Leadership in the development of high performance networks and their applications
In the early 1980s, Washington University researchers proposed the concept of Picture Archiving and Communications (PACS) systems for medical imaging applications and built one of the first such systems in the world. Our faculty developed one of the first ATM switching systems to support scalable multicast switching and built one of the first metropolitan ATM networks in the world, which was used to demonstrate applications in telemedicine and multimedia teleconferencing. The switching system developed in this project was later licensed to SynOptics and became their first ATM switching product. A subsequent project in the mid-1990s led to the development of switching systems with gigabit link speeds and scalable to terabit capacities. Copies of this system have been distributed to 30 universities to support advanced research in networking and distributed computing. This technology became the foundation of a successful startup company, Growth Networks, which was sold to Cisco Systems in 2000. At the same time, networking researchers have made fundamental contributions to the theory of switching systems and to the protocols, technology and algorithms that drive the Internet, including algorithms for fast IP address lookup, packet classification and efficient QoS queue scheduling.
Concurrently with its fundamental contributions to networking technology, the computer science faculty provided leadership in the development of the Washington University campus network and the midwest regional component of the NSF-net. To facilitate these developments, the university served as a regional network hub for a time, before spinning off these operations in what became a very successful Internet Service Provider (ISP). In the early 1990s, the Washington University Archive (wuarchive) was the most visited site on the Internet, providing a rich repository of files, data, programs and images. By coordinating Washington University's participation in NSF's Very High Speed Backbone Network (vBNS) and the National Partnership for Advanced Computing Infrastructure (NPACI), computer science faculty have enabled researchers across the university to gain access to advanced computational resources needed to support a variety of demanding research activities, including projects in brain mapping, computational microscopy and DNA mapping and sequencing.