Thursday, February 02, 2006

Zydetech Revived

Folks interested in Fiber, the Digital Divide, or for that matter, grid computing, ultra high speed networks, and the intersections of IT and Education or Medicine, should welcome Zydetech's latest venture. According to incoming chairman Jeff Leblanc Zydetec wants to put together a master plan to coordinate and promote Lafayette's pretty amazing array of technology projects.

The basic idea seems (to someone who just attended the meeting) to line up the projects running, in process, or on the table and pair them with a "champion" whose job it is to coordinate their area and promote that portion as a part of a picture of Lafayette as an emerging technology center. The Advocate's Blanchard was there too and his interesting version is online as well.

That's not hard to do. With projects ranging from LONI's ultra high speed network to LITE's (Louisiana Immersive Technologies Enterprise) supercomputing and immersive visualization projects to Fiber To The Home and a prospective wireless project, to a growing TechSouth conference, there's plenty of material from which to weave a convincing story.

The three categories most likely to interests readers of this space are Fiber To The Home, the Digital Divide, and a prospective new project: Sibon. I'll not dwell on Fiber to the Home in this context except to say that big internal bandwidth and high penetration will combine to create a unique situation in Lafayette--one ripe for both commercial an social exploration.

The Digital Divide area, championed by Andre Comeaux, is--at least currently--focused on establishing a baseline of data in hopes of understanding the changes fiber is sure to bring. But it will also be interested in using that data to close any divides that emerge from the research.

Sibon was new to me, but sounds very interesting; it is the logical extension of the cascade of next generation networks running through Lafayette. The National Lambda Rail, the latest, greatest iteration of federally funded research networks (an earlier version was the seed of our current internet will be running down I-10 thanks to some forward-looking politicking by Louisiana leaders. A Louisiana project, the Louisiana Optical Network (LONI) will connect Louisiana's research universities including our own ULL at the LITE center. Sibon, it is hoped, will be a high-bandwidth, dedicated fiber ring using LUS fiber to drive a commericial research network operating at 10 gigs. It will hook into the LITE center, making it much more practical to use its supercomputing resources and could provide a connection to LONI.

At any rate, it sounds as though Zydetech has awakened from a slumber and is stepping forward in a useful way. This is something to watch.

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