Sunday, April 13, 2008
I think my visit to Pakistan was a success. The launch event was well-attended. The workshop following the event raised lots of good questions and encouraged discussion. I understand much more about the challenges many Pakistan universities face and how (and how not) this network connection can fit into their educational plans. The event seems to gotten publicity in Pakistan. A Google search on "nsf hec pakistan network connection" shows articles in 6 newspapers about the inauguration and workshop.
We hope to have the network connection up and operational about June 1. That seems quite possible. There is interest in Pakistan (and I believe in the US) in holding a joint HEC-NSF high definition video conference event between Dr. Atta and Dr. Bement to celebrate the connection actually passing traffic. In addition to the VC, we would hope to have some sort on "inaugural application" in operation over the connection between the US and Pakistan. But, those details remain to be worked out.
After the connection comes up, planning will begin for a US-Pakistan workshop on the advanced collaborative use of the connection. The workshop will highlight 3-4 application areas of current or potential collaborations and focus on the role of high performance networking between the two countries in enhancing/beginning these collaborations.
Saturday, April 12, 2008
Day 6 – returning home…airline delays…who would have thought
I am ready to return home!! I miss my family and I miss
The day began with a quick trip to the airport…but that was the only quick thing so far…airport security in
The flight finally got off the ground about 20 minutes late. This will make my connection in
No problems….ha, ha…
My flight into London was late, so I dashed off the plane and hurried through security and passport control and on to….nothing….there was no evidence of a Northwest Airlines flight to anywhere in the Heathrow airport. Just was beginning to panic the friendly British Airways person said…”Check out the KLM transfer desk”. KLM knew what I was talking about and directed me to the correct place.
Of course, the NWA flight was late….90 minutes late departing
First stop, passport control…wonderful…no lines, I walk right up to a desk with a big smile on my face, the smiling guy behind the desk chats me up a bit and then utters the fateful phrase no one wants to hear…”Supervisor to Lane 12”. So, I got grilled about my travels to
Bottom line is…I did make my flight by running…last person to board…
But, that flight was delayed also…so, I arrived in Indy about 10:15pm and in
Day 5 (Last day in
I had a meeting with some staff from the US Embassy this morning. They seemed interested and helpful…but I am just a visitor and they are here permanently. So they have a different way of thinking about and viewing things…They know how slowly things can work in
Oddly enough, one of the Embassy employees knew Brad Wheeler from previous
I had an afternoon meeting at the National University of Science and Technology (NUST). They already have some international partnership and would like to use this connection to leverage their existing relationships and create new ones. They seem well funded and committed. We will see…
I visited the Pakistan Museum of Natural History on Thursday afternoon. It was very interesting. You get a better sense of how
I have been feeling a little sick. Not so good given that I will be flying for 20+ hours tomorrow. I will be careful what I eat and I am sure it will be fine. I hope to sleep much of the way…
A delightful 4:30am wake-up call…and then off…
Wednesday, April 9, 2008
I wonder what it is like to work and live in a religious culture like Pakistan. None of the people I met with and worked with seem very religious...but religion is obviously a huge part of this country, in all aspects.
At first women being covered seemed odd and out of place. Now it seems very normal, after only 4 days. In Islamabad, the women all wear pants and many wear traditional clothes and cover their heads. In the country, all women i saw were covered, most in what appeared to be sheets of interesting colors. But, some were wearing a burqa. I wonder how/if men think about women differently when all they can see is their face or head/shoulders.
Williams Remarks at HEC meeting in
Thank you Dr. Naqvi…
It is an honor and a privilege to address this distinguished group.
I would like to begin my short remarks with a quote.
One objective that originated in that meeting is, now quoting directly from the report…“introduction of high speed connectivity between the two countries”. Today we announce a very significant step toward meeting that objective.
However, one point needs to be made clearly. This is a beginning, not an end. The primary objective of the Joint Committee Meeting was to enhance collaborations between US and
As we will see later in this Workshop, the areas of scientific collaboration between the
This connection will enable high speed transfer of medical images between countries. It will facilitate sharing of medical and research databases and publications. It will allow research groups separated by half a world to communicate easily via video conference and to use the newest of collaborative tools. It will facilitate sharing of the best of
The technology for making this network connection between the
I would like to conclude my remarks with a second quote that may be familiar to you… “With faith, discipline and selfless devotion to duty, there is nothing worthwhile that you cannot achieve.” Of course, that is Muhammad Ali Jinnah.
