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UIC News Tips
University of Illinois at Chicago Office of Public Affairs (MC 288)
601 S. Morgan St., Chicago, IL 60607-7113, (312) 996-3456, www.uic.edu/depts/paff

October 4, 2000 Contact: Bill Burton (312) 996-2269; burton@uic.edu
  Laura Wolf (312) 996-3002; laura@evl.uic.edu


Chinese and Chilean scientists are now connected with U.S. and international colleagues through STAR TAP -- the global advanced network access point managed by the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Within the span of one week, STAR TAP engineers hooked-up Chile's REUNA and China's CERNET research and education networks to the universal exchange point STAR TAP, providing the two countries access to over 100 U.S. universities and national laboratories, and most of the world's premier networks.

The Science, Technology, and Research Transit Access Point, or STAR TAP, is a Next Generation Internet data exchange point, or NGIX -- a proving ground for long-term interconnection and interoperability of advanced international networking. Launched in 1997, it provides a universal data traffic exchange point in the United States where international networks have formal agreements to exchange data traffic with the National Science Foundation's vBNS and other advanced networks, such as Internet2's Abilene, and those of the U.S. Department of Energy, Department of Defense and NASA.

For China, the connection enhances the Institute of Microbiology of the Chinese Academy of Science's ability to collaborate on Bio-Mirror, a worldwide project that provides high-speed access to DNA and protein data banks. For Chile, as partners in the multinational Gemini project to build twin astronomical observatories atop Hawaii's Mauna Kea and Chile's Cerro Pachon, astronomers will be able to rapidly exchange observatory data with colleagues worldwide.

"Chile has a small, but very active scientific community," said REUNA executive director Florencio Utreras. "For a country like ours, being integrated into the scientific community by electronic means is a must. Our scientific capacity depends upon our links to the world, without which there is no critical mass for any scientific project. We view our connection to STAR TAP as an important point in the development of a scientific infrastructure."

CERNET is the largest academic Internet backbone in China, connecting more than 700 universities in 130 cities. "Connecting to STAR TAP is China's first step in participating in the research and development of the next-generation Internet," said Xing Li, CERNET networking engineer.

The addition of China and Chile bring the number of international research networks peering at STAR TAP to 12. Other peerers are CA*net3 (Canada), CERN (European Laboratory for Particle Physics), IUCC (Israel's Inter-University Computation Center), MIRnet (Russia), NORDUnet (Nordic countries), SURFnet (The Netherlands), RENATER2 (France), SingAREN (Singapore), APAN (Asia-Pacific) and TANet2 (Taiwan).

STAR TAP is managed by the Electronic Visualization Laboratory at UIC, aided by the Math and Computer Science Division of Argonne National Laboratory, and it is operated by Ameritech Advanced Data Services.

STAR TAP is funded by the National Science Foundation.

- UIC -

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