Sun Showcases Open Source Technologies
- By Dian Schaffhauser
Two universities--one in New York City and the other in Switzerland--are adopting Sun Microsystems technologies. Columbia University will use an open source Sun solution to manage storage of assets in its digital preservation project, and the University of Zurich is deploying Project Wonderland projects as part of a global e-learning initiative.
Columbia University Libraries has selected Sun's Storage Archive Manager (SAM) software to expand its digital library. The software handles data classification, centralized meta-data management, policy-based data placement, protection, migration, long-term retention, and recovery. The implementation will be used in an environment consisting of Sun StorEdge 6140, 4500, and L500 tape storage media technologies, and Fedora Commons Repository Software from DuraSpace, an open source project for digital content. SAM will enable the Libraries to remotely locate and manage digital artifacts on three tiers of storage in geographically disparate locations for long-term content preservation. The system was designed with the ability to grow to half a petabyte of data. Initially, the university will use the system to support its institutional repository and preservation of digital files from existing and upcoming digital library projects.
"We are at a time of extraordinary technological and social change, which we need to implement systems and services capable of supporting 21st century teaching, learning, research, and scholarship. Our goal was to find the right technology vendor to help us build a cost-effective and expandable system to support Columbia's growing digital collections," said Robert Cartolano, director of the Library Info Tech Office. "Sun Microsystems provided everything we needed in one place. We were very impressed with their technology model, their commitment to open source and open systems, and their extensive experience in large-scale storage."
At the University of Zurich Sun and Virtual Learning Labs have built a 3D virtual learning world based on the Project Wonderland open source toolkit. The lectures, titled the ShanghAI Lectures and being broadcast by videoconference from Jiao Tong University in Shanghai to other universities, take place in a mixed reality setting, combining video streaming and virtual worlds, to allow students worldwide to participate in presentations and lectures on embodied intelligence and biologically inspired robotics.
"We used the open source Project Wonderland toolkit to develop a virtual 3D environment, and it has proven to be ideal for our purposes," said Rolf Pfeifer, director of the Artificial Intelligence Laboratory at the university. "Students and faculty from almost 40 universities worldwide are now able to meet and mingle in our virtual classroom and share cutting-edge research on natural and artificial intelligence through our virtual classroom."
Dian Schaffhauser is a senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal and Campus Technology. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @schaffhauser.