A tablecloth restaurant is still one of the great rewards of civilization. - Harry Golden

The NaukaNet initiative is based on many collaborative ties and relationships between Russian and American partners and institutions. The fact that one of the key organizations in this effort is a jointly managed U.S.-Russian organization focused on Internet related networking has made much simpler the task of integrating other consortium members into a talented, diverse, and productive organization.

The following are the members of the NaukaNet Consortium:

  • The Russian Research Center Kurchatov Institute
  • The University of Illinois, National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NSCA)
    • National Computational Science Allliance (NCSA)
    • Alliance Center for Collaboration, Education, Science and Software (ACCESS)
    • High Performance Strategic Networking Initiatives
  • Russian Institute for Public Networks (RIPN)
  • Friends and Partners Russia
  • Friends and Partners US
  • Teleglobe
  • Science, Technology, and Research Transit Access Point (STAR TAP)

The National Center for Supercomputing Applications is one of five orginal centers in the National Science Foundation's supercomputer Centers Program and a unit of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Since 1986, NCSA has earned and maintains an international reputation in high-performance computing and networking and in developing innovative software such as NCSA Telnet and NCSA Mosaic. In August 2001, NCSA (along with San Diego Supercomputer Center, Argonne National Laboratory, and the California Institute of Technology) was awarded the NSF Terigrid project. For more information about NCSA see: http://www.ncsa.uiuc.edu/About/NCSA For more information on the Terigrid Project see: http://www.terigrid.org

The "Friends and Partners" initiative has been active for over seven years using the Internet as a means of promoting human networking between individuals in the U.S. and the Former Soviet Union.

The F&P Russia organization brings in a wide variety of Russian organizations - including the Russian Institute for Public Networking (RIPN), one of the leaders in developing a Russian science and education network. Their long relationship with the Kurchatov Institute, ties with the VUZTelecom Center in St. Petersburg, and its own networking operations completes a strong organizational and technical base for the Russian team.

Key personnel on the initiative include the principal investigators on the U.S. side (Greg Cole and Joe Gipson), Natasha Bulashova of Friends and Partners Russia, Alexei Platonov of RIPN and Evgeny Velikhov of The Russian Research Center: Kurchatov Institute.

Together, the constituent organizations represent a talented and diverse team with a proven track record of working together on U.S.-Russian technical and academic networking initiatives.


Strengths of the NaukaNet Consortium

The administration and support requirements for NaukaNet present many interesting and difficult challenges. These include overall administration and rapid growth of a project between two countries with myriad language and cultural differences - and perhaps made more difficult by the fact that the effort is being funded jointly by the two countries.

Overall decision making, planning efforts, and day-to-day coordination are certain to present numerous challenges. There are also the more technical challenges dealing with the new development of high speed networking in Russia, the "bleeding edge" nature of some of the technologies and protocols which will be encouraged and supported, and, initially, relatively low link capacity (6 Mbps) which must immediately accommodate high demand applications.

At the same time, the NaukaNet project will be a rapidly developing and changing one. Indeed, as pointed out elsewhere in this proposal, NaukaNet is only establishing a base foundation with the current funding request. The goal is to quickly grow the capacity and the infrastructure supporting that capacity to one which will enable servicing a high number of collaborative research efforts - supported by a much higher capacity with applications demanding throughput of tens of megabits per second.

The combination of these challenges requires a very determined commitment, heavy institutional investment (in addition to the funding request), and most importantly, a very capable, compatible, flexible team with the ability to work cooperatively and diligently across the geographical, cultural, and language barriers.

One of the most important assets offered by the NaukaNet Consortium is the experience of several years of working together on network-related US-Russian cooperative initiatives. The Friends and Partners effort on which the consortium has been built represents over seven years of such cooperation in an atmosphere of shared and mutual respect and one with a long history of planning, growth, and shared decision making. Throughout its seven year history, it has jointly managed several grants - from such funding agencies as NATO, the Ford Foundation, Sun Microsystems, and the US State Department.

Likewise, the relationship with the Russian Institute of Public Network is almost seven years old now. RIPN/RELARN was the first organization in Russia to support Friends and Partners activities.

The solidity and experience of the NaukaNet consortium represents perhaps its greatest strength in managing a project which will be characterized by rapid change and by the many difficulties affecting any such cross-cultural effort.


Organizational Structure

The NaukaNet organization will be focused around the key technical, administrative, and managerial functions of operating, promoting, and growing the high speed US-Russian link. Responsibility for directing and managing the project from the U.S. side will be shared by the two co-principal investigators, the Director of Telecommunications and Network Services at UTK and the Director of the Center for International Networking Initiatives at UTK. The combination of these two centers will place NaukaNet in the context of next-generation network applications and U.S./Russian scientific and cultural cooperation and exchange.

