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Designing the Technological Environment in Which Society Lives, Works, and Communicates


redicting the future is a risky business. It's difficult to extrapolate, for example, that the creation of a new material will benefit health care. One path might involve dozens of researchers from an unusually wide variety of disciplines to transform the material into nanotechnology circuits, which, in turn, are applied to novel miniature sensors that can send measurement data by radio. Simultaneously, efforts in networking, bioengineering, security technologies, and health-care policy converge with these new sensors to make possible sensors embedded in the human body that provide real-time health monitoring for elderly or other at-risk patients. Instead of predicting this future, the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology-Cal-(IT)2-is designing this future with two hundred scientists from across two campuses, including SDSC, and spread across disciplines from physics and engineering to art and music.

Figure 1. Cal-(IT)2 Layers

To coordinate the activities of more than 200 scientists across the UCSD and UC Irvine campuses, Cal-(IT)2 is organized into five interlocking layers.

"Our institute's mission is simple: Extend the reach of the current information infrastructure throughout the physical world. But as simple as this statement is, the research required to bring the new Internet into being is formidable," said Larry Smarr, institute director of Cal-(IT)2 and professor of Computer Science and Engineering at the UCSD Jacobs School of Engineering. "No single investigator could hope to study this emerging infrastructure in its entirety, nor does any single company have sufficient resources. That's why we need an interdisciplinary institute of such broad scope."

Cal-(IT)2, led by UCSD in partnership with UC Irvine, was recently established by Governor Gray Davis as one of the California Institutes for Science and Innovation. Cal-(IT)2 is being funded by a four-year, $100 million state allocation matched by more than $250 million from industry, federal, private, and university resources. Cal-(IT)2 joins some 220 UCSD and UC Irvine faculty, including many from SDSC, with more than 40 leading California telecommunications, computer, and software companies.

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To understand the integrated system that will be the environment in which society lives, works, communicates, and entertains itself, Cal-(IT)2 teams researchers from academia and industry whose efforts will foster the innovation that will lead to real-world changes 10 years down the road.

The intricate interactions between applications and new Internet technologies will be identified by deploying prototype "smart environment" testbeds, in which institute participants will "work in the future." Researchers will experiment with algorithms and systems, industrial partners will gain first-hand experience with product prototypes, students will become the next generation of leaders in research and development, and policy makers and management experts will study emerging issues.

Cal-(IT)2 is creating these living laboratories on a foundation of current activities at UCSD, SDSC, and UC Irvine, in environment and civil infrastructure, personalized medicine, intelligent transportation, networking, computing, new media arts, and education. These testbeds focus on issues that are relevant today and that will become critical in the future. In environment and civil infrastructure, for example, Cal-(IT)2 will build on efforts at UCSD and UC Irvine to embed wireless monitoring sensors in bridges to prototype a statewide bridge health-monitoring program.

SDSC will play a key role in establishing the Cal-(IT)2 networking and computing testbeds. The High-Performance Wireless Research and Education Network (HPWREN)-a project led by SDSC and the Scripps Institution of Oceanography-has already constructed a high-performance wireless backbone connecting UCSD and remote areas of San Diego County, for example. Cal-(IT)2 will take lessons learned from HPWREN and similar ground-breaking projects to build a Southern California Wireless Environmental Sensor Network and Information System from the Sierra mountain range on the east to the outer limits of the Southern California continental shelf on the west. The Cal-(IT)2 optical network backbone will join with the National Transparent Optical Network, on which SDSC is collaborating with Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL).

In computing, Cal-(IT)2 is building commodity clusters in collaboration with SDSC and industrial partners including IBM and Entropia, a distributed-computing start-up company. SDSC and LLNL will also collaborate with Cal-(IT)2 to explore the commercial feasibility of "extreme computing" architectures. And to integrate all Cal-(IT)2 resources into a computing grid, SDSC and NPACI partner USC/ISI will install the Globus Toolkit on all resources to extend grid computing to the wireless testbeds.

Finally, UCSD itself will become an educational technology testbed. In expanding to accept more than 10,000 additional students over the next 10 years, UCSD is establishing Sixth College, with a theme of "Art, Culture, and Technology." A wireless communications infrastructure will be woven into the fabric of the college's facilities and curriculum. Students will both learn about Cal-(IT)2 technology and live within it to provide feedback to guide its development.

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These testbeds are only the starting points, however. "Cal-(IT)2 scientists and engineers from both UC Irvine and UCSD will work with industry to develop new materials, devices, circuits, software, and systems, and integrate them into workable prototypes that will help improve the quality of life, maintain industry leadership, and create new companies that will keep our economy strong for the next 20 to 40 years," said Peter Rentzepis, Cal-(IT)2 division director, UC Presidential Chair, and UC Irvine professor of chemistry.

