The University Record, October 15, 1997

Van Houweling to head advanced Internet development effort

By Nancy Ross-Flanigan
News and Information Services

Douglas Van Houweling, currently vice provost for information and technology and dean for academic outreach, has been named president and chief executive officer of the recently created University Corporation for Advanced Internet Development (UCAID).

The not-for-profit corporation was established last month to coordinate the Internet2 project, a consortium of more than 100 universities (including the U-M) working with corporate partners and federal agencies to improve the Internet. Van Houweling's appointment was announced Oct. 8 at an Internet2 meeting in Washington, D.C.

Congestion on the current Internet hampers its use in research, teaching and learning. The aim of Internet2 is to establish an efficient, high-speed network among participating universities and to design applications to take advantage of the network. Internet2 members expect that the technology they develop and test will not only serve their needs, but will lead to improvements in the Internet.

"The Internet2 will be the backbone that will link together the nation's research universities, coupling together scholars and students and enabling entirely new kinds of education and research," said James J. Duderstadt, president emeritus and Univers ity Professor of Science and Engineering. "It also will provide the model for a subsequent effort, the Next Generation Internet, that will become the national information infrastructure."

Something similar happened when technology developed for NSFnet‹a network that connected major research centers in the late 1980s‹laid the foundation for today's Internet. "We expect to follow the same path, except that we're aided today by having a s ubstantial Internet industry," said Van Houweling, who played a key role in developing NSFnet.

Van Houweling is "uniquely qualified to provide leadership for the Internet2 initiative," said Daniel Atkins, dean of the School of Information, where Van Houweling is a professor. "He has had similar experiences in the formation of NSFnet, and he has been effective in creating academic, corporate and federal partnerships."

In his new position, Van Houweling will coordinate the activities of Internet2 members "so that we not only are successful in developing new Internet technology, but we also ensure that it is quickly and broadly available to the general public and to i ndustry," he said.

Van Houweling will step down from his posts of vice provost for information technology and dean of academic outreach and will take a two-year leave from his faculty position in the School of Information. He plans to remain in the Ann Arbor area.

"Doug has led the initial effort to design Internet2, and it is natural that he should lead the effort to actually build it," Duderstadt said. "He is regarded as a national treasure by the higher education community, one of the very few people who not only understands the technology and its implications, but has the entrepreneurial, organizational, and political skills to put it all together‹just as he did with NSFnet a decade ago."