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Robert Kahn: A Different Kind of Internet

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Corporation for National Research Initiatives Chairman and CEO Robert Kahn

CNRI Chairman and CEO Robert Kahn

Nobel Science Popularization

Robert E. Kahn of the nonprofit Corporation for National Research Initiatives (CNRI) envisions an Internet that manages information rather than just moves it around. He says this can be facilitated by Digital Object Architecture, whose core element is a digital objector, or structured information that incorporates a unique identifier, and which can be parsed by any machine aware of the structure of digital objects. Areas where Digital Object Architecture applications have potential include archiving, with Kahn pointing out that CNRI has experimented with some archival capabilities on the Internet with the goal of fulfilling long-term archival storage needs.

"My hope is that we can make the digital object technology, which operated in the Internet environment, available as we did with the original Internet technology, and get a lot of people in the public and private sectors to understand its power and the capability," Kahn says. "Because it's an open architecture, it has the potential to grow organically as did the nascent Internet."

Kahn sees medical informatics as another potential application area for Digital Object Architecture. He says the architecture intrinsically incorporates public key infrastructure to ensure user identity authentication. "The government's role in things infrastructural is absolutely essential," Kahn says. "It really is very difficult — I would say almost impossible — to create national infrastructure without at least the imprimatur of the government."

From Government Computer News

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Abstracts Copyright © 2009 Information Inc., Bethesda, Maryland, USA


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