State budget threatens collaboration

A proposed Wisconsin budget would bar state universities from sharing data through a high-speed network.

By | June 15, 2011

Capitol Building, Madison, WisconsinRYANWICK VIA FLICKR

A bill currently awaiting approval by Wisconsin's legislature could jeopardize data-intensive research projects at the University of Wisconsin by effectively forcing the school to withdraw from high-speed networks, such as Internet2, that link universities around the world.

“Virtually all our science-based traffic...flows through that network, so it would be catastrophic,” said Paul DeLuca, the provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

One project at risk is the Protein Structure Initiative, which collects and shares x-ray crystallography and protein structure data among over a dozen institutions. The National Institutes of Health, which funds the project, requires participating universities to share data with researchers at other institutions, said Brian Fox, a biochemist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and head of the Transmembrane Protein Center.  If the law passes, the state university could be restricted from holding up its end of the bargain, he said, and “I would be worried that we would either lose funding or would not be competitive in the next rounds for funding.”.

Similarly, Timothy Donohue, a bacteriologist and head of the Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center, relies on the high-speed network to share data on the development of cellulosic biofuels between the University of Wisconsin and other participating institutions nationwide. The center’s $25 million annual grant from the Department of Energy requires that researchers transfer terabytes of data on plant genomes, microbial enzyme activity, and gene activation to several other institutions. Without access to high-speed networks, such data transfer would be impossible, he said.

The legislation also threatens the University of Wisconsin's involvement in a non-profit cooperative known as WiscNet, which provides high speed internet to public universities, most libraries and K-12 schools in the state. Lobbyists for the telecommunications industry have said that WiscNet is being subsidized by the University of Wisconsin, making it difficult for private internet providers to compete. But if the University of Wisconsin-Madison was barred from using WiscNet, it could pay up to four times as much with private providers, said Terry Millar, vice-chancellor of research at the university and a mathematician who has collaborated with the Large Hadron Collider at CERN in Switzerland on data-intensive projects.

The restrictions appeared in the bill last week while in the hands of the legislature’s joint finance committee. No on knows who initially proposed the provisions, but they took almost everyone by surprise, DeLuca said. “Very likely, it is an unintended consequence and whoever put it in the budget actually didn’t realize the implications of what they were doing,” he said.

Still, high-speed data sharing may yet get an eleventh hour reprieve. Late Tuesday (June 14), legislators crafted an amendment that would allow the University of Wisconsin to remain part of WiscNet until 2013, during which time the program would be audited to see how it operates. Furthermore, the final budget has yet to be approved, but lawmakers are planning to vote on it today (June 15).

 

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Comments

Avatar of: Lskall05

Anonymous

June 15, 2011

The legislature did remove that provision according to Madison's morning paper.  However, this is not the first provision that these legislators have inserted into legislation without understanding the implications of the provision.  That legislation  continues to be proposed without the legislators knowing its implications seems to be an indication of the complete lack of thought going into so many of these folks' budget provisions.  Other provisions that have generated a bipartisan negative response and claims by the legislators that they didn't understand the implications or didn't think anyone would object include the Wisconsin Venture Capital Investment bill and the provision that would put a stop to publishing the conflicts of interest of state officials.

Avatar of: Bob

Anonymous

June 15, 2011

I fondly remember a time when legislators would appear in the news as the proud authors of legislation that made things better, not for mysteriously making things worse out of sheer ignorance.  But then I'm old...

Avatar of: lynn

Anonymous

June 15, 2011

Sounds (again) like to good of corporate america (i.e. the telecom companies) is, again, being placed ahead of the good of the people....those the Legislators are there to supposedly "represent"!

Avatar of: David Gelfand

Anonymous

June 15, 2011

Would anyone expect Wisconsin Republicans to act any differently?

Avatar of: MSBEAR

Anonymous

June 15, 2011

With any luck we will remove enough republicans from the legislature in the July recalls to stop these idiocies from happening.  The fact we have had to recall them at all attests to the power big money (read Koch and the national republican party) can have in state elections by advertising false promises and lies.  The fact that every republican in the legislature is voting with this block of ignorant patsies just elected attests to the nature of the republican party.  The faster their out on their backsides the better for all education and enlightenment.

Avatar of: Xaxnar

Anonymous

June 15, 2011

The Wisconsin legislature has effectivelly been privatized; get your checkbook ready and submit your orders for legislation.

Avatar of: Duporter

Anonymous

June 15, 2011

capitalists 1, scientists 0

Avatar of: CryingintheUSA

CryingintheUSA

Posts: 1

June 15, 2011

The Green Bay Packers are being evicted in order to uphold the new ban on public gatherings and separation of the races laws. "you're either with us here in the seventeenth century or agin us"!

