Researchers, academics and students across Central Asia and Europe are set to benefit from the recent capacity upgrade of the Central Asia Research and Education Network (CAREN), celebrated at the 1st CAREN Regional Conference which took place 1-2 October 2014 in Almaty, Kazakhstan.
NRSC team with training workshop participants
Themed Innovative Internet for Researchers and Higher Education and hosted at Turan University, the event attracted over 160 attendees from across Central Asia, including, Uzbekistan, Europe, the United States and East Asia, including representatives of the research and higher education community, policy makers, connectivity providers and ICT vendors. In line with the conference theme, the programme focussed on key areas such as cloud computing, network security, AAI and applications for science and education.
Participants heard and saw first-hand from scientists and academics how CAREN’s high-speed links make a real difference in advancing collaborative research in areas such environmental studies, seismology, telemedicine and preservation of natural and cultural heritage.
“We have a dreadful history of seismic disasters. We cannot prevent earthquakes, but we can minimise their effects”, commented Dr Bolot Moldobekov, Co-Director of the Central-Asian Institute for Applied Geosciences (CAIAG) and speaker at the conference.“CAREN’s high-speed connectivity allows us to work together with the best people around the world to better understand and prepare for earthquakes.”
Dr Bolot Moldobekov, CAIAG
The first conference day featured a telemedicine session, beaming a live liver surgery from Seoul National University Hospital (SNUH) in Korea to the audience in Almaty thousands of miles away. Conference delegates were impressed by the high quality imagery enabled by reliable research network connectivity. Excellent video and sound quality was delivered also during an e-culture demonstration which included a remote presentation by Dr Faridah Noor, Chair of MyREN and APAN e-Culture Working Groups and excerpts of previous cyber-performances.
Live tele-surgery session from Seoul National University Hospital (SNUH)
Various presentations outlined how e-learning and remote training opportunities make education and knowledge transfer more accessible. Michael Riggs from UN-APCICT (United Nations Asian and Pacific Training Centre for Information and Communication Technology for Development) delivered a keynote speech on ICT and engaged learning to raise awareness of the role of capacity building. He introduced UN-APCICT’s flagship programme Turning Today’s Youth into Tomorrow’s Leaders to promote the inclusion of ICTD in undergraduate and graduate courses to prepare youth in the use of ICT for sustainable socio-economic development.
During the two conference days, the CAREN community also drew on the expertise of representatives from other regional networks and organisations, such a GÉANT and its Asian counterpart TEIN. In his key note presentation titled Fruits of regional collaboration, Dr Christian Grimm from DFN, Germany, provided sound arguments as to the necessity of collaboration with users and NRENs globally for survival and success. He illustrated his talk with examples of DFN and GÉANT practise. Wearing his TEIN hat, Prof. Francis Lee from SingaREN outlined existing collaborations between NRENs, researchers and academics in Central Asia and Asia Pacific and highlighted partnership opportunities for the future, in areas such as e-culture, disaster management and telemedicine.
Summing up the final panel session, EC Project Officer Francesco Zoia-Bolzonello concluded: “We have come a long way since 2001 when the SILK project started. CAREN has built on its achievements and will further consolidate Central Asian’s role among the international R&E networking community.”
“The conference stimulated lively exchanges as for many participants it was their first exposure to the potential of research and education networking in the region. I look forward to further events and further development of the CAREN project in the years to come”, commented CAREN Project Manager David West.
CRNC 2014 was organised by the CAREN project and hosted by the Kazakh National Research and Education Network (KazRENA) in conjunction with Turan University in Almaty. The conference was further supported by the Ministry of Education and the President’s Archives of the Republic of Kazakhstan.
Almaty also hosted the training workshop DNS operations and network monitoring run by an enthusiastic NSRC (Network Startup Resource Center) team who equipped current and aspiring NOC engineers in the region with hands-on advice.