News Update :: Tuesday, September 5, 2006


Research Mega-Nets to Deploy Next-Gen Energy Science Net

The Department of Energy’s Energy Sciences Network (ESnet) and Internet2, two of the U.S.’s leading higher education and scientific research networks, formed a partnership to deploy a high-capacity nationwide network to support D'E’s scientific research.

Called ESnet4, the network will start to operate on two dedicated 10 gigabit-per-second wavelengths on the new Internet2 nationwide infrastructure. Over the next four to five years, the network will scale by one wavelength per year in order to meet the needs of large-scale D'E projects such as the Large Hadron Collider, the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider at Brookhaven National Lab, and several supercomputing centers.

The new network will also deliver production IP capabilities and new optical services like point-to-point dynamic circuits that will serve as an advanced platform for scientists and researchers supported by ESnet. “ESnet and Internet2 share a common technical vision for the evolution of dynamically delivered network capabilities that will enable the next- generation of scientific breakthroughs,” said Bill Johnston, head of ESnet at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. “In creating this partnership, ESnet and Internet2 will [enable] our scientific community to focus its resources on its core research and educational objectives.”

For more information, click here.

Penn Mixes Biz, Tech Education to Train 'Learning' Execs

The University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education is partnering with its Wharton Business School to offer a program designed to educate the “chief learning officer” (CLO) in an organization. The “Executive Program in Work-Based Learning Leadership” would integrate coursework in “business, technology, and strategy within the context of work-related learning.” This is according to the statement the university made to announce the program, which opens its first class in January, 2007.

“The goal is to enable the learning leader, often called the chief learning officer (CLO) or head of talent development, to function at the same strategic level as the rest of the senior executives in their organizations,” according to the university. The organizers noted that two trends have emerged to support “a formalized approach to work-based learning leadership.” These are “[the] emergence of corporate universities,” as well as the fact that “the idea of a…CLO has resonated within many organizations.”

Wharton School Vice Dean Jon Spector said the offering will help elevate learning as part of business vision. He added, “the program will help learning officers speak the same language as the rest of the C-suite, allowing them to take a ‘seat at the table’ and bring strategic value to their organizations.”

Among those who advised the program’s development were Mike Barger, CLO of JetBlue University; Skip Brand, senior executive director, business development, Yahoo!; Nancy Lewis, vice president, On-Demand Learning, IBM; Victor Herbert, CLO, New York City Fire Department; and Mark Milliron, vice president of education, SAS.

For more information, click here.

ETS, Mercer, to Develop Tests for Community Colleges

The Educational Testing Service (ETS) signed its first-ever agreement to develop assessment tools specifically for the community college environment. ETS, the educational assessment firm, and Mercer County Community College (MCCC) will pilot new assessments, as well as student learning and engagement tools designed for community colleges. Students and faculty at New Jersey-based MCCC will test and provide feedback on new and existing tools, while ETS will do formal research on their effectiveness.

Mari Pearlman, ETS’s senior vice president of higher education, said community colleges might now warrant a separate approach to assessment. “Community colleges are playing an ever-increasing role in higher education today,” she said. “ETS recognizes that this educational sector has unique challenges and needs, and we are listening to and learning from community college leaders across the nation so that we can research and develop assessment and instructional tools to respond to those needs.”

Thomas Wilfred, the acting president of Mercer, praised the agreement, saying “community colleges need valid, high-quality, and affordable means of helping students gauge their motivation and readiness for college, and for assessing student learning in particular courses and programs.”

For more information, click here.

Cornell Tech May Lead to Miniature High-Def Projectors

Researchers at Cornell University have developed a laser technology that could lead to the ability to project high-definition television images from devices the size of cell phones. The micro-electro-mechanical system (MEMS) enables the rapid scanning of wide areas with a laser. A projector based on the MEMS device would be about the size of dime and could cast a meter-wide image on a surface only half a meter away, according to a report by the MIT Tech Review.

The key to the technology is a small mirror, about half a millimeter across, suspended by carbon fibers. According to the Review, the fibers amplify the vibrations of a piez'electric to move the mirror and which in turn deflects a laser at different angles, causing it to sweep back and forth across a surface.

MEMS-based displays already exist in commercial products. Texas Instruments has developed a chip that uses millions of tiny mirrors, each of which turns pixels on and off by either turning toward or away from a light source. This chip is now used in a variety of televisions and movie projectors. Another company, Microvision, in Redmond, Wash., uses a single mirror MEMS device more like the one being developed at Cornell, but without the carbon fibers. The company is developing a full-color display.

The Cornell researchers say what sets their device apart is the high scanning speed of the mirror, combined with its ability to scan over a wide angle. The wide angle of the system is made possible, says Michael Thompson, a materials science and engineering professor and one of the researchers on the project, because the carbon fibers can bend sharply without breaking. This gives the mirror a wide-range of movement.

For more information, click here.

MIT Program Spurs Interest in Minority Engineering Careers

Sixty-two high school juniors completed MIT’s Minority Introduction to Engineering and Science (MITES) program this summer, a rigorous six-week session at MIT’s Cambridge, Mass., campus where students studied biology, calculus, chemistry, physics, and engineering design, among other science, engineering, and computer science courses.

The students, who will be seniors in the fall, presented Web site designs and a poster session on genomics to an audience gathered to celebrate their completion of the MITES program.

MITES was created in 1974 to increase the number of minorities in the engineering professions by exposing students to engineering courses during their high school years. The program is entirely scholarship-based and supported by funding from industry, foundations, and individual donors. The objectives of the program include fostering students’ problem-solving skills, introducing them to a wide scope of career paths within engineering, and helping them clarify their career goals.

For more information, click here.

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