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As the result of strategic planning by the broad university research community, grid-intensive applications are evolving that will require “cyber-infrastructure”; that is, large-scaled distributed storage and networked computing facilities. These facilities will provide scientists and engineers with desktop access to geographically distributed, shared-use, next-generation, experimental research equipment installations, with tele-observation and tele-operation capabilities.

These distributed facilities will extend beyond geographical borders, to serve as international research platforms for integrated, cutting-edge research in a number of fields, including physics, astronomy, ecology, biology and earth sciences. Over the next decade, as we evolve towards distributed petascale computing and exabyte storage, so must our networks evolve, from megabits to gigabits to terabits.

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