In other words, Cal-(IT)2 provides the critical mass-220 researchers from two campuses and more than 40 industrial partners-to move these testbeds into smart environments. To coordinate this effort, Cal-(IT)2 has organized itself as five interlocking "layers," each teaming academic, industrial, and educational leaders on interdisciplinary problems (Figure 1).

Materials and device technologies developed over the past few decades have spurred the current explosive growth of computing systems, wireless communications, and optical networks. The Cal-(IT)2 Materials and Devices layer, led by Ivan Schuller of UCSD and G.P. Li of UC Irvine, will create facilities to study molecular materials, micro-electromechanical system devices, and materials and devices for wireless and optical networks. From SDSC, Peter Taylor, deputy director and a computational chemist, will be studying the theory of defects in ionic lattices.

In the Networked Infrastructure layer, Cal-(IT)2 has assembled a team from UCSD's Center for Wireless Communications, Center for Magnetic Recording Research, SDSC, and UC Irvine's Center for Pervasive Communications and Embedded Systems Research Center. Together, these researchers, led by Paul Siegel of UCSD and Magda El Zarki of UC Irvine, will innovate and integrate technologies and protocols for digital wireless and optical broadband network architectures, as well as integrate sensor and storage technologies into the new Internet. SDSC will contribute expertise in and tools for engineering and maintaining these networks through K.C. Claffy and the Cooperative Association for Internet Data Analysis (CAIDA).

The new Internet will require major advances in software, and the Interfaces and Software Systems layer, led by Bill Griswold of UCSD and Dan Gajski of UC Irvine, will target secure and scalable distributed system software, mobile agents, knowledge management and data mining, and human-computer interfaces. The researchers in this layer include SDSC Fellows Scott Baden, Larry Carter, Andrew Chien, and Ben Rosen, long-time SDSC collaborators Rik Belew, Charles Elkan, Jeanne Ferrante, David Kirsh, and Joe Pasquale, as well as Chaitanya Baru, from SDSC's Data-Intensive Computing Environments (DICE) group, and Philip Papadopoulos of SDSC's Distributed Systems group. In addition, Tom Perrine from SDSC's Pacific Institute for Computer Security and researchers from the Scientific Visualization group will contribute their expertise.

At the next layer, Cal-(IT)2 has chosen four Strategic Applications to work with the technology layers to guide and apply optimal development choices in a "real-world" testbed context. The applications (and their respective leaders) are Environment and Civil Infrastructure (William Hodgkiss of UCSD and Maria Feng of UC Irvine), Intelligent Transportation (Mohan Trivedi of UCSD and Wilfred Recker of UC Irvine), Digitally Enabled Genomic Medicine (John Wooley of UCSD and Pierre Baldi of UC Irvine), and New Media Arts (Sheldon Brown of UCSD and Alan Terricciano of UC Irvine).

With its 10 years of expertise in computational biology, bioinformatics, and telemedicine, SDSC is most heavily involved in the genomic medicine area. SDSC scientists and SDSC Fellows-including Phil Bourne, Mark Ellisman, Michael Gribskov, Reagan Moore, Shankar Subramaniam, Lynn Ten Eyck, and Wooley-will be key participants in combining the trove of biomedical data with wireless networking to deliver immediate, personalized diagnosis and treatment.

Finally, Cal-(IT)2 recognizes that technological development does not happen in a vacuum. The Policy, Management, and Socioeconomic Evolution layer (Peter Cowhey of UCSD and Vijay Gurbaxani of UC Irvine) includes researchers from UCSD and UC Irvine to study how policy and management drive the Internet's evolution and, conversely, how the new Internet will cause society's institutions to evolve.

Cal-(IT)2 is also set up to study and re-invent how the future Internet will affect education. With connections to every layer, the Cal-(IT)2 education participants, including Sixth College Provost Gabriele Wienhausen, Ann Redelfs of SDSC, and SDSC Fellow Geoffrey Bowker of UCSD, will take advantage of this unique opportunity to integrate research, commerce, and education to benefit students.

"We carefully designed vertical links between the layers to create an integrated whole that encourages faculty to 'think outside the box,'" Smarr said. "Many participating faculty have commented that the proposal process started changing the culture of the campuses into a more cross-disciplinary effort. Without the Governor's initiative, it would have been impossible for an integrated approach on this scale-focused on serious California and national problems-to have come into being." -DH

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Institute Director
Larry Smarr

Division Directors
Ramesh Rao

Peter Rentzepis
UC Irvine

Chief Scientist
Ronald Graham