KU makes Internet Magic

Lawrence,KS (04-08-1997)

From University Daily Kansan
By Tim Harrington

A million-dollar U.S. military grant is allowing University of Kansas students and faculty to work on a computer project that could change a wartime battlefield and revolutionize the Internet.

Financed by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, Defense Department research division, the project is called MAGIC II and is being undertaken by the newly formed Information and Telecommunication Technology Center in Nichols Hall on West Campus.

MAGIC II will be a networking system that will allow users to retrieve and manipulate audio, video, graphic and other forms of data in ways never before possible.

Its a chance to take on research in a really cutting-edge technology, said Amit Kulkarni, Bombay, India, graduate student, who is working on MAGIC II.

The University received about $1 million of a $4.8 million grant that has been spread out to four other developmental organizations across the country.

KU researchers are working on the telecommunications part of the project.

MAGIC II researchers hope to create the technological foundation for the creation of a supermilitary information network. The network could give every soldier on the battlefield instantaneous access to information a four-star general would have.

With the technology developed under MAGIC II, troops in the field could view enemy forces superimposed on a 3-D map and follow their movements as they occur in real time. Military headquarters could constantly monitor the health and safety of every soldier during a battle.

But whether MAGIC II leads to practical military use is irrelevant to ITTC member Yulia Wijapa, Jakarta, Indonesia, graduate student. Wijapa said the research being done at the University ultimately would affect the way computers talked to each other.

What Wijapa, Kulkarni and the rest of the ITTC team are developing is a new, smarter Internet that will be able to distinguish between different types of data. Whether it be text, audio, video or graphic, MAGIC II will monitor how crowded the network is, realize what types of computers are being used, what their capabilities are, and then deliver the data in the most efficient way possible.

It will do all of this in one or two seconds.

We call it an active network, Kulkarni said. Networks today are like pipes that you push your data through from one end to the other. The active network is much more intelligent.

MAGIC II, which stands for multidimensional applications and gigabyte Internet consortium, is the direct descendant of the MAGIC I project, which also has roots at the University.

MAGIC I, which was created in large part at the University between 1992 and 1995, laid the foundation for the MAGIC II program. Work on MAGIC II began in the fall of 1996 and is slated to run for three years.

For more information, contact ITTC.

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