Network integrates ed, research, economics

Imagine a virtual research and development (R&D) lab that will enhance regional economic development and educational advancement. The Virtual Possibilities Network (VPnet) is just such an initiative. It will encourage regional collaboration on projects among higher education, medical, business and government communities. The network itself will consist of 200 miles of optic fiber connecting higher education institutions in Spokane, eastern Washington and Idaho.

VPnet will be available as an R&D lab for broadband content, multidisciplinary research, advanced collaboration, technological investigation, distance learning and economic development projects. It can be used as a tool to facilitate collaborative research, or it can itself be the focus of research.

VPnet will be available through 17 participating member sites on a project-by-project basis. Projects must demonstrate measurable economic development value and generally fit into one of the following categories: research and development, education, or business incubation.

Projects might be a product of the fine arts, liberal arts, science, health, engineering, product development, data collection and analysis, or distance education, just to list a few, and can involve private-sector businesses and organizations as partners.

Washington State University will host an information and brainstorming session regarding VPnet and future projects that could benefit from utilizing it. One such project that will be highlighted during the session is GridStat, led by assistant professor Dave Bakken, electrical engineering/computer science. He and colleague Carl Hauser, associate professor, have been researching, implementing and evaluating a “national electricity-communications super-highway” for the past 3 years.

The VPnet session will be 1-3 p.m. Tuesday, May 11, in the Engineering Teaching and Research Laboratory on the WSU Pullman campus.

More information about VPnet can be found at: http://www.vpnet.org.

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