Sun Microsystems Showcases Open Source Technologies at Educause 2009

SANTA CLARA, Calif. DENVER, CO Educause Conference Booth #415,  Showcasig its Open Computing portfolio and partner solutions at the Educause Conference 2009, Sun Microsystems is reinforcing its position as a leader in open source technologies for the education community. It today announced that Columbia University will use an open source Sun solution to run its digital preservation project, and also that the University of Zurich is deploying Project Wonderland projects to advance an ambitious global eLearning initiative.

Designed to help simplify the implementation of open-source technologies and achieve cost-effective interoperability, the Sun Open Computing portfolio includes Sun Open Storage, OpenSolaris Operating System, Sun Open Archive solutions and the OpenSPARC T1 processor. These technologies, along with partner solutions, are now being demoed at Sun’s booth at the Educause Conference.

Implementing Change at Columbia University Libraries

Columbia University Libraries has selected Sun’s Storage Archive Manager (SAM) solution to expand its digital library. The Libraries is combining the SAM management software with Sun servers and storage and tape technologies to enable a coherent and comprehensive technology infrastructure that will ensure the survival and continued accessibility of its vast collection of materials. Columbia’s Libraries consists of 22 libraries, with over 10 million volumes, 100,000 current journals and serials, and an extensive collection of electronic resources, microforms and other non-print materials, as well as rare manuscripts and books, some dating to the early 19th century.

“We are at a time of extraordinary technological and social change, which we need to implement systems and services capable of supporting 21^st century teaching, learning, research and scholarship. Our goal was to find the right technology vendor to help us build a cost-effective and expandable system to support Columbia’s growing digital collections,” said Robert Cartolano, Director, Library Info Tech Office. “Sun Microsystems provided everything we needed in one place. We were very impressed with their technology model, their commitment to open source and open systems, and their extensive experience in large-scale storage.”

Columbia’s integration of the SAM technology, a combination of StorEdge 6140, 4500 and L500 tape storage media technologies, along with Fedora Commons Repository Software from duraspace.org (an open source project) allows it to remotely locate and manage digital artifacts on three tiers of storage in geographically disparate locations for long-term content preservation. The system was designed with the ability to grow to half a petabyte (500,000,000,000,000 bytes) of information. Columbia is initially using the system to support its institutional repository, located at academiccommons.columbia.edu, and preservation of digital files from existing and upcoming digital library projects.

Making ShanghAI Lectures a Reality with Project Wonderland

Supporting the University of Zurich’s ambitious ShanghAI Lectures, Sun and Virtual Learning Labs have built a 3D virtual learning world based on the Project Wonderland open source toolkit. The lectures take place in a mixed reality setting, combining video streaming and virtual worlds, to enable students worldwide to actively participate in presentations and lectures on embodied intelligence and biologically inspired robotics.

“We used the open source Project Wonderland toolkit to develop a virtual 3D environment, and it has proven to be ideal for our purposes,” said Professor Rolf Pfeifer, Director of the Artificial Intelligence Laboratory at the University of Zurich. “Students and faculty from almost 40 universities worldwide are now able to meet and mingle in our virtual classroom and share cutting-edge research on natural and artificial intelligence through our virtual classroom.”

The ShanghAI Lectures on embodied intelligence are being broadcast by videoconference from Jiao Tong University in Shanghai to universities across the planet, complemented by 3D collaborative virtual environments and other community-building activities to promote interaction and cooperation among the participants. The lecture series began on October 15 and runs until December 17, 2009. Sun and Virtual Learning Labs provided consultancy on the use of project Wonderland to support the ShanghAI events, and also, together with a number of teams from various institutions (including the universities of Zurich, Lugano, and Bern) and companies such as Munich-based architect Henn Architekten designed and implemented the ShanghAI Lectures 3D world.

The University of Zurich is a member of the Sun Immersion Special Interest Group–a Sun Microsystems Inc.-sponsored community dedicated to advancing the state of open source technology and content for virtual worlds and gaming in education based on Sun’s open source Project Wonderland, Project Darkstar and SunSPOT technologies. This group is open to institutions, commercial organizations, faculty and students interested in working with Sun, in learning and in sharing practical experiences in new 3-D Web environments.

For more information about Sun and its open, interoperable solutions for the education community, please visit: Sun.com/education or booth #415 at Educause.

About Columbia University Libraries/Information

Columbia University Libraries/Information Services is one of the top five academic research library systems in North America. The collections include over 10 million volumes, over 100,000 journals and serials, as well as extensive electronic resources, manuscripts, rare books, microforms, maps, graphic and audio-visual materials. The services and collections are organized into 22 libraries and various academic technology centers. The Libraries employs more than 550 professional and support staff. The website of the Libraries at www.columbia.edu/library/ is the gateway to its services and resources.

About Sun Microsystems, Inc.
Sun Microsystems develops the technologies that power the global marketplace. Guided by a singular vision — “The Network is the Computer” — Sun drives network participation through shared innovation, community development and open source leadership. Sun can be found in more than 100 countries and on the Web at http://sun.com.