RedHUCyT : Saul Hahn

images-1.jpg Saul Hahn, el líder de Red Hemisférica Interuniversitaria Información Científica y Tecnológica RedHUCyT, fué sin duda uno de los principales promotores de redes y eventos en la región. Por mandato de la Asamblea General de la OEA en1991 creó RedHUCy. En virtud de dicho mandato manejeba un importante presupuesto de numerosas fuentes internacionales, los que luego redistribuía en la región. Es quién financió parte importante del primer evento de redes en Rio de Janeiro en 1991 donde la mayoría de los actores de redes nos encontramos físicamente reunidos, algunos por primera vez. Junto a Steve y Randy Bush establecieron las políticas iniciales y facilitaron – no sin debates – la infraestructura primaria de muchas redes de la región.

Dr. Saul Hahn
Coordinador, Ciencias B�sicas y Redes
Oficina de Ciencia y Tecnolog�a
Organizaci�n de los Estados Americanos
1889 F Street NW
Washington, DC 20006
Tel: (202) 458-3340/53
Fax: (202) 458-3167
E-mail: shahn@oas.org

is currently Head of the Division of Science and Technology, within the Office of Education, Science and Technology at the Organization of American States (OAS), with headquarters in Washington, D.C., where he has been since 1987.

He has coordinated the Hemisphere Wide Inter-University Scientific and Technological Information Network project (RedHUCyT) project which was established in 1991 to help integrate academic electronic networks in the 34 Member states of the OAS. A subproject of RedHUCYT, the Caribbean University Network (CUNet) was also started in 1991. Both projects have played a key role in developing the Internet in Latin America and the Caribbean, and in enhancing the development of national research and education networks in the Western Hemisphere: http://www.redhucyt.oas.org. Because of this work he was nominated and then elected to the Board of Trustees of the Internet Society, 1994-1997, and Trustee Emeritus in 1998.

He holds an Electronics and Communications Engineering degree from the National Polytechnic Institute (Mexico) where he also studied physics and mathematics. He earned a Master of Science, and a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Mathematics from New York University (Courant Institute).

After a period of research in the U.S., he returned to Mexico and became a Professor of Mathematics and Co-coordinator of the Computer Lab at the Centro de Investigacion y Estudios Avanzados (CINVESTAV) in Mexico City. He worked as a consultant in digital image processing at the IBM Scientific Center where he also coordinated special projects, including oil reservoirs simulation. The author of several monographs and numerous articles, he was appointed to several Commissions at the Mexican National Science and Technology Council (CONACYT) and the National University of Mexico (UNAM). In 1985, he was distinguished as a National Researcher. He has lectured in mathematics and has done research at several universities across the U.S. On sabbatical leave from CINVESTAV, he was a Visiting Professor at the University of New Mexico, in 1985.

Last update at http://inet.nttam.com : Thu May  4 12:36:22 1995

NETWORKING IN LATIN AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN
AND THE OAS/RedHUCyT PROJECT

Saul Hahn (shahn@umd5.umd.edu)

Abstract

From December 9-11, 1994, the Summit of the Americas was held in Miami,
Florida.  Thirty four heads of States gathered in this city and signed a
Plan of Action which specifically included a chapter for
Telecommunications and Information Infrastructure.  In this chapter,
the governments of the Americas recognize that a country's information
infrastructure is an essential component of political, economic, social
and cultural development.  The Governments assume several key
responsibilities including to encourage major universities, libraries,
hospitals and government agencies to have access to these networks,
building on the work of the OAS/RedHUCyT project.

In 1991, the Organization of American States (OAS) approved the
initiative  entitled "Hemisphere-Wide Inter-University Scientific and
Technological Information Network" (RedHUCyT, an acronym in Spanish). It
allocated financial resources as seed money to start the project.
In  the following years, special funds were provided by the United States
and other governments.

RedHUCyT's main objective is to connect the member countries to Internet,
by integrating an electronic network for the exchange of specialized
information among different academic and scientific institutions in the
member States. 

