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Smithsonian Institution Connects to Internet2 Backbone Network

Posted on Aug 27, 2002 by Doug Howell
Tags: Collaboration, Digital Content for Research & Education, E-Content, Health & Life Sciences, imported, Internet2 Member, Internet2 Network, Science & Engineering, Teaching and Learning

World's largest museum and research complex now connected to high-performance networking

Washington, DC--August 27, 2002--Internet2 today announced that the Smithsonian Institution now has access to the nationwide high-performance Abilene backbone network. The Smithsonian Institution is the world’s largest museum and research complex, with 16 museums and galleries and the National Zoological Park as well as research facilities in eight states and the Republic of Panama. Abilene is one of the world's most advanced and far-reaching high-performance networks.

Scientists, teachers and students at more than 200 Internet2 member universities and research centers currently use Abilene to create, test and use advanced network applications that do not work well or at all using the commercial Internet. Abilene enables applications such as uncompressed high-definition television quality video; remote control of scientific instruments such as mountaintop telescopes and electron microscopes; collaboration using immersive virtual reality; and grid computing.

"Internet2 provides an incredible opportunity for science centers such as the National Museum of Natural History to explore new technologies for presenting our collections, research and educational activities to the public and to our scientific colleagues," said Douglas Erwin, curator of biology and interim director of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History.

Erwin continued, "We are moving rapidly to migrate collections of images and data to electronic format, but the most exciting possibilities of Internet2 have barely been explored. The scientific visualization techniques that have become so important in the physical sciences, whether in weather forecasting or exploring 3-D images of the Earth for oil exploration, have made few inroads into the areas covered by the museum. Internet2 provides a platform to explore new ways of looking at our data, both for students, and with our any scientific collaborators elsewhere in the world."

Texas A&M University, an Internet2 university member, sponsored the Smithsonian's participation in Abilene.

"We are very pleased to have the Smithsonian join with the Internet2 community in exploring the potential of advanced networking for research and higher education," said Steve Corbató, director of backbone network infrastructure for Internet2. "The Smithsonian's unsurpassed scientific collections and expertise are rich sources for sparking new uses of advanced networking."

Internet2 members Qwest Communications, Cisco Systems, Juniper Networks, Nortel Networks and Indiana University work together to develop, deploy and operate the Abilene Internet2 backbone network. These partners continue to extend Abilene's capabilities, such as the recent deployment of IPv6, the next generation Internet protocol, and a quadrupling of capacity to 10 gigabits per second, or nearly 200,000 times faster than a typical computer modem. The Smithsonian's connection to Abilene was established through the Mid-Atlantic Crossroads (MAX), a regional high-performance networking organization. For more information on Abilene, see:

For more information about the Smithsonian Institution, please see:

About Internet2(R)

Led by over 190 U.S. universities, working with industry and government, Internet2 is developing and deploying advanced network applications and technologies for research and higher education, accelerating the creation of tomorrow's Internet. Internet2 recreates the partnerships among academia, industry, and government that helped foster today's Internet in its infancy. For more information about Internet2, see: