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Tidia on the way up

Advanced Internet program will analyze 123 pre-projects

Over the next three months, the coordinators of the Information Technology in the Development of the Advanced Internet Program (Tidia in the Portuguese acronym) will face hard task: analyzing and consolidating proposals of 123 pre-projects sent to FAPESP in reply to the call for proposals issued in October. “It was an agreeable surprise”, says Carlos Antônio Ruggiero, from the Institute of Physics of the University of São Paulo, in São Carlos, one of Tidia’s coordinators. “The most optimist of the group betted that the number of pre-projects would not come to more than 80.” They will all be analyzed, classified and gathered into a small number of cooperative projects, on common themes and objectives. The results of the analysis of the projects will be published in February or March this year.

Tidia has the objective of transforming the Internet into a subject for research. It provides for the creation of an optic fiber network with a speed of 400 gigabits/s, built in partnership with private enterprise. To start out, it will connect São Paulo, Campinas and São Carlos and, afterwards, other cities of the state of São Paulo. This network will be a test bed, with architecture capable of supporting a communal laboratory for multi-users, where research will be carried which sent to the program and implemented through the academic networks. The support for research meets the second objective of the program, which is to form specialists in the development of technologies for the Internet.

Network technology
The themes for research proposed in the 123 projects were also surprising for the equilibrium between two themes: Internet applications and network technology properly speaking. “Half of the proposals deals with telemedicine, tele-education, virtual government, virtual library, amongst others. We were afraid that only network personnel would answer the call”, Ruggiero commemorates. A first analysis of the projects also revealed the lack of interaction between the group of researchers with proposals for researching into Internet applications and the group that intends to investigate network infrastructure.

“They are distinct groups. By integrating the projects in Tidia, we will be enforcing cooperative work”, he explains. In the course of the analysis of the projects, the coordination of the program may consult the community on the consolidation of the pre-projects, and may possibly make room for new proposals. The projects will be able to count on funds from FAPESP of R$ 10 million at the least, but they will also receive support from private companies, future partners in the program. “We are in contact with manufacturers of telecommunications equipment, access providers, and some agencies of the São Paulo government. They are all now showing interest in taking part in the program.” In spite of the projects having an open content, Ruggiero has no doubts that Tidia will attract significant support from partners.

Each company may take part in areas of specific interest, as it happens in the United States, where Internet 2 is not just a project for a high speed network, but also one for cooperation with private enterprise. The support of the government is also regarded as fundamental, be it in the capacity of partner, be it in the capacity of facilitating agent, since the program will need, for example, authorization to use the optic fiber ducts that stretch alongside the highways of São Paulo.

The new program consolidates FAPESP’s participation in the history of the Internet in Brazil, which started with the creation of the ANSP network in 1989. The Foundation has also been the sole and main international link, responsible for academic traffic, and, at the request of the Internet Management Committee, is currently responsible for the registration of domains in the country.