The project provides high-tech equipment, technical support, specialized
training, and sponsors technical workshops and seminars in the region
to prepare technical projects, improve skills, share technical knowledge,
and  train network managers. 

Introduction

Computer networking in Latin America and the Caribbean has had an
impressive growth during the past two years.  According to recent ISOC
statistics, some of these regional networks have had the highest rates of
growth worldwide.  About half of the new full Internet connections in the
region were established during 1994.

The first two countries in Latin America to connect to Internet were
Brazil and Mexico.  Using the Morelos satellite, Mexico established a
connection to the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in
Boulder, Colorado, allowing the researchers at the National University
of Mexico (UNAM) to access the network. Currently, telecommunications
facilities include satellite and fiber optics links to the United States.
A lot of information about the Mexican network is available through their
web sites and there currently are over 50 web hosts distributed all over
Mexico.  A good reference is CONACYT, http://info.main.conacyt.mx/.

Brazil is expanding its networks and there is a planned backbone
interconnecting Recife, Fortaleza, Brasilia, Palo Horizonte, Rio de
Janeiro, Sao Paulo, and Porto Alegre at 2MBps as well as E1 links to the
U.S. from Brasilia and Rio de Janeiro. The latest ISOC statistics report
show 7,641 interconnected hosts in Mexico and 7,010 in Brazil.

Also Argentina, Chile and Costa Rica have had a very high growth during
the past year, having the largest number of direct Internet connections
relative to the number of people.

As mentioned, the Internet development in Latin America and the Caribbean
is fairly recent.  The Peruvian network, Red Cientifica Peruana (RCP),
became connected to the Internet about a year ago, and is experiencing a
very rapid growth.  It is expected to have over 50,000 users by the end
of this year and it is also expected that the current 64Kbps satellite
bandwidth will be expanded to 512Kbps.  Their web site is very popular:
http://www.rcp.net.pe which contains a lot of information about Peru and
more generally about Latin America. 

Also, Ecuador, through the efforts of ECUANET and Banco del Pacifico, and
Venezuela have a very important presence on the Internet.   A Latin
American "Who Is" was jointly developed by ECUANET and the UNIRED
of Chile.  More recent connections include Colombia and Uruguay.

In Central America, Nicaragua and Panama connect to the Internet through
microwave links to Costa Rica which has recently expanded its satellite
bandwidth to 128Kbps.  Costa Rica, as well as Ecuador, Peru, RETINA from
Argentina and Colombia connect to Homestead, Florida using the PanAmSat
satellite interconnecting through a router managed by Sprint and
sponsored by the National Science Foundation who pays the management port
fees.  Also, in the Caribbean, Jamaica was connected to the Internet
through a 64Kbps satellite link. In addition, there are many UUCP nodes
providing e-mail and file transfer to most of the Caribbean countries,
under the sponsorship of the OAS/CUNet project and other organizations.
The most recent nodes were implemented in Guyana and Saint Vincent &
the Grenadines.

Bolivia and Honduras are expected to be on the Internet when this article
is presented at the INET conference. 

Currently there are already several commercial providers in the region,
including RACSA in Costa Rica, TELINTAR in Argentina and many more
PTT's that have started to offer Internet services.

In addition, many technical workshops, training and coordinations meetings,
including the First Inter-American Networking Workshop held in Rio de
Janeiro and subsequent yearly regional forums, have taken place in the
region, allowing network administrators for strong interaction,
facilitating the solution of common problems thereby optimizing human
and material resources to benefit the region.

A close working relationship has been established with several
organizations, in particular with the National Science Foundation's
ICM project.

