Steven Goldstein Elected to the Russian Academy of Sciences

July 21, 2006

In 1989, as the world's superpowers were preparing to formally declare the end of the Cold War, Steven Goldstein joined the National Science Foundation (NSF) and commenced a different type of United States-Russian diplomacy that attracted little fanfare—until now.

This May, Goldstein was elected as a Foreign Member of the Russian Academy of Sciences for promoting support for scientific collaboration between the U.S. and Russian scientific communities. This started with his facilitating the first Internet link between Russia and the United States in support of science. The Russian Academy of Sciences is the highest scientific society and principal coordinating body for research in natural and social sciences, technology and production in Russia.

What began 12 years ago as a simple 64 Kbps link between the U.S. and Moscow, has grown to gigabit speeds, currently circles the globe and also touches down in the newly emerging superpower China . It has helped foster a new generation of scientific collaboration among countries that do not always see eye-to-eye on the world stage. “I believe that this honor reflects the continuing desire of Russia 's scientific leadership to engage with the rest of the world's researchers in the most constructive manner,” said Goldstein. “Collectively, there is much that can be offered to the world by such cooperation.”

During Goldstein's tenure as a program director in the NSF's Computer and Information Sciences and Engineering (CISE) Directorate, he first launched the International Connections Management (ICM) project in 1991. ICM succeeded in connecting academic networks from about 25 countries to the NSFnet and to its advanced networking successor, the vBNS. The Russia connection was implemented in 1994.

Goldstein's focus then shifted to advanced international networking under the NSF High Performance International Internet Services project (HPIIS). Under HPIIS, a high-performance link with Russia was implemented, first as MIRnet, and in a later more advanced version, as NaukaNet. He served as the U.S. representative to the G7 Global Information Society initiative entitled "Global Interoperability of Broadband Networks" (GIBN). To further the GIBN goals, he awarded a grant to implement the international networking exchange point in Chicago, STAR TAP, and as the technology progressed, its transition to the fully optical exchange point, StarLight.

Goldstein helped to guide the high-impact HPIIS follow-on to NaukaNet, the Global Ring for Advanced Application Development (GLORIAD), formally launched in January 2004 with the U.S., Russia and China as founding members. GLORIAD is constructing a dedicated lightwave round-the-world link, connecting the U.S., Russia, China, and recently added partners Korea, Canada, the Netherlands and the Nordic countries.

Goldstein gratefully acknowledges the support of former NSF Networking and Communications Research and Infrastructure (NCRI) Division Director Steve Wolff and the former Advanced Networking Infrastructure & Research (ANIR) Division Director Aubrey Bush. “They strongly supported scientific collaboration at the most demanding computational levels by approving this award for a partnership that now involves seven major entities who are advancing cooperation with each other for the good of the planet and its inhabitants,” said Goldstein.

Goldstein earned S.B. (1961) and S.M. (1963) degrees in Physics (with a minor in Russian) at M.I.T. and a PhD. in Engineering and Public Policy (1981) at Carnegie-Mellon University . He served in the U.S. Naval Reserve after having received his master's degree from M.I.T. That tour brought him to Washington, D.C., where he has remained throughout the rest of his career and into retirement.

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