Internet2 fire hose aimed at McCormick Place

December 3, 2002

Some serious question may exist as to whether former Vice President Al Gore was the father of the Internet, but there is no disputing where its progeny, Internet2, arose. It was conceived in a Chicago hotel basement in 1996 by a group of scientists who

Some serious question may exist as to whether former Vice President Al Gore was the father of the Internet, but there is no disputing where its progeny, Internet2, arose.

It was conceived in a Chicago hotel basement in 1996 by a group of scientists who were concerned that the original research-related Internet had devolved into nothing more than a method of swapping e-mail or stealing music. They wanted to return to the original vision - to provide a high-bandwidth, academic-oriented network.

Six years later, the fiber-optic fingers of Internet2, or Next Generation Internet (NGI), emanating from one of 30 high-capacity centers of a network called Abilene, touch 190 U.S. universities, as well as government and industry partners.

For the next several years, one of the drops will be at McCormick Place during the annual RSNA meeting.

"This is an important milestone in the promotion of the next generation of the Internet," said Dr. R. Gilbert Jost, a member of the RSNA board of directors responsible for communication and corporate relations. "As a result of the cooperation between RSNA, McCormick Place, the National Library of Medicine (NLM), and the Internet2 organization, Internet2 connectivity will be available here in McCormick Place for the next three years."

The implications to medicine are cosmic. The data transmission capacity of the current Internet is a water pistol compared with the fire hose of Internet2. The bandwidth on the circuits on the Abilene network is currently 2.4 Gb per second - 43,000 times faster than a dial-up 56K modem.

Exotic projects investigating Internet2 and telepresence, teleimmersion, teletrauma, telemammography, internetworking, and nomadic computing are already under way.

The RSNA will be the first organization to take advantage of this opportunity, and several examples of the medical implications of Internet2 are being demonstrated in the East Hall, next to the infoRAD exhibits.

NGI availability means that a whole new set of applications can be developed based on the ability to control, feel, and manipulate devices at a distance, said Michael Ackerman, Ph.D., NLM assistant director for high-performance computing and communications.

With Internet2, radiologists will finally have the ability to transmit large image files, such as cross-sectional CT scans, which might include as many as 3000 images, from one site to another.