OAS/RedHUCyT

The OAS has been very active in these developments through the Hemisphere
Wide Inter-University Scientific and Technological Information
Network (RedHUCyT) project.  From December 9-11, 1994, the Summit of
the Americas was held in Miami, Florida.  Thirty four heads of States
gathered in this city and signed a Plan of Action which specifically
included a chapter for Telecommunications and Information Infrastructure.
In this chapter, the governments of the Americas recognize that a
country's information infrastructure is an essential component of
political, economic, social and cultural development.  The Governments
assume several key responsibilities including to encourage major
universities, libraries, hospitals and government agencies to have
access to these networks, building on the work of the OAS Hemisphere
Wide Inter-University Scientific and Technological Information Network
(RedHUCyT) project.

In 1991, the General Assembly of the Organization of American States (OAS)
approved the initiative entitled Hemisphere-Wide Inter-University
Scientific  and Technological Information Network (RedHUCyT) and
allocated financial resources as seed money to start the project.

RedHUCyT's main objective is to connect the member countries to Internet,
integrating an electronic network for the exchange of scientific and
technological information among professors, researchers, and specialists
at different universities in the member states.

RedHUCyT's approach to the development of electronic networks in the
member States is to help  local initiatives for either the inception,
or expansion, of networks in their countries. The project provides
high-tech equipment, technical support, specialized training, and
sponsors technical workshops and seminars in the region to prepare
technical projects, improve skills, share technical knowledge, and
train network managers. 

RedHUCyT activities and achievements

1) Seminars and Workshops

RedHUCyT has sponsored and co-organized several seminars and workshops in
Latin America and the Caribbean to promote knowledge and experience of
electronic communication networks. Among them, The First and
Second Caribbean Academic and Scientific Network Workshops; four
Inter-American Networking Workshops; the First and Second Latin American
School on Networks; REUNA'94, a major workshop organized by the National
University Network in Chile for end users with more than 400 participants. 

2) The Caribbean Academic, Scientific and Technological Network - CUNet 

The OAS, CRACIN, and the University of Puerto Rico (UPR) held the First
Caribbean Academic and Scientific Network Workshop in September 1991,
and the Second Workshop in March 1992, also in Puerto Rico.

The participants in these seminar-workshops represented most of the
English-speaking countries of the Caribbean Basin as well as the
Dominican Republic.  Their main objective was to promote and facilitate
participation by the Caribbean countries in worldwide academic and
scientific networks.  At the first workshop, in September 1991, a project
to establish an electronic information network linking the universities of
the Caribbean, known as the Caribbean Academic, Scientific and
Technological Network (CUNet), was formally launched.

The CUNet project has been designed to establish an academic, scientific,
technological, and research network for the Caribbean region, and was
conceived as a project for cooperation among institutions of the countries
in the region.

CUNet's participants include public and private institutions playing
leading roles in the establishment of national networks in their own
countries, and which also foster international communications for
academic, scientific, technological, and research purposes.  Currently
there are more than 25 nodes in the subregion, connecting nearly
2,000 users within the CUNet framework.

3) Jamaican Electronic Network (JAMNet)

Within the CUNet project, funds and technical assistance were provided for
the implementation of the Jamaican Electronic Network (JAMNet), allowing
Jamaica to be connected to Internet through a 64Kbps satellite link
between Kingston and the United States.

Physically, JAMNet provides distinct connection for each institution
through the facilities of Telecommunications of Jamaica (TOJ),
the local telecommunications provider.  The connection was set-up during
September, 1994. Primarily, JAMNet interconnects the following
institutions in the academic, research, scientific and technological
sector:  The University of the West Indies Mona (UWI); the College of Arts,
Science, and Technology (CAST) and many other institutions which have
dial-up links to UWI or CAST.

4) Central American Project - RedCACyT

In Central America, resources have been allocated for the establishment of
a backbone of interconnected institutions with an outlet through the Costa
Rican National Research Network (CRNet), which is connected to the
Internet through a 128Kbps satellite link between Costa Rica and the
NSFNet in Florida.

The first stage of the project was implemented during 1992 and consisted
on broadening the existing communications channel between the University
of Costa Rica itself and CRNet, which has a large number of affiliated
Costa Rican education and research institutions and more than 2,000 users.

