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Results of the XIV conference of regional science and education networks' representatives "RELARN-2007"

From 6 to 9 June 2007 the XIV conference of regional science and education networks' representatives "RELARN-2007" took place. The conference was held on board of the motor ship "Georgiy Zhukov", which passed on the route Nizhniy Novgorod - Yaroslavl - Moscow. The conference this year was arranged by the "RELARN" Association and RIPN as well as the Ministry of science and education of the Russian Federation, the State Institute of Information Technologies and Telecommunications, the Institute of Applied Physics of the Russian Science Academy and the Internet Development Fund.

Altogether 228 people took part in the RELARN 2007 conference. Conference participants discussed the issues of science and education computer networks development for the following sections:

  1. Infrastructure, technology and services of science and education networks.
  2. GLORIAD and international cooperation in the area of scientific networks.
  3. Technological and informational services of the Internet.
  4. Modern information technologies in science, techniques and education.
  5. Resources and activity of educational process participants in information educational spheres (Intranet and Internet).

The issue of implantation of distance technologies, which open up big possibilities for students' self-education organization, into educational process was broadly discussed on the conference. The use of information and telecommunication technologies in educational process erases the boundaries between formal and correspondence forms of education and signifies a rising of a new integral type of education.

The conference participants have mentioned that free access to scientific information is essential for supporting creative potential of scientists and students. Scientific libraries and college libraries unite in order to solve this issue fast and qualitatively. Presently a new system of corporate catalogue filing is being introduced, Internet access to electronic catalogues from scientific and educational establishments is being provided. According to conference participants the project has a complex character and is aimed at joining efforts in accumulation and providing safety of cultural and scientific heritage of academic and university libraries as well as free user access to different informational resources in traditional and electronic forms.

The workshop devoted to information-communication development was conducted by RIPN director Alexey Platonov. It was noted that presently fiber-optic communications are used in all kinds of networks: corporate, user networks, local, regional, long distance and transcontinental communication lines. International experience demonstrates that all industrially developed countries are actively introducing special long range fiber-optic networks for scientific and educational purposes which is correlated with the development of distributed processing and storage systems (GRID) in different areas of science and education. Our scientific centers and universities should become participants of this global information-communication system which is being created right now therefore there is a need for development of high-speed fiber-optic networks within Russia. The workshop participants also looked at initiative projects, discussed the difficulties arising at their realization. The GLORIAD project and international cooperation in the area of scientific networks traditionally caused a big interest.

In addition to representatives of Russian regional academic networks the colleagues from Amsterdam University and from European scientific and educational network SURFnet participated in the work of the conference. They made a report regarding the establishment of a united federate network for access to information resources for universities and European scientific centers. According to Yuri Demchenko from Amsterdam University constant demand for increase in scientific facilities in modern fundamental and applied research calls for unification of scientific organization resources. Cooperation expansion stimulates the development of new network technologies and applications, virtualization of resources and user groups based on grid-technologies as well as the support for user mobility.

Klaas Virienga (SURFnet) attempted to persuade the audience that the introduction of federative access is a necessary component for integration of Russian scientific networks into European and international scientific networks. These networks have come a long way from the creation of high-speed transport network infrastructure to the creation of supportive distribution applications and distributed system of user access to these resources. The study of this experience and implementation of corresponding technologies by Russian universities will make it possible to create a basis for more close cooperation between Russian organizations as well as for expansion of international cooperation.

The "School sector" of RELARN Association celebrated its tenth anniversary at the conference this year. It includes a network association of school teaches who master the Internet in a creative way. At the beginning the "School sector" was aimed at teachers and students, but in 2001a decision was made to turn {"School sector" site}[http://school-sector.relarn.ru/] into "educational site for teaches", to emphasize implication of pedagogical forms and methods, to increase professional level of teachers. The whole project is being worked out by teachers for themselves and they strictly adhere to the principals of openness, democracy and technical simplicity. The "School sector" work is even more urgent now when the project of Internet connection for all educational establishments is being carried out in the framework of "Education" national project.

The participants of the conference suggested continuing the creation of educational Internet History which started in 2001 on the initiative of participants in RELARN Association conference devoted to the problems of ICT usage in schools. In 2002 a book "School sector: History of educational Internet told by its participants" was published. The book comprised stories of simple people who in the nineties created home educational Internet. School sector invites all creators of the educational Internet such as members of FIO, Intel, ISO, NTF, Microsoft, "chronicle writers" groups to participate in the compiling of a new book entitled "History of educational Internet-2".

Also a round-table discussion "Addressing in the Internet: last tendencies, general problems and perspectives of solving them" was held within the conference. It was arranged by RU-CENTER which traditionally supports RELARN conferences. The topic for round-table discussion was very interesting for many conference participants: more than 50 people gathered to discuss address space distribution in the Internet. In the course of three hour discussion three utmost important issues were determined. Firstly, settlement of the SU domain question which was called "an important cultural point" by ICANN representative Veny Markowsky during Russian Internet forum RIF 2007.Secondly the appearance of Russian language domains newly created in Cyrillic domain of upper level RF by ICANN in 2008.Thirdly, the changing into Russian rubles of the cost of domain registration in the RU zone reflected in every official document. Besides, RIPN director Alexey Platonov told about the RU domain registry modernization project and the {program}[http://www.ripn.net:8080/press/2007/local_nodes.html], implemented within that project and aimed at spreading Secondary DNS-servers of the national domain in federal districts of Russia and abroad.

Excursions in Yaroslavl, Rostov Velikiy, Gorodets, Uglich and a picnic in Pine woods were held within the cultural program of the conference. You can find more detailed information about the conference, a photo-report and information about RELARN Association activity lines on the association's official web-site - http://www.relarn.ru.



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