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

June 15, 2011

The legislature did remove that provision according to Madison's morning paper.  However, this is not the first provision that these legislators have inserted into legislation without understanding the implications of the provision.  That legislation  continues to be proposed without the legislators knowing its implications seems to be an indication of the complete lack of thought going into so many of these folks' budget provisions.  Other provisions that have generated a bipartisan negative response and claims by the legislators that they didn't understand the implications or didn't think anyone would object include the Wisconsin Venture Capital Investment bill and the provision that would put a stop to publishing the conflicts of interest of state officials.

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

June 15, 2011

I fondly remember a time when legislators would appear in the news as the proud authors of legislation that made things better, not for mysteriously making things worse out of sheer ignorance.  But then I'm old...

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

June 15, 2011

Sounds (again) like to good of corporate america (i.e. the telecom companies) is, again, being placed ahead of the good of the people....those the Legislators are there to supposedly "represent"!

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

June 15, 2011

Would anyone expect Wisconsin Republicans to act any differently?

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

June 15, 2011

With any luck we will remove enough republicans from the legislature in the July recalls to stop these idiocies from happening.  The fact we have had to recall them at all attests to the power big money (read Koch and the national republican party) can have in state elections by advertising false promises and lies.  The fact that every republican in the legislature is voting with this block of ignorant patsies just elected attests to the nature of the republican party.  The faster their out on their backsides the better for all education and enlightenment.

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

June 15, 2011

The Wisconsin legislature has effectivelly been privatized; get your checkbook ready and submit your orders for legislation.

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

June 15, 2011

capitalists 1, scientists 0

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

June 15, 2011

The Green Bay Packers are being evicted in order to uphold the new ban on public gatherings and separation of the races laws. "you're either with us here in the seventeenth century or agin us"!

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

June 15, 2011

The legislature did remove that provision according to Madison's morning paper.  However, this is not the first provision that these legislators have inserted into legislation without understanding the implications of the provision.  That legislation  continues to be proposed without the legislators knowing its implications seems to be an indication of the complete lack of thought going into so many of these folks' budget provisions.  Other provisions that have generated a bipartisan negative response and claims by the legislators that they didn't understand the implications or didn't think anyone would object include the Wisconsin Venture Capital Investment bill and the provision that would put a stop to publishing the conflicts of interest of state officials.

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

June 15, 2011

I fondly remember a time when legislators would appear in the news as the proud authors of legislation that made things better, not for mysteriously making things worse out of sheer ignorance.  But then I'm old...

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

June 15, 2011

Sounds (again) like to good of corporate america (i.e. the telecom companies) is, again, being placed ahead of the good of the people....those the Legislators are there to supposedly "represent"!

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

June 15, 2011

Would anyone expect Wisconsin Republicans to act any differently?

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

June 15, 2011

With any luck we will remove enough republicans from the legislature in the July recalls to stop these idiocies from happening.  The fact we have had to recall them at all attests to the power big money (read Koch and the national republican party) can have in state elections by advertising false promises and lies.  The fact that every republican in the legislature is voting with this block of ignorant patsies just elected attests to the nature of the republican party.  The faster their out on their backsides the better for all education and enlightenment.

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

June 15, 2011

The Wisconsin legislature has effectivelly been privatized; get your checkbook ready and submit your orders for legislation.

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

June 15, 2011

capitalists 1, scientists 0

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

June 15, 2011

The Green Bay Packers are being evicted in order to uphold the new ban on public gatherings and separation of the races laws. "you're either with us here in the seventeenth century or agin us"!

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

June 16, 2011

Incredibly foolish.  The internet was begun as a way for scientists and researchers to communicate and transfer results for additional work, critique, and peer review.  I can't understand how uneducated on the benefits of the internet you'd have to be to vote "aye" on this.

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

June 16, 2011

That sound you hear is Science packing up and moving to Asia and Europe. Welcome to sub saharan Africa America.

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

June 16, 2011

Incredibly foolish.  The internet was begun as a way for scientists and researchers to communicate and transfer results for additional work, critique, and peer review.  I can't understand how uneducated on the benefits of the internet you'd have to be to vote "aye" on this.

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

June 16, 2011

That sound you hear is Science packing up and moving to Asia and Europe. Welcome to sub saharan Africa America.

Avatar of: Broke_Daddy

Anonymous

June 16, 2011

Incredibly foolish.  The internet was begun as a way for scientists and researchers to communicate and transfer results for additional work, critique, and peer review.  I can't understand how uneducated on the benefits of the internet you'd have to be to vote "aye" on this.

Avatar of: ErnestPayne

ErnestPayne

Posts: 1

June 16, 2011

That sound you hear is Science packing up and moving to Asia and Europe. Welcome to sub saharan Africa America.

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