The second stage is the connection of other Central American countries.
Links were developed between the University of Costa Rica and the National
Engineering University (UNI) in Managua, Nicaragua, as well as with
other Nicaraguan universities and research institutes.  RedHUCyT provided
equipment and technical assistance for the implementation of the
Nicaraguan Academic Network (RAIN).  The equipment was installed in
the facilities of the Nicaraguan Telecommunications Institute (TELCOR)
during March 1994.  On the other hand, the connection of Panama to
Internet was established during June, 1994, also through CRNet.
At present, three major universities are connected: Technological
University of Panama (UTP), the University of Panama (UP), and the
University of Santa Maria la Antigua.  Both RAIN and the Panamanian
Academic Network (PANNet) are connected to Costa Rica through
microwave links.

Meanwhile, the National Network of Honduras (HONDUNet) project was
approved and is currently in its implementation stage.  HONDUNet will
have its own satellite uplink, through PanAmSat, to the NSF node at
Homestead, Florida.  A variety of government and academic institutions
will participate in the first stage, which involves the interconnection
of the Autonomous University of Honduras (UNAH), the Central American
Technological University (UNITEC), the Francisco Morazan Pedagogical
University (UPN), the Pan American Agricultural School (El Zamorano),
the Ministry of Education, and the Honduran Science and Technology
Council (COHCIT).

RedHUCyT is supporting Guatemala for the implementation of the MAYANet
project.  In Guatemala, an agreement between the National
Telecommunications Company (GUATEL) and the National Council of Science
and Technology (CONCYT) was achieved, where GUATEL will provide, without
charges, a 64Kbps satellite uplink to COMSAT, as well as local links to
academic institutions.  In El Salvador, a project proposal was develop
with the participation of several leading institutions and conversations
are being held with ANTEL, the national telecommunications company.

5) MERCOSUR Countries and Chile

The OAS has been supporting a project presented by the Secretariat for
Science and Technology (SECyT) whose main objective is to optimize the
operation and efficiency of the Science and Technology Network (RECYT).
At present, RECYT has approximately 300 nodes located throughout the
country which are estimated to serve several thousands users, with
average monthly traffic of 200 megabytes transmitted exclusively by
electronic mail.  After SECyT's connection to Internet through TELINTAR,
the national PTT Internet provider, the Argentinean Network has had an
explosive growth.  Another project to support RETINA, which connects to
the Internet through a separate satellite link via PanAmSat to Homestead,
Florida, was also supported by RedHUCyT and consisted in the acquisition
of routers.

SECyT, with the sponsorship of RedHUCyT and other organizations,
has organized several meetings in Buenos Aires to seek ways of
integrating the regional academic and environmental networks.  With this
purpose, the first official meeting between Argentina and Uruguay was held
in September, 1993. Subsequently, a second meeting was held with the
participation of Argentina, Bolivia and Paraguay.

In Chile, RedHUCyT provided significant resources for a Seminar on
personnel training of the National University Network (REUNA), which was
held in September, 1994, with the participation of more than 20
universities associated with REUNA.  Several experts were also invited
from the MERCOSUR member countries, strengthening the integration of
electronic networks in the region.  

On the other hand, UNIRED, another important association of Chilean
universities, including the Catholic University of Chile, is providing
technical support for the development of regional projects, specifically
in Bolivia, where the Bolivian Data and Communications Network (BOLNET) is
in its implementation stage. UNIRED is providing technical assistance for
the evaluation of alternatives for the connection of Paraguay to the
Internet, under the sponsorship of the OAS/RedHUCyT project, which in its
first phase includes the connection of the National and the Catholic
Universities and setting up a POP to the Internet.

Finally, in Uruguay, basic equipment was provided to the Technological
Laboratory of Uruguay (LATU) to facilitate its connection through the
University of the Republic.

