In this issue...
As most of you know, before I was appointed President of CANARIE, I was the Chief Technology Officer for almost four years. During that time I learned a tremendous amount about the history of CANARIE and its role in Canada's innovation ecosystem. While most people today know CANARIE as the operator of the national component of Canada's research and education network (and rightly so, as the network has become absolutely fundamental to research and education in Canada), what is less well-known is CANARIE's successful history as a change agent and spark for the adoption of transformative technologies. It's what CANARIE did when it incubated, and then spun off, the Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA) and Grid Canada. It's what CANARIE did through its technology and application development programs, which supported over 200 projects in the private and public sectors. It's what CANARIE did when it launched the Network-Enabled Platforms program to address the gap in research software tools.
Today, CANARIE continues to incubate and evolve technologies that support the development of Canada's knowledge economy. In this issue you'll read about our Research Software program, which is changing the paradigm for research software development; the ongoing evolution of Canadian Access Federation (CAF), which supports secure and efficient remote access to digital services and resources; and DAIR, our cloud service supporting small business innovation.
CANARIE has been working with Monitor Deloitte to engage stakeholders in a consultation process to inform the development of elements of its next mandate. During these consultations, stakeholders were asked to comment on CANARIE’s progress against its current objectives and to provide information on potential future directions for the organization. A summary of these consultations, together with additional stakeholder feedback from the 2013 CANARIE Users' Forum, and the Report of the Summit 2014 prepared by the Leadership Council for Digital Infrastructure, will be used by CANARIE to shape the elements of its next mandate.
The summary of these consultations can be found here. CANARIE welcomes additional feedback and input as it develops the elements of its mandate renewal in the coming months. Please send any additional feedback directly to email@example.com
CANARIE’s Research Software program funds two kinds of software: Network-Enabled Platforms (NEPs) and Research Platform Interfaces (RPIs). Over the past year, CANARIE awarded more than $4.3 Million in the first of two calls for proposals to Canadian research teams seeking to develop new NEPs that leverage CANARIE’s infrastructure. Read the press release here.
Developers of new NEPs will incorporate previously-created Research Platform Interface (RPIs) and add new RPIs to the suite, resulting in a powerful cycle of software development and reuse.
Changing the Paradigm of Research Software Development
CANARIE is changing the model for research software development. By fostering the collaborative use of common services (RPIs) across Network-Enabled Platforms (NEPs), CANARIE enables researchers access to an ever-increasing pool of services.
In turn, any new NEPs will make available to the community their own set of services that could be leveraged by other research teams. This approach drives a first-mover advantage in research software for Canada, delivers system-wide efficiencies and maximizes investments in digital infrastructure.
The current suite of RPIs includes services that enable:
For a full list of RPIs currently available to the research community, visit http://science.canarie.ca
The Canadian Access Federation (CAF) provides a trusted access management environment for the Canadian research and higher education community. CAF participants enable their staff, students, and faculty to seamlessly access wireless networks and web-based resources using their home organization credentials when they are visiting other participating organizations.
CANARIE Invests in National eduroam Infrastructure
eduroam is an international roaming service for users in research and higher education. It provides researchers, faculty and students easy and secure network access when visiting other participating institutions using the same credentials as they would at their home institution or office. In Canada, the eduroam service is deployed and managed by CANARIE.
To support the rapid growth of eduroam, which now exceeds 1.1 million registered users and more than 2 million sign-ons per month across Canada, CANARIE has added three new eduroam servers to its production network. These new servers went into operation this month.
The new servers increase the overall fault tolerance of the Canadian eduroam network. “Our continued investment in eduroam demonstrates CANARIE’s commitment to operational excellence”, states Mark Wolff, Chief Technology Officer. Adds Wendy Petersen, Canadian Access Federation (CAF) Program Manager, “CANARIE recognizes the importance of eduroam to the Canadian research and education community and is embracing its role to support the maintenance and growth of the service.”
Two of the new eduroam servers are located in Ottawa and will operate as primary servers for Eastern Canada. One of the legacy servers in Vancouver is reaching end-of-life and will be decommissioned. The other legacy server in Vancouver will remain active alongside a new production server located in Kelowna, BC.
The recent investment in the national core infrastructure of the Canadian Access Federation additionally helps participants improve CAF service at their sites by enabling:
Get Ready for a New Tool to Simplify CAF Deployment
CANARIE is rolling out the Identity Provider Installer (IDI) to make connecting to the Canadian Access Federation easier and faster for participating institutions. The IDI installs and configures the software needed on a client-provisioned virtual machine to connect an institution's identity management system to the CAF Federated Single Sign-On and/or eduroam services.
Canadian institutions will benefit from the simplicity of a web-based user interface for configuration while maintaining full control over the appliance hosted on their local infrastructure. The IDI will be pre-configured with CAF-related settings and with real-time monitoring.
