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NSF earmarks $30M for game-changing Internet research

Internet security a prime factor in future research developments

By Layer 8 on Thu, 01/28/10 - 1:57pm.

So you want to build a better Internet? The National Science Foundation today said it would spread $30 million over 2-4 projects that radically transform the "Net through new security, reliability and collaborative applications. 

The NSF said its Future Internet Architectures (FIA) program wants: "Technological innovations and the requirements of emerging and yet to be discovered applications, the Internet of the future is likely to be different from that of today. Proposals should not focus on making the existing Internet better through incremental changes, but rather should focus on designing comprehensive architectures that can meet the challenges and opportunities of the 21st century." 

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The NSF went on to say that proposals should look for what it called transformative research that has the potential to enable the creation of architectures that reach beyond current core neworking components, mechanisms and application requirements. 

In an article penned earlier this month by my Network World colleague Carolyn Duffy Marsan that talked about the FIA, the NSF said they want researchers to develop more efficient ways to disseminate information and manage users' identities while taking into account emerging wireless and optical technologies. And going forward security is obviously a huge issue. 

From the Network World article: The NSF says it won't make the same mistake today as was made when the Internet was invented, with security bolted on to the Internet architecture after-the-fact instead of being designed in from the beginning. 

"We are not going to fund any proposals that don't have security expertise on their teams because we think security is so important," says Darleen Fisher, program director of the National Science Foundation's Network Technology and Systems program. "Typically, network architects design and security people say after the fact how to secure the design. We're trying to get both of these communities to stretch the way they do things and to become better team players. The telephone systems are moving from circuits to IP. Our banking system is dependent on IP. And the Internet is vulnerable." 

The NSF said FIA proposals, which are due by April 22, 2010, must include prototype plans and may require the use of research networks such as Global Environment for Network Innovations (GENI) or the National Cyber Range. 

The NSF picked Raytheon BBN to design GENI and recently gave BBN gave out $11.5 million worth of National Science Foundation grants to 33 research teams to help develop technology for GENI

The NCR has been in the news as well.  Researchers at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) this month awarded almost $56 million to two contractors it expects will develop the second phase of NCR technologies.  DARPA spent $30 million to develop Phase 1. 

DARPA says the project will develop revolutionary cyber research and development technologies.  DARPA states that the NCR will advance myriad security technologies and  "conduct unbiased, quantitative and qualitative assessment of information assurance and survivability tools in a network environment." 

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