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Follow up the XVI Conference for the Representatives of Scientific and Educational Networks RELARN-2009

Yet another, XVI conference for the representatives of scientific and educational networks "RELARN-2009", was launched June 2 - 7, 2009. This time the discussion of information support for the education and science was held on board the ship "Alexander Suvorov", due from Moscow to St. Petersburg.

The conference was traditionally sponsored by the "RELARN" Association, Russian Institute for Public Networks ("RIPN"), "MSK-IX" and RU-CENTER.

The general sponsor of the conference was the Development Fund for the Internet, significant financial support was also provided by the Coordination Center for TLD RU, AMT-Group, FSI SRI ITT "Informica".

MESI and the American Charitable Foundation for Information Support of Education and Science have also participated as institutional partners.

The conference was attended by 226 people - teachers, scientists, operators of the scientific & educational networks, and other organizations from 35 cities of Russia and CIS.

It is no coincidence, that the keynote of the last conference was the information security: "RELARN-2009" has become one of the events of the "Year of secure Internet" launched in February. Special sections and round tables were dedicated not only to the security of computer networks and applications, but also to the problems of socialization of teenagers on the Internet, the characteristics of child Runet and content filtering mechanisms.

This year the RELARN conference started with a discussion of computer security related topics. Galina Soldatova, Director of Internet Development Fund, held a section of "Computer and Network Security for Science and Education" attended by representatives of universities and commercial companies. The participants shared their experience on how to build secure networks for scientific and educational institutions, taking into account reduced funding conditions. A speech by Andrew Sozykina representing the "Open Technologies" company made a vivid discussion. He spoke about the new requirements for information systems by enactment of the Federal Law "On Personal Data". Thus, the law defines 4 categories of personal data. Agencies (including universities) should be worried about the certification of software tools that conform to the legal requirements.

One of the round tables was presenting the Contest for the best online resource with positive content for children and young people held as part of the "Year of secure Internet" program. The Sponsoring Committee received more than two dozen applications, the idea of competition has encouraged some of the major stakeholders from the Internet-projects - such as Tvidi.ru and "Bibigon".

Fedor Smirnov, representative of RU-CENTER, spoke about another point of critical importance to the security of the modern Internet. His reports outlined popular vulnerabilities in the Domain Name System (DNS) and the errors made by Runet users - registrants.

Traditionally, a separate section dedicated to infrastructure, technology and services, scientific and educational networks, was held by the Director of "RIPN" Alexey Platonov. The staff of Belgorodsky Technology University spoke about the progress in building an information network at the regional level. Currently the educational institutions in the Belgorod region are interconnected via the multiservice-network IP MPLS belonging to "CenterTelecom". In future it is intended to build the internal information network, linking not only universities and schools, but also administrative agencies. One of the promising network applications is heat supply control.

The participants received a unique opportunity to share their experience in building information networks. For example, the staff of UB RAS, Southern Federal University, State University of Vladimir provided their own point of view at the scientific and educational network. The reports also stressed the lack of computing capacities in educational institutions, the development of grid-computing and Russian ICT infrastructure as a whole.

The discussions that took place in the "RELARN" Association school sector addressed "network projects" and "communities". Teachers from Moscow and various regions of Russia, as well as from Belarus and Ukraine shared their own observations about the information support for schools. According to some teachers the national "Education" project and other regional initiatives sometimes suffer annoying distortions in their implementation. For example, the active promotion of Macintosh computers in Moscow schools and forthright introduction of Moodle environment as the "standard" in distance learning. In sections school teachers shared their successful experience in using ICT in education, moreover, blogs, wiki and forums for many of them have already become a commonplace tool of work. A number of reports were dedicated to educational initiatives of the Intel Corporation or work experience with the "CM-School" system. The conference also summed up the first year of the "RU-CENTER - for the future" program intended to support Internet-resources of educational institutions.

At the final stage of the "RELARN-2009" conference the members discussed the prospects of the RUNET domain area. RU-CENTER staff presented the current situation in the RU domain, generic TLDs and spoke about the prospects for the registration of domain names consisting of national alphabet characters. Andrey Romanov, Deputy Director of the Coordination Center for TLD RU, followed the discussion and made his speech about Cyrillic domains. He presented the audience "The concept of registration of second level domain names in the RF domain". The final speech about RU and SU Domains Technical Center was given by Alexey Platonov, RIPN Director. Further to deployment of RU domain servers in Russia and abroad, he mentioned the idea to create a DNS-operator, who would be able to enter the world market.

The reports and vivid discussions in the lobbies were perfectly complemented with a rich cultural program. The participants of the conference took way through Tver, Yaroslavl, Vologda and Karelia regions. The passengers of "Alexander Suvorov" visited Uglich, Goritza and Kirilo-Belozersky Monastery, saw the famous Church of the Transfiguration on Kizhi Island. Many conference attendees were mostly impressed by the stop in the small village of Upper Mandrogi, where the passengers had an opportunity to taste some barbecue, dance to gusli and balalaika and even visit the "Lukomorye" zoo. The "RELARN-2009" participants were accompanied by live music performed by the string quartet "Grand Prix" and the duet "Violin and Guitar".



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