PORTLAND - About 6,000 high tech experts from around the world will be in Oregon on Nov. 13-19 to experience what organizers call "the hottest computer network on the planet"and hear leading speakers discuss the past, present and future of an interconnected world.

The event will be SC99, the premier annual conference on emerging trends and technology in high performance networking and computing. It will be held at the Oregon Convention Center - a site that for one week will feature a "super network" that is 350,000 times faster than most home computer modems. "The SC99 network will be significantly more powerful than all the networks in Oregon and Washington put together," said Cherri Pancake, a professor of computer science and Intel Faculty Fellow at Oregon State University, and chair of this professional conference.

"To put it another way, this network could push an email message to the moon and back in the time it takes your modem to move it about a mile," Pancake said. "This conference is going to provide a glimpse at how we will work and communicate in the 21st century."

The extraordinary power of the network to be used at the conference, Pancake said, is needed to support demonstrations of the latest in networking research and technology. These will include on-line, real-time research done during the conference. It will also be used to broadcast key sessions from the conference across the World Wide Web. SC99's "Webcast" facilities will make it possible for colleagues and students around the globe to participate in the conference from their own desktops.

The conference will feature a number of prominent speakers and also highlight some of the innovative applications of high performance networking not just in science, but also in private industry and education, Pancake said.

Since this conference first began in 1988, some of the most important innovations of the Information Age have included the birth of the World Wide Web; its growth into a multibillion dollar industry and a platform for science and education; and massive increases in speed and networking capabilities. Some past speakers have suggested the development of computer networking and the Internet is equal in significance to mankind's use of fire or the development of writing.

Key speakers include:


  • Donna Shirley, former manager of NASA's Mars exploration program, presenting a keynote address on how technical teams can be managed in order to maximize creativity and innovation.


  • Vint Cerf of MCI, one of the two "fathers of the Internet," will explore the past and future of large-scale networking.


  • Greg Papadopoulos, chief technology officer at Sun Microsystems, will discuss the convergence of supercomputing and the Internet.


  • William Myers, chief executive officer of the U.S. Internet Council, will outline what every teacher should know about the future of the Internet.

Other presentations include such issues as ocean and climate modeling, scientific applications of computer networking, the role of Java in high performance network computing, supercomputing software, the information technology workforce, commercial and industrial applications, and medical imaging. Fees are charged to attend the conference, which is oriented to a professional audience in academia, government agencies and private industry. A complete schedule of events, speakers, registration details, how to "tune in" and other information is available at the conference web site,

OSU, a university that has won awards for being one of the "most wired" campuses in the nation with its myriad of electronic services to students and faculty, was heavily involved in helping to create the complex computer networking needed at the conference. Faculty and staff from OSU Information Services, the Department of Computer Science and the College of Engineering helped to obtain equipment donations from private industry, set up the network operations center, and coordinate connections from the Convention Center to the outside world.

"SC99 will be connected not just to the commercial Internet, but to all the key research networks in the world, including Internet2's Abilene, Dept. of Energy's ESNET, Dept. of Defense's DREN, and NASA's NREN," Pancake said. "Within Oregon, high-speed connection is provided to the Network for Education and Research in Oregon, or NERO, which links the state's higher education and K-12 institutions."

Teachers and students from kindergarten to graduate school will be able to view the Webcasts and other online demonstrations from the conference, Pancake said. OSU will host one such demo, which proves that courses can be taught collaboratively by teachers across the country from one another.

SC99's technical sessions will run November 14-19, with research and industry exhibits open Tuesday through Thursday.

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Cherri Pancake, 541-737-2109