Experts See High-Speed Internet As Catalyst For Big Change
by Ted Leventhal
National Journal's Tech Daily PM Edition http://nationaljournal.com/pubs/techdaily/
Increased access to high-speed Internet connections will be a catalyst for revolutionary changes in academia and industry, advocates of the advanced Internet said Tuesday.
Steven Papermaster, chairman of Power Shift ventures and a member of the President's Council of Advisors for Science and Technology (PCAST), said advances in Internet connectivity have become a "critical component" in sustaining the nation's "innovation ecosystem."
Papermaster said the acceleration of computer speed and transmission capacity has become the "underlying focus" of the "innovation thrust and national drivers" of the economy. He said PCAST is working to shape a "national innovation roadmap," getting the nation to capitalize on advances in computer technology, biotechnology and nanotechnology while advancing each "driver."
But access to broadband technology is "incredibly important" for the nation to stay abreast of innovation, he said. Broadband will fuel advances in telemedicine, virtual research laboratories, e-government services, education and homeland security, he added.
"The capabilities of ultra high-speed Internet access in a secure environment is assumed to be one of the underlying drivers of every area of innovation across all fields," Papermaster said. "It's kind of like working on the next phases of the human genome project or other fundamental areas of development in that the collective good work that many are doing is becoming a core enabler to vast areas across academia, across society."
Douglas Van Houweling, the president and CEO of Internet2, noted that universities are leading the way in creating new research and educational opportunities by sharing resources over high-speed Internet connections. Internet2 is a collaboration of industry, academia and government to promote advanced Internet services.
Universities are creating computer applications that "once you could only dream of," Van Houweling said. This fall, Stanford University students will use three-dimensional modeling techniques to study human anatomy in biology and medical classes. They will collaborate with the University of Michigan via high-speed connections.
Symphonies also are using high-speed Internet links to hold online "master classes" for students, he said.
Houweling said the California Institute of Technology and the Swiss research institute CERN set a new record for high-speed data transmissions. The institutions exchanged data files over 11,000 kilometers at a speed of 6.25 billion bits per second, or nearly 10,000 times faster than the typical home broadband connection.
High-speed Internet links will be needed to fuel future astrophysics, climate and energy research, he noted.