but is becoming a much sought-after tool for educating the public about advanced networking. Users have already imagined numerous ideas for other applications and additional data layers. For instance, Worldview can be used to track the impact of the nation’s broadband stimulus projects, overlaying collected census block data to show unserved and underserved areas and how those areas change over time as broadband becomes more pervasive.
Worldview collaborators include David Jent, Associate Vice President, Networks, Indiana University GlobalNOC (nominating applicant); Luke Fowler, Manager, Systems Engineering, University Information Technology Services, Indiana University; Ed Balas, GlobalNOC Software Architect, University Information Technology Services, Indiana University.
Shibboleth® Federated Single Sign-On Software is developed and supported by a growing international community. Nominated by Jack Suess, Vice President of Information Technology and Chief Information Officer, University of Maryland, Baltimore County, an institutional user of the software, Shibboleth is a standards-based, open-source solution for Web-based single sign-on across and within organizational boundaries. Implementing widely used federated identity standards, principally OASIS' Security Assertion Markup Language (SAML), Shibboleth simplifies the management of identity and permissions by allowing sites to make informed authorization decisions for individual access of protected online resources in a privacy-preserving manner.
As more and more universities, companies, government agencies and national labs collaborate and offer services online, users struggle to manage a ballooning set of user IDs and passwords and organizations struggle to close security holes and manage service change requests. Shibboleth was created specifically to address these and other issues related to sharing information securely both within and among organizations. The Shibboleth infrastructure, together with related policies, processes, standards and tools, has had significant impacts, and is deployed in hundreds of thousands of sites spanning academia, research, government and industry.
The initial Shibboleth design team included Steven Carmody, Project Manager, Brown University; Scott Cantor, Lead Developer, The Ohio State University; Walter Hoehn, formerly from the University of Memphis; Derek Atkins, formerly of MIT; Ken Klingenstein, Internet2; and R.L. Morgan, Lead Technical Architect, University of Washington. Chad La Joie, Software Engineer, formerly from the Swiss Education & Research Network (SWITCH); Brent Putman, Middleware Systems Analyst at Georgetown University; Jim Fox, Software Engineer at the University of Washington; Ian Young and Rod Widdowson, Edina/JISC; and Nate Klingenstein, Internet2 were then added to the early core development team.