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Brent Sweeny earns President's Leadership Award from Internet2

President's Leadership Award recognizes career promoting advanced networking

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — Indiana University's Brent Sweeny recently received the President’s Leadership Award at the 2014 Internet2 Global Summit. The award recognizes his ongoing career of promoting community development and engagement in global advanced networking for research and education. Sweeny is currently a senior network engineer at the Global Research Network Operations Center (GlobalNOC).

The award honors individuals within the Internet2 research and education (R&E) community for their exceptional service and dedication to the community, and for efforts above and beyond expectations. Over Sweeny’s nearly 40-year career at IU, he has made an indelible mark on the university and Internet2 networks.

In the 1980s, when the practice of “Googling” information was still decades away, Sweeny connected the Internet to IU and other Midwestern universities. In the 1990s, he served as IU’s lead network engineer, helping design and build Abilene, Internet2’s first national network. This high performance backbone network connected researchers all over the US, speeding discovery in a wealth of fields. Through the years, Sweeny has shared his expertise with colleagues worldwide, speaking, teaching and presenting on internet-related technical topics.

"Brent’s influence on IU networking cannot be overstated. Brent essentially introduced the Internet to IU and the greater Bloomington community, and he has shown a visionary leadership in advancing networks for research and education," said Brad Wheeler, IU vice president for IT and CIO. "Scientists, researchers and students the world over have benefitted from Brent's significant contributions in this field."

"Brent is truly deserving of this Internet2 honor," said Dave Jent, IU associate vice president for networks. "From his early days establishing the first IP network at IU Bloomington to his tireless efforts as an instructor at Internet2 workshops, he has been an innovative, boundary-pushing colleague working to make networks better and more efficient. What’s truly amazing is that Brent is a man who has seen the birth of the Internet and remembers when an iOS upgrade meant swapping chips. And yet, no matter how far our high performance networks can take us today, Brent is still working to improve and fine-tune them for tomorrow."

Through the years, Sweeny has helped organize and convene a number of prominent high performance network events, including iGrid and more than 10 Supercomputing Conferences. He has also served as a network engineering reviewer for a National Science Foundation panel.

From 2008 to 2012, he implemented a Cisco TelePresence National Research and Education Exchange within National LambdaRail (NLR), a high performance network operator. (TelePresence is an immersive conference system in which remote participants appear life-size on screen.) This enabled TelePresence connectivity throughout the R&E community, advancing communication and collaboration. Since 2012, he has worked with Internet2 on expanding international TelePresence capability.

Sweeny is an active member of a number of technical advisory groups, working groups and technical conferences, including the TransPAC3 operational advisory group, the Internet2 DCN Working Group, the Internet2 Internet Protocol Version 6 Working Group, the National Coordinating Office-sponsored Joint Engineering Team (where he has represented TransPAC, Internet2, NLR, and the Committee on Institutional Cooperation), the Asia-Pacific Advanced Network, Internet2 Member meetings and Joint Techs meetings, and the Quilt Telepresence Working Group.

(Photo credit: Internet2/Jocelyn Augustino)