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News 08-07-2001

Natural Language Speech Recognition Technology

Avaya Inc. and the University of Colorado at Boulder recently announced a joint research initiative to speed development of natural language speech recognition technology for self-paced training programs and other business applications. To fund this research, Avaya has donated $250,000 to the university's Center for Spoken Language Research (CSLR) and Alliance for Technology, Learning, and Society (ATLAS) initiative. The two university entities will work with local Avaya research and development experts in developing and testing new speech recognition technologies. The joint project is expected to create a new generation of voice recognition tools that intelligently engage users with greater levels of verbal and visual perception. CU-Boulder students enrolled in the ATLAS Technology, Arts and Media program will assist in developing test strategies for the interactive training tools. In addition, CSLR will use a portion of the donation to create a toolkit that simplifies speech recognition application development and integration.

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Adobe to Make e-Textbooks Available this Fall

Adobe Systems today announced that it is working with education publishers Addison Wesley Higher Education Group; Digital Scanning; Houghton-Mifflin, College division; McGraw-Hill; South-Western, a division of Thomson Learning; and John Wiley & Sons to offer electronic textbooks based on Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF) for the Adobe Acrobat eBook Reader. In addition to study guides, the eTextbooks will cover a broad range of general topics such as accounting, business, chemistry, English, history, marketing, mathematics, and political science. Students will be able to download the Adobe Acrobat eBook Reader at no charge and purchase the eTextbooks directly from the publishers' Web sites, university bookstores, online book retailers, and

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MIT's Media Lab May Add On

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology is reported to be considering two new offshoots of its Media Lab--one in Korea and
one in Latin America. The proposed projects would add to the Media Lab's growing international network, which includes Media Lab-Europe, in Dublin, and the recently-announced Media Lab-Asia,in India.

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Online College to Close Doors

Harcourt Higher Education, which launched an online for-profit college in Massachusetts last year, is closing the school's virtual doors Sept. 28. Remaining students will have their credentials reviewed by the U.S. Open University, the American affiliate of the Open University in England.

Fiber Optic Based Network Now Spans the Pacific

Recently, the AARNet (the Australian Academic and Research Network) activated its trans-Pacific optical fiber connection to the Pacific Northwest Gigapop (PNWGP) at the University of Washington in Seattle, Washington. The Pacific Northwest Gigapop is a primary interconnection point for advanced research and education networks in Canada, the U.S., and now the Pacific Rim. The trans-Pacific fiber optic cable is part of the Southern Cross Cable Network and spans 30,500 km under the Pacific with landing sites in Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Hawaii, Oregon, and California.

The first connections through the Pacific Northwest Gigapop will be to CA*net 3 and Internet2 backbone networks, the advanced research and education networks of Canada and the United States, respectively. Early deployment of multicast multimedia connections across the new links will allow Australia's participation in SC2001, the first truly global technical conference on Grid technology and applications.

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WebCT Announces IMS Content Migration

WebCT, a provider of integrated e-learning systems for higher education, today announced the availability of an IMS Content Migration Utility for the latest version of its market-leading e-learning software, WebCT 3.6, in both Standard and Campus Editions.? The IMS Utility is also backwards compatible with previously-released versions of the software, WebCT 3.1.3, and WebCT 3.5 Standard and Campus Editions.? The IMS Utility is available online ( and can be implemented by current WebCT license holders through a simple download process.

Institute Partners With Supercomputing Center

A new partnership between the Institute for Systems Biology and the Arctic Region Supercomputing Center at the University of Alaska Fairbanks will support research related to genes and proteins in which extremely large datasets will be analyzed to better understand diseases and identify potential treatments and preventative strategies. The Institute and ARSC are linked via an extremely high-bandwidth connection that allows researchers at both centers to quickly transfer massive amounts of information. The ARSC, located on the University of Alaska Fairbanks campus, provides computational resources to scientists and engineers within the University, the Department of Defense and other academic and government agencies. The supercomputers operated by ARSC provide the memory and processing power to tackle problems that are too large to be handled by the average desktop machine. The center supports a 32-processor Cray SV1ex, a 272-processor Cray T3E and a 200-processor IBM SP. In addition, the center supports two StorageTek robotic tape silos and a variety of networking and visualization hardware and software.

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HorizonLive Desktop Lecture

Jennifer Hofmann, Virtual Classroom Designer at InSync Training will present a free interactive lecture, "Tips for Teaching Synchronously," delivered live, Tuesday,?August?14, at?4:00 PM EST. To register, visit

Don't Miss These Upcoming Events from 101communications:

TDWI World Conference, Summer 2001, Anaheim, CA, August 12-17.
No-Nonsense Data Warehousing and Business Intelligence Education. For more information, please visit:

MCP TechMentor Fall in San Francisco, September 4-8.
Bridge the distance between Windows NT and Windows 2000. Onsite Testing Available! Visit

XML One & Web Services One - September 30-October 4, San Jose, CA. Online registration now open!

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