After seven years working as the Technical Chief of InnovaRed, six months ago Javier Martínez took, a new challenge: to command the Argentine academic network as its Executive Director. Martínez also played important roles in the Technical Committee of RedCLARA, enhancing the development of collaboration in e-Science of Argentina and the Latin American countries. In this interview Martínez explains the importance of Argentina’s participation both in the regional network and in TICAL2015 Conference, and also comments about the progress conducted in InnovaRed.
InnovaRed is intense and decidedly supporting the TICAL community and the development of its conferences. How is the network working to promote participation of Argentina in the 2015 edition, to be held in Viña del Mar, Chile, in July?
We are hardly working together with the MINCyT in the call for young entrepreneurs. The Ministry supports very creative initiatives that require disemination. Today, we are defining the jury that will prepare the call and evaluate the submitted papers.
In the previous edition we did support Maximiliano Picón, with his paper "A Media Network for teachers and journalism students." It is important for us that the young people show what they are doing, because new horizons and opportunities must be opened, creating the necessary conditions for these projects to be crystallized.
Regarding the call for authors, we are interested in that those institutions that are connected to the advanced networks present their experiences, showing their work and advances made in the area of communications and collaboration with other institutions, always within the themes proposed by TICAL.
Dr. Alejandro Ceccatto, secretary of scientific-technological coordination of the argentinian Ministry of Science, Technology and Productive Innovation (MINCyT), leads the e-Science program that is taking InnovaRed’s advanced Internet network to all the scientific and educational institutions in the country. How are you structuring this work and what is behind the aim of expanding even more the scope of InnovaRed?
In the view of the Secretariat, during the next years science will replace numerous laboratories, that belong to each research group, with big equipments shared by all the system, strongly communicated to a scientific network. They will generate huge databases that the researchers will explore in search of the data they need to prove - or not - their thesis.
With this vision, we work to achieve a backbone that allows the transport of large volumes of scientific data. It’s the first step of this network that will be inexorably required by the scientific system.
We are also promoting the collaboration based on ICT in the scientific communities with the National System for Microscopy and the communities of Genomics and Astronomy, for example. In addition, we are developing a prototype of e-Health services, among others; all this by sharing resources and delivering an ICT infrastructure base that allows them to incorporate this technology to their research on the same level of their peers around the world.
This transcendental collaboration at national level is even stronger when we look at the international connectivity that allows it to extend to any point of the planet.
Which are the areas seen as the most benefited through to the use of the capabilities of InnovaRed and its international connection to the global networks through RedCLARA?
As well as it happens in almost all the countries, the first users of this service were the astronomers and the high energy physicists. In particular, the National Atomic Energy Commission, that is building its entire network with local access to the advanced networks in all the points.
It is also important to mention the use made by the National Commission of Space Activities in its communications with NASA, or the National Institute of Agricultural Technology, or even the National Water Institute, among others.
In particular, the laboratory of microscopy of the physics department, in the university town of UBA, has in place a pilot service of remote access to the electronic microscope that allows researchers of different parts of the country to send samples and interact in real time with the operator of the equipment to achieve the sought results.
Thanks to the connectivity of InnovaRed to RedCLARA, Argentina has been able to participate in relevant worldwide initiatives such as the ATLAS project and the studies developed by Pierre Auger. Why is so strong the acting of InnovaRed in relation to taking the Argentinean scientific data to the rest of world? Which is the reason why you bet in finding a decidedly open connectivity to the world of the advanced networks and to the development of e-Science?
It is a policy defined in the secretariat of articulation, based on the collaboration and the knowledge dissemination, thinking about the regional use of the science in order to achieve the technological growth of the region.
Who are the most demanding users of InnovaRed and who are the users to whom the network is seeking to address?
In general, our users are demanding, conceiving the service as of excellence. But if we must highlight any of them in particular, I believe that we should speak of the National Commission of Space Activities, because its data mostly requires a treatment in real-time and its links, in general, should have an availability greater than 99.9%.
What is relevance that you give to the InnovaRed connection to its Latin American peers through RedCLARA?
I believe that it is the future. We hadn’t a lot of tradition of collaboration based in communications infrastructure and ICT, but thanks to cooperative efforts like RedCLARA, things are beginning to change. I believe that soon we will have multiple scientific communities collaborating on the infrastructure available in the region.
What challenges is currently facing InnovaRed in relation to the development of the network?
We are working hard to develop value-added services such as eduroam or the Identity Federation. Also, in the development of a streaming video and web conferencing service; all of them are cross-collaboration tools for the institutions.
Regarding the network, we are developing some interurban networks in Rosario, Mendoza and Chubut; we are also developing the 10GB ring of transport across all the central part of Argentina and preparing the changing of InnovaRed structures to the MINCyT dependencies.
How are you preparing to answer the future demands for network capacity facing the e-Science plan?
We are looking for funds to equip our backbone of 10Gb with equipments with support of 100GB cards. We also continue working to incorporate the dark fiber to the institutions, looking after the need of handling large volumes of data.
Furthermore, we are incorporating storage systems of several terabytes that will support the needs of the different scientific communities and, what is more important, using the funds allocated by the MINCyT to the different research projects.
Argentina was one of the first countries in the region to connect to RedCLARA and is one of those which have an important interaction of its researchers with the rest of the world in the development of major scientific projects. Would be possible to keep this growth if there was no partnership with RedCLARA?
Definitely not. And the limitation imposed by the distance to the collaboration among scientists would be an insurmountable problem.
What are the InnovaRed goals for the next three years?
We are working on three fundamental pillars: the first is to change the legal form of InnovaRed to achieve a greater dynamism and improve the response times to the connectivity requests, creating the appropriate framework for the development of e-Science. The second one involves an improvement of the communication costs to reach greater capacities with "marginal" or subsidized costs. If we think about the future of science, we must deliver the necessary connectivity regardless of the institutional budgets. Finally, solidify the working group, the inclusion of the project in the MINCyT and support the scientific communities that are across the science and technical institutions.