A Proposal of the

Academic Technology Committee


Boston College, seeking to advance its stature as a leading research university through measures such as attainment of Association of Research Libraries membership and the development of technology to support teaching and research, should participate in the Internet2 project. A very sizable number of the majority of the Research level I and II universities with which we compete for faculty, students, and sponsored research grants have joined the Internet2 initiative. The program is also complementary to NSF's Next Generation Internet program, which involves significant grant opportunities. In addition, the direct costs of membership are nominal. In reality, the actual cost involves commitment to the development of an on-campus technological infrastructure that will support 21st century research and instruction. To some degree, BC’s current on-going projects to enhance the on-campus network qualify as substantial expenditures meeting the Internet2 criteria. Participation in Internet2 addresses the UAPC's goals for the improvement of the University's competitive position among the nation's leading institutions of higher education. This is accomplished by strengthening its research and instruction stature--in the sciences, in the libraries, in the professional schools; in the humanities--be met without the development of such a technological infrastructure on our campus, and creating high-speed links between our campus and the Internet.

UCAID, the University Corporation for Advanced Internet Development, is the body sponsoring the Internet2 initiative. The Internet2 project is a nonprofit consortium of 180 U.S. universities, collaborating with over 60 leading companies and government agencies . Internet2 is recreating the partnership among academia, industry and government that fostered today’s Internet in its infancy. The primary goals of Internet2 are to:

Through Internet2 Working Groups and initiatives, Internet2 members are collaborating on:

These projects include the development of completely new applications, such as digital libraries, virtual laboratories, and distance-independent learning. A primary goal of Internet2 is to ensure the transfer of new network technology and applications to the broader education and networking communities.

In the greater Boston area, university members of Internet2 include Boston University, Brown, Dartmouth College, Harvard, MIT, Northeastern University, Tufts, UMass, WPI, URI, and UNH. Georgetown University and Notre Dame are also members. There is a Boston "GigaPOP" (gigabyte point-of-presence) established by BU, Harvard, and MIT.

Universities applying for membership must be making a definitive, substantial and continuing commitment to the development, evolution and use of advanced networking facilities and applications in the conduct of research and education. In addition, since the primary project of UCAID is the Internet2 project, all member applicants should be committed to the goals of the Internet2 project.

Regular member applicants should commit to the following goals:

  1. establish broadband Internet connectivity on an end to end basis between and among Regular member institutions and other related development sites;
  2. prepare to make use of local aggregation points known as "gigaPoPs" and make plans to join and/or form a gigaPoP to achieve access to the Internet2 interconnect;
  3. develop and demonstrate advanced network-based applications for the purposes of research and/or education and create a project team within the organization to support the development of such applications;
  4. participate at the executive level in the overall management of the Internet2 project;
  5. contribute necessary financial support to the above activities and to the central management and administrative expenses of UCAID.

What are the financial commitments (costs, dues, etc.) that UCAID members are required to make? These costs can be broken down into two categories: one time costs and continuing costs. One time costs: are estimated to be $200,000. Continuing costs are estimated as $190,000/year In addition to the above costs member institutions need to commit to expenditures of at least $500,000 per year in upgrading campus infrastructure, connecting to a gigaPoP, and supporting applications. Boston College has exceeded this annual amount for quite some time and thus this is not an issue.

What must be submitted in reference to applying for Regular membership? Regular Member applicants must submit the following items:

  1. a letter from the institution's Chief Executive Officer, formally applying for membership and confirming the applicant's commitment to the mission and goals of UCAID and the Internet2 project as well as the requirements outlined in 3;
  2. along with the above letter, a more detailed (no more than 2 pages) statement of the applicant's status/progress towards meeting the goals of end to end broadband connectivity, including campus network upgrades, participation/formation of a gigaPoP, and development of advanced applications;
  3. a completed UCAID membership application.


What are the benefits to Boston College? There will be a dramatic increase in internet bandwidth from Boston College to all member universities. This will allow the real-time sharing of data, for instance complicated graphics in Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Geology. Real-time video conferencing will be possible for faculty in the School of Education.. Presently the bandwidth allows flickering small postage stamp size windows with stuttering audio. Faculty in the School of Nursing, for example, are currently collaborating with researchers at UNC, UVA, Johns Hopkins, Umass-Worcester, Tufts, BU and Harvard. These projects would benefit from access to Internet2. As an illustration of the benefit, the collaboration with Johns Hopkins involves a total of four university collaborators looking at issues related to abuse during pregnancy. The group is collaborating on research instruments for the field and utilizing large datasets.

Additional benefits (higher effective speed) will spread back to our traditional internet link as an increasing percentage of traffic shifts to the high-speed link. The Internet2 link will also give a high speed connection to the European and other high speed networks across the world: e.g. physics and CERN, humanities and Ireland's HEAnet, UK's JANET, and Europe's TEN-155.