UTD Workshops on Information Technology
Advanced, Robust Infrastructure Key to ‘Tele-collaboration’

The increasingly important role that information technology – including the next-generation Internet2 network — plays in university research efforts will be examined in two separate workshops to be conducted this week by The University of Texas at Dallas.

Both sessions – one at the university’s campus, the other at its Callier Center for Communications Disorders located near downtown Dallas – will be open to the public and free of charge.

“The communications requirements dictated by the scope, complexity and geographically dispersed nature of today’s university research are such that much of that research wouldn’t be possible without a highly advanced, robust information technology infrastructure,” said Dr. Da Hsuan Feng, vice president for research and graduate education and professor of physics at U.T. Dallas. “The fact that scientists have effectively archived the human genome is, in and of itself, relatively meaningless unless other scientists and researchers have access to the data, perhaps simultaneously, across continents, and are able to examine and manipulate it in a three-dimensional environment if needed. It’s what we call ‘tele-collaboration,’ and it is a vital component of the research process.”

The first workshop, whose topic is “Post-Genomic Research,” will be held Thursday, May 3, from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. at the Callier Center’s Lecture Hall (Room J.108), 1966 Inwood Road, Dallas. Speakers from U.T. Dallas, The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center and several other institutions will address a range of topics, including the state of the art in drug discovery, the basic science related to biotechnology and the role of large-scale computation in bio-medicine.

“I anticipate that biotechnology will be a subject of great interest and importance to UTD and to society in general over the next decade,” said Dr. Feng. “This workshop will feature experts who will stimulate our thinking about the ways in which we can best participate in this exciting frontier of science.”

The second workshop will address “Academia and Gigapop” and be held Friday, May 4 beginning at 8 a.m. at the McDermott Library Auditorium (Room 2.410) on the UTD Campus, 2601 North Floyd Road, Richardson. Experts from UTD, other universities and “supercomputing” centers around the nation will discuss how research universities can benefit from high-performing networking technologies.

A “gigapop” is a regional data transfer center that efficiently moves large volumes of data to the nation’s leading-edge, high-bandwidth Internet networks, including Internet2, the new university research-oriented national network. Because this “point of presence” (or pop) connects with the high-performance gigabit networks, it is commonly referred to as a “gigapop.” UTD is the site of one of only two gigapops in Texas; the other is located in Houston.

According to Dr. Feng, Internet2 – or I2, as it is commonly known – is technologically as far beyond the Internet we use in our homes and offices as a superhighway eclipses a country lane.

“The amount of information that can move over I2 in a few seconds would take three or four days to download over a typical home modem,” Dr. Feng said. “The availability of this massive amount of bandwidth promises research activities that aren’t geographically defined, but are ubiquitous – everywhere, globally, 24/7.

“It is this exciting future that the speakers at our second workshop will explore.”

For additional information about the workshops, please call UTD at 972-883-4566.

                       The University of Texas at Dallas, located at the convergence of Richardson, Plano and Dallas in the heart of the complex of major multinational technology corporations known as the Telecom Corridor®, enrolls approximately 6,500 undergraduate and 4,500 graduate students. The school’s freshman class traditionally stands at the forefront of Texas state universities in terms of average SAT scores. The university offers a broad assortment of bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programs.

Media Contact: The Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, [email protected].