LA JOLLA, Calif. – Some of the country’s best in networking met last week to discuss advancements in research and education networks at The Quilt 2015 Winter Member Meeting in California.

The Quilt, a national coalition of advanced regional networks for research and education representing nearly 40 networks across the country, hosted the event with almost 100 participants from Quilt member organizations, affiliates and guests from throughout the country and world.

Representatives from the federal level also joined and included the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the National Science Foundation (NSF).

The formal event got underway with an informative briefing/overview of CC*IIE Regional Collaboration Awards featuring KINBER, OARnet, GPN, and FRGP. Kevin Thompson of the National Science Foundation provided an update from the NSF Division of Advanced Cyberinfrastructure.

Experts in cybersecurity from UEN, GPN, CENIC, Merit Network and MCNC organized a panel discussion to share insights into how their organizations are preparing for and responding to direct network attacks as well as attacks on member institutions.

And, finally, Jason Zurawski of ESnet gave a great presentation on understanding big data trends and the key role of regional networks in bridging needs and solutions. He added, “It’s not just infrastructure anymore, it’s an instrument.”

One of the more dynamic discussions featured FCC representatives Jonathan Chambers, Dana Shaffer, and Jon Wilkins who provided an overview of some of the commission’s broadband programs and opportunities available for research and education networks. They were able to field questions for more than an hour from attendees.

Of course there was plenty of time to network as well as attend a number of member briefings and breakout sessions on topics such as advanced networking, network security, R&E networking community building and much more.

The Quilt President and CEO Jen Leasure said the organization’s bi-annual member meetings are designed to inform members on interesting topics for regional networks as well as provide a forum for members to leverage each other’s knowledge and expertise to collectively advance networking for research and education throughout the country.

“We saw excellent engagement at this year’s winter meeting,” she said.

Several technology leaders from North Carolina also were in attendance including MCNC Chief Technology Officer Mark Johnson (past chairman of The Quilt Board of Directors).

“Working with our colleagues at The Quilt allows us to learn from and adopt the good things they are doing for community anchor institutions so we can continue to provide the best customer experience for our users on the North Carolina Research and Education Network,” he commented.