Yale Human Anatomy Program Selected as National Model Of Enhanced Research Capability with Internet2

Yale University’s study of human anatomy in collaboration with the National Library of Medicine (NLM) has been selected as one of the showcase applications of the Internet2 Project, a multiuniversity effort to create a leading-edge, national network for the research community that is faster and less congested than today’s Internet.

The Yale project, which requires high-speed exchange of three-dimensional digital images used for physician training and research, will be featured at the National Internet2 Members Conference in Washington, D.C., April 14-17. Reporters are invited to the demonstration and a VIP reception 5:30-7 p.m. April 14 at Highway 1, 601 Pennsylvania Ave. N.W., Suite 520 (enter on Indiana Avenue between 6th and 7th streets). Demonstrations continue from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. April 15-16 and from 9 a.m. to noon April 17.

Viewing the multimedia anatomical images requires the transfer of hundreds of megabytes of data during each working session, said C. Carl Jaffe, professor of diagnostic radiology and leader of Yale’s Center for Advanced Instructional Media. Jaffe accesses and analyzes large images and organ models from the NLM’s Visible Human Project in Bethesda, Maryland. He also is leading a collaboration with the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico involving image indexing and distribution of large medical databases.

Such data-intensive collaborations are not possible on today’s Internet, owing to insufficient bandwidth (the speed at which data are transmitted), said Daniel A. Updegrove, director of Yale’s Information Technology Services. In addition, the Internet’s national infrastructure has become congested by millions of commercial, governmental, educational and avocational users.

The need for a faster network to support advanced research and educational applications led a group of universities, including Yale, to launch Internet2 in October 1996. Currently, more than 100 universities participate in the project, managed by the non-profit University Corporation for Advanced Internet Development (UCAID).

Internet2 currently uses as its national spine the very High Performance Backbone Network Service (vBNS), a National Science Foundation-funded network operating at 622 megabits per second, which is between 3 and 13 times faster than current commercial Internet backbones, Updegrove noted. Ultimately, the vBNS will operate at 2.4 billion bits per second.

Yale received a $350,000, two-year NSF grant last June to connect the University’s campus-wide network to the MCI-operated vBNS. Yale, in turn, is investing more than $350,000 to upgrade network electronics on the campus backbone to enable individual researchers to connect workstations to the network at speeds of 100 megabits per second and higher.

Other meritorious scientific applications featured in Yale’s NSF grant application are:

- High-energy physics research, led by physics professor Michael Zeller, in collaboration with leading experimental facilities such as the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center in California, Fermi National Accelerator Lab in Illinois, Brookhaven National Lab on Long Island, and CERN in Geneva, Switzerland.

- Imaging of the visual cortex, led by Steven Zucker, professor of computer science and electrical engineering. In collaboration with colleagues at the University of California at San Francisco, Yale scientists are conducting research in computational neuroscience and optical imaging.

“We anticipate numerous other research, teaching and clinical applications of high-speed networking on campus and beyond,” said Updegrove, who is principal investigator on the NSF grant. “Universities are fortunate that the NSF foresaw the need for an advanced research networking capability and reserved funding to make it happen. We also anticipate that the network performance, management and applications developed through Internet2 will find their way into the wider Internet community – the success of which can then be predicted to spur a demand for Internet3.”

More information is available at:

http://info.med.yale.edu/caim/ – Yale’s Center for Advanced Instructional Media, and at:

http://www.yale.edu/internet – Yale’s NSF grant proposal and other information about high-performance networking at the University.

http://www.vbns.net – NSF very High Performance Backbone Network Service.

http://www.internet2.edu – Internet2 Project.

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