This approach is a direct response to feedback from members of Canada’s higher education community for a “plug-and-play” solution that enables them to take advantage of the cost and process efficiencies of CAF while working within a lean IT environment. As the power of CAF is multiplied and more institutions take advantage of the service, CANARIE is moving quickly to make this option broadly available.
Service Provider Spotlight: Scholar's Portal
Scholar's Portal is a service of the Ontario Council of University Libraries. Founded in 2002, Scholars Portal provides a shared technology infrastructure and shared collections for all 21 university libraries in the province, serving 425,000 Ontario students.
Scholars Portal was an early Service Provider participant in CAF. Its Geospatial service and eBook service are Federated Single Sign-On enabled and there are plans to add Federated Single Sign-On support for other services. Using identity credentials provided to them by their respective institutions, students can log in securely and create personal accounts to store ebook annotations, data layers, and downloaded datasets.
More information on Scholars Portal may be found here.
In 2013, CANARIE launched its Digital Accelerator for Innovation and Research (DAIR) program, which is delivered through CANARIE’s partners Cybera and Compute Canada. DAIR’s made-in-Canada cloud resources provide entrepreneurs with the time horizon, scalability and cost certainty that other cloud offerings do not. Cloud technologies give small businesses a competitive edge by providing advanced computing resources anywhere, anytime.
Today, almost 150 entrepreneurs use DAIR to test, develop and demonstrate leading-edge products and services. One DAIR user, Khal Sharif, CEO of ProjectWhitecard Inc., is using DAIR to test Minecraft-based education games and new educational-themed platforms. See how here.
To get the word out on DAIR, CANARIE established partnerships with business incubators and accelerators, colleges’ applied research offices, the Association of University Research Parks Canada (AURP), and NRC’s Industrial Research Assistance Program (IRAP). These partnerships increase the visibility of DAIR to potential users and enable CANARIE’s partners to offer DAIR as part of an array of services supporting commercialization. Current partnerships include:
Incubators and Accelerators
Colleges and Polytechnics
CANARIE welcomes partnerships with other post-secondary institutions, business incubators and accelerators, and other organizations supporting small businesses, to capitalize on the power of cloud computing. Please contact Peter Wilenius, Vice President, Business Development, to discuss an opportunity for partnership.
To submit an application to use DAIR, visit our website.
In early June 2013, six of the world’s leading research and education (R&E) networks – including CANARIE – and two commercial partners demonstrated for the first time a Transatlantic 100 gigabits-per-second (Gbps or one billion bits per second) transmission link for research and education between North America and Europe during the TERENA Networking Conference 2013 (TNC2013), held in Maastricht, The Netherlands.
This link accelerates discovery in data-intensive science disciplines such as high-energy physics, radio astronomy and genomics, and spurs the development of revolutionary new networking applications and architectures.
This development comes more than ten years after the world’s advanced research and education networks upgraded to 10G technology.
As Dave Lambert, CEO of Internet2, the US research and education network and one of CANARIE’s partners in the 100G transatlantic project noted, “The world’s leading national research and education networks continue to push the envelope on advanced networking, in their ongoing mission to support research and education worldwide. I am happy that these partners and forward-looking organizations are willing to work together to explore the boundaries of what is technically possible and make a difference in research and education today and for many years to come.”
CPDN evolved out of research data management infrastructure established to manage and preserve data from Canadian-funded projects in the 2007-2012 International Polar Year (IPY). Through an RFP process, the Canadian International Polar Year Federal Program Office chose six organizations to serve as the IPY Data Assembly Centre Network3. Collectively, these Centres were responsible to work with funded researchers to deposit their data, to provide access and discovery tools, and to preserve these data for long-term access. When funding for the IPY and the Data Assembly Centres ended on March 31, 2012, five4 of these institutions made longer term commitments to this infrastructure, transforming it into CPDN and offering data management support to other research in the North5.
CPDN is a model of successful collaborative research data management infrastructure with partners in the federal government and academic sectors. The roles and responsibilities of the organizations in this Network are clearly defined in its Governance Charter6. The Canadian Cryospheric Information Network at the University of Waterloo maintains the Polar Data Catalogue, which provides an access and discovery platform for data entrusted with the Network. The Canada Institute for Scientific and Technical Information of the National Research Council provides persistent digital object identifiers (digital data file equivalents to ISBN’s for books). Scholars Portal at the University of Toronto and the University of Alberta operate the CPDN preservation backbone based on the distributed preservation model. This system provides automated file replication and bit integrity checking across a secure CANARIE connection between the data centres of these two sites. In addition to these technical operations, CPDN provides services to produce high quality metadata and to prepare digital objects for preservation, critical to the future usability of the data it holds.
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