Full speed ahead for the new mandate!
By now, you’ve likely heard that CANARIE’s budget and mandate are both larger than previously announced: we will receive $62 million over the next three years, a clear indication of the importance of this vital digital infrastructure for world-leading research and innovation in Canada. Minister of State (Science and Technology) Gary Goodyear shared the good news at an event at the University of Ottawa in early August. Minister Goodyear was clear as to the importance of CANARIE:
We will continue to support Canada’s research and education leaders, using these funds to provide the right digital infrastructure for Canada.
Our goal is to help Canadians take advantage of the opportunities that “Big Data” presents by providing advanced networking, software, services, and expertise. Our priorities in achieving this goal are clear:
Priority 1: Meet growing demand for network capacity
Many CANARIE users are already diving into the Big Data pool, if recent traffic patterns are any indication. Over the past five years, traffic on the CANARIE network increased 587%, and is expected to increase tenfold within the next five years. To keep ahead of this tsunami of data, CANARIE will continue to increase capacity and prioritize the upgrade of segments of the network that are reaching utilization levels.
But CANARIE is only one player contributing to Canada’s advanced network infrastructure. CANARIE works closely with our provincial and territorial network partners to deliver advanced networking nationwide. To ensure that the pan-Canadian network evolves so that users across the country benefit from this tremendous investment, CANARIE will soon be launching the following network alliance programs to ensure our national network supports Canada’s most exciting digital initiatives.
Priority 2: Research Middleware
Many Canadian researchers are already using Big Data resources to further their research, but many others are unable to – stymied by a lack of computer programming resources or knowledge of how to access these valuable datasets and tools.
CANARIE recognizes this gap in research software platforms, and the negative impact it has on Canadian-based advanced digital research and discovery. In our previous mandate, the Network-Enabled Platforms (NEP) program began to address this gap. Twenty research platforms were created, supporting research in a wide range of domains including high-energy physics, transportation management, astronomy, and distance medical education.
Going forward, we will harvest the best-of-breed elements from that program to develop a research platform “toolkit”, a group of services that can be reused, called Research Platform Interfaces (RPIs). RPIs will make creating a new platform quicker and less expensive, as proven services are available to use instead of procuring or designing new services for each NEP. Equally importantly, they allow easier collaboration among researchers through sharing of compatible servicess.
CANARIE will then offer these servicess to developers wishing to create new Network-Enabled Platforms that provide easy access to research data and tools, accelerate research and discovery, and promote broad collaboration among a community of researchers.
We will be launching these programs shortly – so stay tuned!
Priority 3: Private Sector Innovation
In the previous mandate, CANARIE piloted the Digital Accelerator for Innovation and Research (DAIR) program. The goal of DAIR was to provide small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) with a research and product development test-bed featuring cloud computing technology.
The DAIR pilot was a success, demonstrating that access to this kind of testbed enabled entrepreneurs to invest more in product development and adopt advanced cloud computing technologies.
Going forward, we will expand DAIR to support two communities: higher education information and communications technology (ICT) researchers who do not require the advanced services of Compute Canada, and a greater number of small and medium-sized Canadian ICT enterprises.
Through DAIR, entrepreneurs can accelerate their time to market and gain a first-mover advantage in launching innovative new products. The expanded scope and user base for DAIR will stimulate the adoption of advanced technologies among more Canadian businesses, and it will enable joint projects between ICT researchers and small and medium-sized businesses, leading to more commercial applications of ICT research.
You’ll hear more about DAIR during the program launch, coming your way this fall.
In confirming the $62 million in funding for CANARIE’s three-year mandate, the Government of Canada reaffirmed a requirement for CANARIE to implement cost-sharing strategies with its user community. Over the summer, CANARIE has been consulting with its network alliance partners, our CIO Advisory Committee, university representatives and major users of the network to better understand the implications of cost recovery on our users.
As we roll out our programs over the course of the next few months, each program will have an element of cost-recovery. This may take the form of membership fees, user fees, in-kind contributions, leverage of other funding sources, cost reduction and cost avoidance. We believe our frank and thorough user consultations will ensure there are no “surprises” with respect to CANARIE’s cost recovery initiatives, and as a result, that these initiatives will be effectively implemented.
We’d like to thank our network partners, CIO Advisory Committee members and users for their valuable feedback on this issue.
To support all the activities we've described above, we are bringing on some new team members, including:
If you're interested, check out the job descriptions.
From Canberra to Canada
Don Robertson, Chief Operating Officer at Australia's Academic and Research Network (AARNet), visited the United States and Canada earlier this year. As part of his tour, he visited the CANARIE offices in Ottawa.
AARNet, he explained, is a licensed telecommunications service provider and is 90% self-funded through customer charges (with a few grants for capital investments). This is a significantly different approach from Canada and the United States (and most of the OECD), where national research and education networks are publicly funded. Large universities in Australia, for example, pay upwards of $2 million per year for access to AARNet and have the option of acquiring comparable services commercially. As well as providing high-capacity, high-speed network, AARNet also offers a number of services, including virtual conferencing, telepresence exchange, and “cloudstor” an FTP-like service.
From Parliament Hill to Capitol Hill
In April 2012 the CANARIE Board meeting was held in the same location as the Internet2 Spring Conference in Arlington, VA. Internet2 is the advanced research and education network in the US. The purpose of the alignment of these two meetings was to introduce Board members to other National Research and Education (NREN) representatives attending the meeting, to provide an opportunity to join relevant Internet2 conference sessions, and to engage with senior leaders of major international NRENs.
