UH Project Will Help Shape Future Internets

The University of Houston has been selected as one of 10 universities nationwide to be involved in the rollout of the Global Environment for Network Innovations (GENI), a prestigious National Science Foundation (NSF) project that will profoundly influence the future of networking.

UH's participation will enable research innovations that will shape the technical infrastructure of future internets and their impact on society. Other universities selected for participation include Clemson, Duke, Georgia Tech, Northwestern, New York University and Princeton.

The hardware, scheduled for installation this month, has state-of-the-art networking capabilities and computing resources that will facilitate advanced research on network protocols. The single rack IBM 1410 cluster will enable Open Resource Control Architecture (ORCA), one of the leading GENI control frameworks to establish network connectivity and reserve computing resources over the GENI national infrastructure.

The installation of advanced networking capabilities will have a substantial impact on the university's eligibility for funding to conduct advanced experiments, expanding its competitiveness. Funding entities increasingly look for a readily established cyber infrastructure in addition to innovative research proposals.

Dr. Deniz Gurkan, associate professor of engineering technology in the College of Technology, spearheaded this effort. Her projects, in combination with the university's technical infrastructure and IT support, demonstrated the prerequisite capabilities for hosting a GENI node at UH. Gurkan's group plans to seek additional funding and contribute to the next phase of the GENI project.

"Our contributions to the development of GENI infrastructure will continue to grow. In addition, we are going to utilize GENI to propose and test novel interoperability solutions affecting data exchange in network measurements, and science and engineering data," Gurkan said.

Gurkan credits the existence of the advanced cyber infrastructure of another UH-led project, the Research and Education Network of Houston (RENoH), for providing a competitive advantage in the selection process. RENoH was founded by Cullen University Chair and Texas Learning & Computation Center (TLC2) Director Lennart Johnsson.

The UH IT department played a primary role in bringing this effort to fruition and will play an active role in future deployment efforts by managing equipment at the UH site and providing support for future innovation projects. The research experiments conducted by Gurkan and other researchers will be shared with the broader GENI community and help fuel the next phase of Internet development.