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Report on

Cambridge Seminar




Communications for the 21st Century

7th December 1995

Cambridge University Engineering Department

Trumpington Street, Cambridge

Institution of Electrical Engineers

INTERNET - FRIEND OR FOE took place in Cambridge on 7th December 1995. Approximately 130 delegates attended, and over 100 participated in a hands-on session organised in the Design and Project Office of Cambridge University Engineering Department. More detailed statistics will be published in due course.

Each highlighted phrase (in colour or underlined) is a hyperlink to another topic in this document, or some other document or information resource somewhere on the Internet. Single click on any highlighted phrase to follow the link.

Some of the topics that were covered by speakers in this one-day seminar:-

Amateur or professional, individual or company, lone operator or multi-national

You will be affected by the Internet.

Come and listen, join in the debate, participate in a hands-on session.


08.30 Registration and Coffee

09.15 Welcome and Introduction
Mike Cosslett, Chairman, IEE Cambridge Area

09.25 Introduction to the Internet: its organisation and terminology
D Barry, Chairman, DTI Teleworking Committee
G Brooke, Consultant

10.00 The Internet and CUED: A demonstration using large-screen video projection
Dr D Holburn, Cambridge University Engineering Department

11.00 Coffee

11.20 Delivering interactive educational resources over the Internet - The Interact project and beyond.
Dr R Thomas, Heriot Watt University

12.05 The IEE Internet Services
J Coupland, Head of Internet Services, IEE

12.35 Buffet Lunch

13.55 Hands-on Internet participation session
Two hands-on sessions will be organised at 13.55 and 15.15, allowing participants to explore for themselves the potential of the WWW. Up to 50 individual terminals available. Registrants will receive a badge allocating them to one of the two sessions. Experienced demonstrators will be on hand to give assistance. Click here for a synopsis of the material.

The Future of the Internet - the industry viewpoint
Contributions from: British Telecom, Philips, Olivetti Research, Pipex
13.55 Jeremy Barnes, ATM Internetworking Technologist, BT Labs
14.35 Robert Fox (Philips)
15.25 Dr Andy Hopper (Olivetti Research)
16.05 Mike Cole (Unipalm Pipex)

16.45 Discussion

17.15 Chairman's Summary

17.25 Close of Seminar


For further information, please write to:

J. McCormick
10, High Street
Cambs PE17 3SA

or telephone J. McCormick on 01223 881881.

Synopses and Biographies (where available)

David Barry and George Brooke
This presentation will be run in "workshop" mode. That is to say interruptions and questions are positively welcomed. The object of the talk is to provide a broad overview, an appreciation of the range of applications available and to explain why the Internet has become such an important, not to say media hyped topic; topics will include the following:-
The origin of the Internet. What it is and why no one can own it. How despite the fact that it has no governing body it is nonetheless organised. Why it costs so little to use. The services it provides, the significance of these different services and how they fit together. The special terminology of the Internet will be introduced. The use of intranets and the implications of the internet for security will be touched on.

David Barry is a consultant in the use of New Information and Communication Technologies to support work, and learning, at a distance. Most of his current work is done using the INTERNET. Clients have included British Telecom, London Docklands Development Corporation, The Open Business School, The Universities of London, and Wales and the National Sports Medicine Institute. He is a member of the implementation committee for Project Connect which works to develop Internet use in schools and chairman of the Teleworking Special Interest Group supported by the DTI. He is a former member of committee C10 (consumer and domestic systems). He can be reached on d.a.o.barry@open.ac.uk or dbarry@cix.compulink.co.uk and phoned on 0171 272 0826.
George Brooke is a Senior Partner within Oak Lodge Consulting, which was formed in 1994. Before this he was Head of Software Development, Siemens Nixdorf. UK. His background is in Open Systems Software development. He provides consultancy to organisations on Contact Management and IT and lectures on the Use of the Internet in Business. He is currently a member of an Action Group to establish City Link in Cambridge (putting Cambridge City onto the Internet involving interfacing Local Government computer systems into the Internet for access via distributed PC terminals). He can be reached on TelFax: 01223-890390 Compuserve 100277,2144 Internet: oaklodge@post.dungeon.com