Jim Roche, President and CEO of CANARIE, also participated in the conference as a panel member on the NRENs in the Future: CEO Perspectives panel.
Following the Board meeting, the CANARIE Board and staff met with Dave Lambert, President and CEO of Internet2, and his senior team. Dave and his team shared information on Internet2’s strategic direction and offerings, in particular its suite of “Net +” services, which were of particular interest to Board members, as CANARIE looks at new offerings that will add value to its stakeholders.
And then, Korea came to Canada!
In August, CANARIE staff met with delegates from KREONET, the Korean National Research and Education Network.
The CANARIE leadership team will continue to meet with global peer networks to share strategic plans and initiatives, and to explore further opportunities for collaboration.
CAF Corner : News from the Canadian Access Federation
On April first, management of the Canadian Access Federation (CAF) officially transitioned from CUCCIO, representing Canada’s higher education IT leaders, to CANARIE.
For participants in CAF, the transition was seamless: users continued to use their home credentials to log in to networks at other member institutions and access Service Providers who are part of the Federation.
In taking on the management of CAF, CANARIE commits to evolving the service to support Canadian research, teaching and learning. Specific initiatives include the expansion of identity providers and service providers, and the ongoing evolution of best practice access management protocols.
Gain Global Access with eduGAIN.
CANARIE has expanded access to valuable global content for CAF participants through its partnership with eduGAIN, a service developed within GÉANT, the high-speed European communication network dedicated to research and education. eduGAIN allows CAF participants to access content housed at participating institutions in Europe.
For example, if a student at a Canadian university that participates in CAF wished to access a unique database of research data on Arctic marine ecosystems at a Finnish institution, the student would have access to that resource while in Canada through the identity management assurances shared by CAF and eduGAIN. Similarly, a Belgian researcher at a member institution of eduGAIN could, over the Internet, access Canadian research on traffic control systems housed at a Canadian university that participates in CAF.
CAF is Growing
Participation in CAF continues to grow, with over 800,000 Canadian staff, faculty and students taking advantage of this “digital passport” to access content and services across Canada and around the world.
Since CANARIE assumed management of CAF, we have added 18 new participants:
In total today, we have 69 participants, including 17 SPs and 52 IdPs.
Did you know that many people do not realize they already have access to CAF? That’s because they may be more familiar with eduroam, which is one of the three services offered under the CAF umbrella. When you see eduroam in Canada, it’s brought to you by CAF.
CAF services includes eduroam, Shibboleth, eduGAIN
We’re sending our heartiest congratulations (and tiny little waves) to the recipients of the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal. The medal is awarded to Canadians who have made a significant contribution to Canada, and we know several of the 38 honourees from Canada’s high-tech industry quite well.
Honourees, including CANARIE President and CEO Jim Roche, will receive their medals at a special CATA I-CANADA Summit meeting in October.
Congratulations to our network alliance partners, and CANARIE’s founding Chair, on the occasion of this honour:
Dr. Darin Graham, President and CEO, ORION
Michael Hrybyk, President and CEO, BCNET
Robin Winsor, CEO, Cybera
Terry Dalton, Chair, ACORN-NS
Bill Hutchinson, founding Chair, CANARIE, President, Hutchinson Management International
CANARIE’s executive team will be meeting with representatives of our peer networks at the NORDUnet conference in September, and then we’re into high gear for a range of exciting events in October.
We’ll also be at the World Conference on Internet Technology in Montreal. Look for CANARIE in the digital river at the event!
Lastly, our engineering team will be talking tech at the Global Lambda Integrated Facility (GLIF) workshop in Chicago.
And of course we’re looking forward to hosting our annual Users’ Forum, November 6-7 in Quebec City. Dr. Kate Moran, President and CEO of Ocean Networks Canada, will be our keynote speaker, and she will be addressing our audience, appropriately enough, at the Aquarium du Quebec.
Check our website for more details. Following the Users’ Forum, CANARIE will hold its Annual General Meeting on the afternoon of November 7.
Each issue we will ask a researcher, scientist, or innovator to answer a few questions about what makes them tick.
Our inaugural “guest star” is Dr. Steven Liang, assistant professor in Geographical Information Systems at the University of Calgary. We got to know Dr. Liang through the GeoCENS project which CANARIE funded through the Network-Enabled Platforms program.
Where did you live when you were ten years old?
I lived in Taichung, Taiwan when I was ten years old. I grew up in Taiwan, received my BSc there, served two years in the Army, and then came to Canada for my graduate degree.
When you were a child, what did you think you would be when you grew up?
A professor. I decided to be a professor when I was very little.
What (or who) influenced your decision to research geomatics engineering?
What has been the biggest surprise about your studies/work?
I still remember the day my PhD supervisor's company was acquired by Microsoft. It was a day before Christmas Eve (Dec 23, 2005). That meant two things:
What book have you read recently?
The Art of the Start, by Guy Kawasaki. The book is a guide for anyone starting anything, and can be applied to starting a research lab or a start-up company.
Where is your favourite place to vacation?
Florence, Italy!! Great museums, food and scenery. To be more specific, I love staying at Fiesole, a little town about 20 minutes’ bus ride from Florence. It's near Florence, but not that busy. To make it more interesting, Florence has a special meaning for Geomatics researchers: Amerigo Vespucci (1454-1512), a very well-known cartographer and navigator at the time, was from Florence. And the name of our continent (Americas) is believed to be derived from his name.
What is your favourite movie?
Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, directed by Ang Lee.
If you’re interested in being one of our interviewees – or have someone to recommend – please drop us a line. (Interviewees are given a list of questions and may choose five or more of them to answer.)
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Source: Nearing Zero