by Laura Abba and Stefano Trumpy
The evolution of the telematics services within CNR is briefly described against the background of current European trends (deployment of the next generation backbone for research, deployment of the Advanced Communications Technologies and Services (ACTS) and Telematics programmes of the EU).
Stefano Trumpy, CNUCE-CNR, was one of the members of the EU panel "Telematics for research" which was responsible for preparing a specific section of the Telematics Programme Workplan of the Fourth Framework Programme. The more visible results of the panel include:
CNR in general, and CNUCE in particular, are well prepared and willing to play a non-marginal role in the implementation of the Telematics and ACTS programmes (see the article by Luciano Lenzini in this section).
With respect to point 1, as a founding member of the GARR network in Italy, CNUCE is putting pressure on MURST (the Ministry for University, Scientific and Technological Research) to initiate the upgrade of the present national backbone. At the same time, INFN (National Institute for High Energy Physics) and CNR are participating actively in the EUREKA/EuroCAIRN project, which aims at increasing the backbone bandwith in Europe to 34Mbps. On the other hand, the implementation of the extended MAN in Tuscany (Pisa and Firenze are already active and connected, Siena will be linked shortly) is now extending those services currently available on local networks over a geographic area.
With reference to the second point, through its direct connection to EUROPANET at 2Mbps, CNUCE is well placed to experiment some of the most interesting services with its national and international partners, especially in view of the next upgrades of the backbone. In particular, we can mention here the MBONE for teleconferencing over Internet; technological solutions are now being experimented to improve the quality of this service over a limited bandwidth at no extra cost.
Another set of important services are the information servers (gopher, www) and information discovery and retrieval systems such as Mosaic. The multimedia aspect of these services is now being tested with the aim of optimizing performances with the currently available bandwith. Some interesting applications are being carried out with industrial users (see the article by Patrizia Palamidese in the July number of ERCIM News).
In order to satisfy the requirements of point 3, CNUCE is actively cooperating with a local research consortium (Consorzio Pisa Ricerche) with the aim of promoting technology transfer towards industry and local governmental agencies in Tuscany, thus extending telematic services to non-academic communities. The Tuscan Regional Headquarters is about to launch an extensive high technology programme with the objective of increasing the competitiveness of the region. The Consorzio Pisa Ricerche, with the technical and scientific support of CNUCE, has been given a mandate to provide telematic services to potentially interested enterprises. The existing telematics infrastructure means that Tuscany is a particularly suitable candidate to become a "Digital Site" of the Telematics programme.