6) Andean Countries, Mexico, and Brazil

A project in Ecuador was fulfilled to complement the efforts of the
Ecuadorian Information Corporation (EcuaNet), a not-for-profit entity
which offers connection to Internet as a free service to universities.
EcuaNet's communications infrastructure, which is provided without charge
by the Banco del Pacifico, includes satellite antennas in Guayaquil,
Quito, Ambato, and Galapagos. 

In Bolivia, the Bolivian Data Network (BOLNET) is in its implementation
stage which will connect Bolivia to the Internet.  Several institutions
will be connected, including the University of San Andres in La Paz,
University of San Simon in Cochabamba, University Gabriel Rene Moreno in
Santa Cruz, the National Council for Science and Technology (CONACYT) and
the United Nations Program for Development in Bolivia (UNDP).  This
network should be up by June 1995.

Peru, through the Peruvian Scientific Network (RCP), a consortium of more
than one hundred institutions, joined the Internet in March 1994.  It
involved acquisition of a ground station for satellite communication,
including the radio-frequency equipment, to support Peru's connection with
Internet through a satellite link to the NSF node in Homestead, Florida.
A similar project with Venezuela was also implemented, which acquired a
ground station.

Conversations have been held with the University of the Andes, the Central
University of Colombia, and COLCIENCIAS to seek means of cooperation to
assist Colombia in the expansion of its electronic network.  On the other
hand, Brazilian experts have been supported for their participation in
regional and international events.

Conversations have also been held with Mexico and OAS support has been
offered for the future expansion of the national backbone, chiefly with
respect to the acquisition of certain basic equipment such as routers.
Financing was granted earlier for the purchase of a satellite antenna
and auxiliary equipment to connect the National Science and Technology
Council (CONACYT) to the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR)
in Colorado, United States.  This equipment is being overhauled at
present.

7) Latin American and Caribbean Scientific and Technological Information
Web - INFOCyT

During the REUNA'95 Seminar, a Pilot Program Workshop about the
introduction of scientific and technological data bases through Internet
was held in Santiago, Chile with the participation of networking and
information systems experts from Argentina, Brazil, Costa Rica, Chile,
Mexico, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela.

The main objective of the workshop was to evaluate different alternatives
to facilitate the access to scientific and technological regional
information through Internet.

The Peruvian Scientific Network is implementing, with the continuous
support of the national coordinators of the participating countries,
a specific home-page in World-Wide Web.  This home-page facilitates the
access to regional data bases by using pointers provided by the national
networks in each country of the region.  Currently, this web site has the
following address: http://www.rcp.net.pe/INFOCYT/infocyt.html.

Acknowledgements

The author wishes to express his gratitude to Santiago Aguilar, Technical
Assistant, for his assistance in the preparation of this article

Saul Hahn is Coordinator of Basic Sciences and Networking at the
Department of Scientific and Technological Affairs in the Organization of
American States (OAS) since 1987.  Under his coordination, the project
Hemisphere Wide Inter-University Scientific and Technological Information
Network (RedHUCyT) was established in 1991 to help integrate academic
electronic networks in member States of the OAS.  A subproject of
RedHUCYT, the Caribbean University Network (CUNet) was also established in
1991.  Both projects play  an important role in enhancing the development
of national networks in the Western Hemisphere, in particular with
regards to connectivity with the Internet.  Dr.  Hahn has been
co-organizer of major meetings, including several Latin American and
Caribbean Networking Workshops.  Born in Mexico City, Saul Hahn obtained
an Electronics and Communications Engineering degree from the Mexican
Polytechnic Institute.  He also obtained an M.Sc. and Ph.D. in Mathematics
from New York University.  Dr. Hahn was a Professor of Mathematics and
co-coordinator of the Computer Lab at the Centro de Investigacion y
Estudios Avanzados in Mexico City and consultant to the IBM Scientific
Center where he did work in digital image processing and coordinated
special projects. 

Saul Hahn
Coordinator, Basic Sciences and Networking
Organization of American States
1889 F Street N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20006
Tel: (202) 458-3359/3340
Fax: (202) 458-3167
e-mail: shahn@umd5.umd.edu

 

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