Access to Scientific Information: The Ukrainian Research and Academic Network
National Technical University of Ukraine
The Ukraine and Russia have a long and strong history in the areas of cybernetics, mathematics, and computer sciences. In 1952 the Ukraine created the third computer in the world, after the United States and Great Britain. Yet, all of the social and economic problems of the last decade have greatly reduced these investigations, especially in technology.
THE UKRAINIAN RESEARCH AND ACADEMIC NETWORK
In the course of the last six years Ukrainian science and education have been actively developed, and there is a Ukrainian scientific and educational information portal. The portal is a powerful information gateway. The main segment of this portal is the scientific and educational computer network: the Ukrainian Research and Academic Network (URAN). URAN was created in two stages. The backbone was implemented from 1996 to 2000 with the basic nodes in six Ukrainian cities. In 2002 the second stage was implemented and the regional nodes were created in six more cities.
The topology of URAN is star-shaped with reserve segments that are determined by application of asynchronous-transfer-mode networking technology. URAN uses various types of channels, including the main ground-based channels of the Ukrainian telephone company and its own satellite channels. The URAN has a three-level architecture. The first level includes the central node in Kiev, the main optical fiber and satellite channels, and the data transfer connected to the Internet. The second level includes the network regional nodes. The third level comprises information infrastructure and incorporates networks of universities, academic institutions, and scientific libraries. This is where users access the URAN resources. The significant progress in integration of the Ukrainian scientific and educational information portal with European and global information was made by its connection to the international educational and academic network, GEANT, a detector description and simulation tool. The main optic fiber channels of this network have a data transfer rate of 10 gigabits per second. In November 2002 Ukraine was the first of the Commonwealth of Independent States countries to be connected to GEANT via Ukrainian telecom channels at a rate of 34 megabits per second.
The second segment of the Ukrainian information portal includes centers with educational and informational software that provide access to students. This distance learning system coordinates and provides access to organizations, distance learning and professional orientation centers, educational and scientific institutions, developers,
and students of the system using the resources of URAN. The methodology of distance learning is based upon the principles of shells. In such shells systems, which have their own internal structure and connections, only the content part of the shells changes, namely, information. Despite a variation in information other general system models of the shell do not change. At present there are 15 regional nodes of distance learning in the Ukraine, which are connected in the integrated medium by means of the URAN system.
The third segment of the Ukrainian information portal provides access to the electronic information resources of science and education in accordance with the three levels of the computer network—Internet, intranet, and corporate networks. This segment is connected to regional laboratories with remote access to information resources in the fields of economics and management, ecology, medicine, biology, physics, mathematics, modeling of complex processes, telemedicine, and other fields. These resources include online electronic libraries from various organizations, universities, academic institutions, the Ukrainian National Academy of Sciences, public libraries, and distance learning centers. The network of online electronic libraries includes library resources in scientific and educational fields. The system is built upon unified operational software, hardware, and technical platforms.
The fourth segment of the informational portal is a national educational information system called OSVITA. This system solves the educational management problems, such as the problems of automation of information collection and processing and the collection of state documents on education. OSVITA is a complex grouping of administrative legal, software, and hardware facilities. The system makes it possible to create a unified information infrastructure to process data on education, preserving their validity and integrity, and providing reliable information protection mechanisms. The OSVITA system ensures that complex information production systems used to create state documents on education will function.
An application of the Ukrainian information portal involves solving the problem of ecological monitoring of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, as well as the development of the telemedical channel for the diagnosis and treatment of those working at this plant. One of the problems is the necessity for continuous control over the area above the plant. There are a number of regional centers monitoring ecological conditions in the area. The continuous monitoring of ecological conditions in the Ukraine shows that the plant zone itself and considerable adjacent territories are still polluted with radioactive substances such as plutonium isotopes. Such complex industrial factors have no analogies from the point of view of their harmful impact upon human health.
The power engineering specialists working in the Chernobyl nuclear power plant live approximately 30 km from Chernobyl. There are 4,363 people working at the reactor. Of those, 1,375 are women. Practically all the inhabitants of the city are in contact with ionizing radiation conditions. More than 84 percent of the inhabitants suffer from the Chernobyl disaster. These people need special, high-quality medical service and exhaustive consulting assistance. The obstacle is insufficient technical equipment in patient care institutions and remoteness from the regional center.
The purpose of the monitoring system is also to analyze the state of health of various professional groups while taking into account the risk factors. The system will make it possible to work out individual programs of health recovery. The absence of such a system is one of the reasons that approximately 600,000 people have become invalids from the Chernobyl catastrophe. A number of measures aimed at protecting the plant’s personnel against harmful impacts and risk factors will be implemented. Medical monitoring is necessary to establish the expert diagnostic system and the system of remote transfer of the analysis and research data. It will make it possible to carry out consultations by means of telecommunication.
The Chernobyl telemedicine system consists of two centers. One is the diagnostic and rehabilitation center, which is situated in Slavutych City. It monitors the main medical factors of employees of the Chernobyl power plant and members of their families, in accordance with individual programs. These data are transferred by the URAN system to the international telemedicine center, which is located in Kiev, at the National Technical University of Ukraine—Kiev Polytechnic Institute. Highly qualified specialists in the field of medicine work in this center. They analyze the data obtained on each patient and work out recommendations for prevention and
treatment. The project is intended for three years and its estimated cost is about U.S. $300,000. This project is financed from the municipal budget of Chernobyl.
Development of the Ukrainian information portal will help solve the problems of access to the digital information resources of different sectors of science and education in the Ukraine.