Thank you again for inviting me to
The second part of the dedication was a workshop on the description and capabilities of this new network connection. This was all me interacting with the audience. This seemed to go well also. Some universities have a good idea of how this new capability can be used...others not so much.
Following the workshop I spent 15 minutes with Dr. Atta-ur-Rahman. He is a very dynamic leader. He fulfills his role as Chairman of the HEC and also edits journals in his academic field (Chemistry) and continues to have graduate students.
One funny event happened during the meeting...we were talking and there was a huge explosion (loud noise) . Dr. Rahman was quiet for a moment...then smiled and said, "Just a tire...not a bomb.....I think...no sirens...". The conversation (which was very interesting) continued...
Tomorrow...meeting with some staff from the Embassy in the morning, with the National University of Science and Technology in the afternoon...then packing and getting ready for a 20 hour plane ride home....
Tuesday, April 8, 2008
Today was a long and interesting day. We went to Ghulam Ishaq Khan Institute of Engineering Sciences and Technology (GIKI) in Topi in the North West Frontier Provinces about 100 kilometers from
Even a short distance out of
The visit to GIKI was excellent. I believe they will be very receptive to our new network connection. But, they are quite separated from central
We next visited the National University of Science and Technology (NUST) back in
NUST will be a huge university complex in
The last stop of a long day was the
That was it….long day….I am tired….
Plans for Day 4
Plans for Day 4
Wednesday is the day of the big kickoff event. It will be broadcast via VC in
After the morning speeches, the workshop in the afternoon will have 2 parts….Part #1 – a simple explanation of the network connection intended for the non-engineering attendees. Then we will have lunch. Then Part #2 will be more detailed and interactive for universities and research groups who might make immediate use of the connection (the more clueful…) I have my remarks prepared for both sessions and it should be pretty straight forward.
Islamabad at night
This was pretty amazing and deserves its own section.. Three of my Pakistani friends took me to Pir Sohawa (Pir Sohwa) in Daman-e-Koh for dinner. It was an amazing steep dirve up from
Monday, April 7, 2008
Day2 began at 3am...sigh...not unexpected, but not what I had hoped for after taking a sleeping pill at 10pm. Oh, well.....It is now about 7pm and I am exhausted and hopeful of better sleep tonight...
My meetings at the HEC, Pakistan-NIH, Pakistan Institute of Engineering and Applied Sciences and with PTCL (the network carrier) all seemed to go well. People understand that with this new high performance connection they can do things faster. But, it is hard to get them to think about doing totally new things. Of course, that is a problem in general.
Tomorrow will be another long day (7am departure...who knows exactly when I will return). But, I sense that yesterday was a success and am hopeful about tomorrow. At least I will get to see a bit of northern Pakistan as we are going to Ghulam Ishaq Khan Institute of Engineering Sciences and Technology (GIKI) tomorrow. Hence the 7am departure.
Now...maybe a bit to eat....then certainly to bed....
Sunday, April 6, 2008
But, what is the deal with cricket. That is all over the TV here and I cannot figure out even who is ahead. One team is up by 154...but is that good?
I guess since cricket seems so popular I should at least visit Wikipedia and try to learn more about the game...
Saturday, April 5, 2008
It is startling cool in Islamabad (50s this morning when I arrived). My travel for the airport to the Serena Hotel was also uneventful. Not much to report about any part of Pakistan yet...
I am going to take a nap now, then maybe catch a workout and look around the hotel.
My meetings begin tomorrow.
Side note - Security is a concern here, as you might expect. When you arrive at the hotel in a taxi (selected by the Serena) you are stopped at an outer security barrier. There guards search the taxi, under the hood and in the trunk and then they transfer you (bags and all) to another car (based at the Serena) for the 100 meter final trip to the front of the hotel, where you and your bags go through security...again...quite impressive...