KU nets $1.46 million defense research grant

Lawrence,KS (08-11-2000)

From KU Office of University Relations

Sen. Pat Roberts recently announced that the Department of Defense has awarded a $1.46 million contract to the Information and Telecommunication Technology Center at the University of Kansas.

"Information technology is one of the most important elements of high-tech job creation," Roberts said. "This grant and the efforts it will produce are extremely beneficial to Kansans."

Gary Minden and Joe Evans, KU professors of electrical engineering and computer science, are the principal investigators for the project, called Architecture and Prototype of an Ambient Computational Environment. Funded through the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, this 21/2-year effort complements the technology center's work in the field of ambient computational environments, also known as ACEs.

In an ambient computational environment, access to equipment such as computers, cameras, video players, projectors or cell phones is embedded into a room through a network that links them to one another and to other rooms or buildings on the network. These tools can then be controlled or accessed from anywhere along the network. So, instead of carrying a laptop, cell phone and pager to a meeting, a person can access files and phone messages from equipment on the network.

"We're starting with the idea that computation resources - in the broadest sense - are readily available in our offices, conference rooms, auditoriums and even hallways," Evans said. Any authorized person can access those computer resources in a variety of ways.

"For example," Evans said. "Imagine that the computer you've been working at for 497 days is going to be swapped out for a newer model." The very thought, he said, would panic most people. Will all the files transfer? Will the software work right? Will the changeover cost valuable time?

If your computer is linked to an ACE network, Evans said, a technician arrives with your new equipment and unplugs your display, keyboard and computer. "He ignores the fact that your desk computer is running, because that computer simply is a port to the larger network. When the installer leaves and you identify yourself to your new machine, you continue on with your work. Tomorrow your computer will show 498 working days." The ACE network, not a piece of hardware, becomes the computational heart of an office.

As part of their project, Minden and Evans will also study the effect ACEs will have on high-performance networking systems. "ACEs will create a different type of traffic along the networks," said Minden. "We need to know what must be done to secure the transmission of ACE content over widely distributed next generation Internets."

As an advocate for investment in science and technology research, Roberts formed an Advisory Committee on Science, Technology and the Future shortly after he was elected. The committee's goal is to increase the number of higher paying technology jobs in Kansas. Over 90 Kansans are actively involved in this committee and its task forces.

For more information, contact ITTC.

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The Information and Telecommunication Technology Center at the University of Kansas has developed several assistance policies that enhance interactions between the Center and local, Kansas, or national companies. 

ITTC assistance includes initial free consulting (normally one to five hours). If additional support is needed, ITTC will offer one of the following approaches: 

Sponsored Research Agreement

Individuals and organizations can enter into agreements with KUCR/ITTC and provide funds for sponsored research to be performed at ITTC with the assistance of faculty, staff and students.

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An ITTC goal is the development of investment-grade technologies for transfer to, and marketing by, local, Kansas, and national businesses. To enhance this process, the Center has developed flexible policies that allow for licensing, royalty, and equity arrangements to meet both the needs of ITTC and the company.

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Companies with a technology need that can be satisfied with ITTC's resources can look to us for assistance. We can develop a relationship with interested partners that will provide for the development of a technology suited for commercialization.

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ITTC resources, including computers and software systems, may be made available to Kansas companies in accordance with the Center's mission and applicable Regents and University policies.

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