David Holburn
With some of the arcane features of the Internet now demystified by the opening speakers, this session will attempt to illustrate some of the concepts introduced by means of a number of short demonstrations.
In the context of teaching and learning, the World Wide Web offers in effect an advanced information retrieval service covering a vast range of subject matter, a glimpse of which will be given both in this presentation, and in the later 'hands-on' session. However, the disseminated structure of the information leads to difficulties in knowing where to find material of relevance in any particular case. The availability of search 'engines' allows an initial piece of perhaps quite vague knowledge to be used as the key to unlock these widely distributed resources. Some of the tools and resources currently in use for teaching Electrical Engineering in this Department will be shown. This theme will be further developed in the following presentation in which up-to-the-minute and future developments in the educational use of the Internet will be reviewed.
Another fascinating aspect of the Internet is the potential it offers for remote control of complex instruments. One example which will be demonstrated is the subject of research in this Department, and involves the remote control of a scanning electron microscope. This offers the prospect of substantial benefits for the manufacturer in terms of remotely monitoring instrumental performance, and for assistance in fault-finding. It also allows the possibility of access to such facilities by schools and other organisations for which ownership of a dedicated instrument may be impracticable.

David Holburn is a lecturer in the University Engineering Department, Cambridge. His teaching activities lie in the area of microelectronics and integrated circuit design, and his research interests include digital image processing, electron microscopy, and development of techniques for embedding computer technology in a wide range of instruments and other products.

Ruth Thomas
The rapid growth of the World Wide Web has made easy access to distributed multimedia (text, images, graphics, movies and sound) a possibility for many users. The potential for delivery of multimedia educational material to remote users is beginning to be recognised by courseware developers interested in open and distance learning. As a source of information, the web is supremely useful (if you know where to look); as a delivery medium for educational material it brings easy access to material on demand.

For teachers, however, there is a danger that the process is being technologically rather than educationally driven. Most computer-based courseware suffers from the same limitations as a book or video in that they have limited interactivity and the learner is a passive receiver of information. On the other hand, application programs which simulate phenomena or virtual environments possess a fundamental advantage over conventional multimedia resources in that they are highly reactive, learners can hypothesise and experiment, modifications can be made to the inputs, parameters and structure of a system and the results directly observed.

Simulation resources have not, in the past, been part of the Internet. The INTERACT project, however, has combined the advantages of both the Web and simulations, by producing an interactive simulation environment in which simulations can be integrated with the distributed multimedia of the World Wide Web. An outline of this environment and its use in teaching and training will be presented and the potential of recent developments in Web Technology in the field will be discussed.

John Coupland
The Institution of Electrical Engineers (IEE) has developed Internet services to provide information about the IEE and its services and to enhance communication with members and others. This presentation will demonstrate what information is currently available and look forward to future enhancements and developments. The IEE's World Wide Web services can be found at http://www.iee.org.uk.

Jeremy Barnes
Internet Futures: Widening the information super-footpath
TCP/IP, the protocol suite used to communicate across the Internet, has become the lingua franca of the networking world. Although it was never originally intended to support real-time applications such as telephony, the increasing power of desktop computers and the growth of multimedia is driving a requirement for integrated services over broadband internetworks.
Asynchronous Transfer Mode (ATM) has been developed over the past 10 years for precisely this reason, but until it is widely deployed (5-10 years), there will be a continuing requirement for the internetworking function of TCP/IP. Considerable effort is therefore being given to developing new protocols to support real time traffic and multicasting over the Internet, whilst efficiently using the features of underlying ATM transport networks where present.
The presentation will explore some of these technical issues, and develop Internet scenarios for the next 10 years as it evolves into the "Information Superhighway".

Jeremy Barnes received a degree in Physics from Durham University in 1991. He joined the Advanced Modelling Unit at BT Laboratories, investigating demand systems for broadband networks and services. Over the past two years, he has worked on analysing information networking technologies and realising their potential over an Asynchronous Transfer Mode campus network using Internet protocols. He has published several papers in the field of information networking, is a member of the IEEE and an IEE Associate.

Robert Fox

Dr Andy Hopper

Mike Cole
Getting started on the Internet
The future of the Internet depends critically on the ease with which the interested user can access its many facilities. This presentation gives an overview of some of the most important considerations including the equipment required and the associated costs, and describes how to gain access to the Internet by means of an Internet Service Provider. It is planned to include a live demonstration of some of the Internet's features using a laptop computer equipped with a modem and a standard telephone line.

IEE Home This page was prepared by David Holburn, and comes to you courtesy of Cambridge University Engineering Department. Last updated on 8 December 1995.