October 21, 2002
Contact: Ron Cichowicz
[412/624-4007; cich@pitt.edu]

Pitt Professor Receives National Science Foundation Grant to Study Wide Area Applications

PITTSBURGH—Vladimir Zadorozhny, an assistant professor in the Department of Information Science and Telecommunications in the University of Pittsburgh’s School of Information Sciences, has received a three-year, $450,000 grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to study ways of improving the performance of networks known as wide area applications (WAAs).

The study, titled “ITR Digital Resource Profiling for Wide Area Applications,” is a collaborative research project that also includes investigators from the University of Maryland at College Park and Technicon University in Haifa, Israel. The Corporation for National Research Initiatives (CNRI) will be the commercial partner in the study.

WAAs can be defined loosely as large computer networks that connect users, allowing, for instance, a researcher in America to access a database in Australia that contains massive amounts of information about the stars.

NSF initiated the Information Technology Research (ITR) program in 2000. In the first year, the program focused on fundamental research and education in information technology (IT). In the second year, the program was expanded to include an additional focus on research and education activities that applied IT to science and engineering challenges. The program now includes a component to enable research and education in multidisciplinary areas such as bioinformatics.

Today, the performance of WAAs may be unpredictable due to the variability of access to data and the ability to deliver it. Zadorozhny and his colleagues will study the changing behavior of digital resources over time and across different applications accessed through a dynamic wide area network such as the Internet. They intend to develop resource profiles that can be used to customize service and information delivery to clients. The goals are to establish a consistent framework for this process, called profiling, and to determine the extent to which profiling can be used to improve accessibility to resources. The results of the research will considerably improve performance of WAAs by speeding delivery of resources and optimizing the consumption of bandwidth resources.

Both undergraduate and graduate students will participate in the research, and a course familiarizing students with this next generation aspect of the Internet will be developed and will include an internship program with CNRI.