Research at high speed

Foundation launches an notice for the program of Advanced Internet

In October, FAPESP is launching a notice for the presentation of pre-projects for the special program Information Technology in the Development of the Advanced Internet (Tidia). The program wants to mobilize universities and research institutes around projects related, for example, to network engineering, highway traffic control, characteristics of optical fibers, software and the development of specific applications for each area of knowledge.

“The Tidia is going to transform the Internet into an object of research” says Luis Fernández López, of the Department of Medical Information Technology of the Medical School of USP and a member of the commission that is coordinating the program. The Foundation will have to invest, at the minimum, R$ 10 million into the program which will have duration of five years. There also is the possibility of the Tidia counting upon additional resources from the Information Technology Law and from private companies.

The first step will be to create, in partnership with the private sector, a network of optical fibers with a velocity of up to 400 gigabytes, linked, initially, to the cities of São Paulo, Campinas and São Carlos and afterwards to other cities in the state. The current network has a velocity of 155 megabytes. The new network will be a test bed, which will function as a multi-use community laboratory for the development of research and the implementation of academic networks. The test bed will permit, for example, the realization of video conferences in a multipoint network.

Another objective of the Tidia is to form specialists in the development of technologies for the Internet. “We need people who know the network”, says Hugo Fragnito, of the Physics Institute of Unicamp and a member of the commission. The starting point is a partnership with private companies, above all those in telecommunications. Each company could participate in areas of specific interest, as happens in the United States, where the Internet 2 is not just a high speed network project, but also has the cooperation of private initiative. The support of the government is also considered fundamental for the development of the project. The expectation is that the public effort acts as an assisting agent, authorizing, for example, the use of the optical fiber ducts that extend along the highways.

With the new program, FAPESP is consolidating its participation in the history of the Internet in Brazil. Back in 1989, through the ANSP network, the Foundation carried out a pioneering role in this area. FAPESP has already been the only and main international link, responsible for academic traffic, and through the request of the Administrating Committee of the Internet in Brazil, it took over the responsibility of the registration of “br” domains. The Genome Project, for example, was only possible because the ANSP network was in existence, developed by the Foundation. The same thing happened with the Biotas Program,which is mapping the São Paulo biodiversity. With the Tidia, the process will be inverted: from infrastructure to research, the Internet itself will turn into an object of research.