Upon approval of this application, the investigators will work with their Russian counterparts to establish the NaukaNet advisory board comprised of US and Russian scientists and telecommunications experts who will advise the project leaders on issues related to operating and growing the NaukaNet link - its use and applications.

The project investigators will share responsibility for all operational, engineering and scientific aspects of the project. Non-engineering tasks will include applications development, promotion of the link to the R&E communication, support for the users, fund raising and development activities, interfacing with US and Russian institutions, and reporting to the public and the NSF. Project management and responsibilities for development and implementation of the business/sustainability plan will be shared with personnel from the College of Business Management program who have expressed particular interest in this initiative.

In cooperation with Russian network engineers and STAR TAP's network engineers, the project investigator will manage technical aspects of the project such as support for the link and all associated equipment as well as planning for the development of increased bandwidth and enhancement of NaukaNet services. All network engineers (NEs) will work together to ensure that advanced services are used only by HPIIS-authorized institutions and interoperable with the vBNS. All consortium partners will be requested to designate their own NEs for technical aspects of the project in which they require to be involved.

The co-investigators on this project will be responsible for implementing a procedure, in close cooperation with the Russian partners, to ensure fair and responsive approval of new institutions in Russia who wish to connect to NaukaNet. This procedure will be worked out carefully with the National Science Foundation. The investigators will also work with the Russian colleagues to ensure the appropriate routing of traffic over the connection in line with the National Science Foundation acceptable use policy. No commodity traffic will be passed over the NaukaNet link.

The co-investigators will share responsibility for the further growth and development of the NaukaNet Consortium. The initial funds to be supplied by the National Science Foundation and the Russian Ministry of Science establish a platform upon which many new projects and applications are to be developed, on which much higher bandwidth capacity is to evolve over the five years of the grant, and on which new protocols and services are to be developed with the still evolving Next Generation Internet.

In addition to its standard operation and reporting requirements, the NaukaNet team (in both US and Russia) will collaborate closely on additional fund raising for research and for applications development. The team's role in establishing the link is only a starting point with the real goal being to ensure full and innovative utilization of the link by a dramatically increased number of US-Russian scientific partnerships.

Direction of the Russian effort will be provided by RIPN with responsibilities shared with the Kurchatov Institute and Friends and Partners-Russia. Because of its key role in building and financing Russian academic networking, RIPN will assume financial responsibility for the project in Russia. Responsibilities will be shared appropriately with the Kurchatov Institute and with VUZTelecom for the technical direction and growth of high performance networking.

RIPN will function as main backbone operator. It will provide for the transatlantic transport, interact with Teleglobe and Rascom, will monitor traffic and assume overall responsibility for the link from the Russian side. RIPN will provide these services as a part of its responsibility for the Russian academic Backbone Network (RBnet) and for the development of the ATM-based MAN currently being established in Moscow.

Application support and development will be provided by the Kurchatov Institute and VUZTelecom in St. Petersburg (Vasiliev, Bogdanov, Robachevsky). They will coordinate with RIPN (and in turn with the NaukaNet team members in the U.S.) for scheduling of resources, PVCs, etc. VUZTelecom in St. Petersburg will operate the St. Petersburg ATM-based MAN and will provide technical management (with RIPN) for the connection to Moscow.

Friends and Partners-Russia will provide project management responsibilities - advising and coordinating with staff of the US team. F&P-Russia will assume responsibility for applications development, fund raising, promoting the link to the Russian R&E community, providing non-engineering support, interacting with U.S. and Russian institutions, and sharing reporting responsibilities with the U.S. project investigators.


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Funding for NaukaNet provided by the US National Science Foundation and the Ministry for Industry, Science and Technology of the Russian Federation. Telecommunications services are provided by Telia, Inc.

This NaukaNet web site is available at two locations, in US and Russia:

Updated: 2001-12-

Please contact the NaukaNet team with your comments and suggestions.

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©1996 Friends and Partners
Please write to us with any comments, questions or suggestions -- Natasha Bulashova, Greg Cole


Friends & Partners Foundation, Russia

The Russian home of all Friends & Partners activities and one of the primary FAStnet consortium members, F&P is a non-profit, charitable foundation created in 1997 to help further F&Ps activities using Internet technologies to promote increased collaboration between US and Russian citizens.

Please visit our NaukaNet page on F&P Foundation Russia for more information. Natasha Bulashova is the president of the Foundation and the NaukaNet consortium contact.