Karel Vietsch 24/11/1952 – 23/02/2014

Karel Vietsch, after having received a Dutch Royal decoration, 13 May 2013

Karel Vietsch, after having received a Dutch Royal decoration, 13 May 2013

TERENA is mourning the loss of Karel Vietsch, who passed away on 23 February 2014. Karel had been TERENA’s Secretary General from March 1996 until March 2012, when illness prevented him from fulfilling his duties. In spite of this illness, Karel continued to show a strong attention to TERENA activities, providing information and support to the Secretariat staff and occasionally engaging with the wider community. He will be much missed.

As Secretary-General, Karel’s responsibilities included the day-to-day management of the TERENA Secretariat staff, the execution of policies and activities, and reporting to the TERENA Executive Committee. Karel also represented TERENA in contacts with other organisations.

His extensive knowledge, paired with his ability to commit fully to TERENA’s goals, made Karel a respected personality in the wider research and education networking community. In 2013 Karel’s outstanding contribution to networking and the Internet was rewarded; appointed an Officer in the Dutch Royal Order of Orange-Nassau, Karel was presented with the royal insignia during a private ceremony on 13 May.

Speaking on behalf of the TERENA Secretary staff, Acting Secretary General Valentino Cavalli said, “I would like to express the highest respect to Karel for having brilliantly shaped TERENA during all his years in service, as well as our gratitude for the message he gave us through his conduct in his work – thoroughly business wise and intrinsically ethical. We will miss you, Karel.”

If you wish to leave a message of condolence for Karel’s family, please post your message at the bottom of this page and we will pass it on.

Short biography
Karel graduated from Leiden University in 1975 with a major in mathematics and minors in economics and theoretical computer science. He was a teacher and researcher at Leiden University, and obtained a PhD in mathematics in 1979. After doing military service in The Hague, sharing one computer with twenty other conscripts, he joined Delft University of Technology as manager of the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science.

In 1984 he moved to the Science Policy Department of the Dutch Ministry of Education and Sciences, where he was involved in the implementation of the research part of the government’s Computer Science Promotion Plan, which included the creation of a national research network, SURFnet. Climbing through the ranks within the ministry he became Head of Unit for Information and Infrastructure in 1992, whereafter in 1996 he joined TERENA as Secretary-General.

Karel’s busy work schedule left him little spare time, but when he found some time off to travel he was keen to enjoy the atmosphere and culture of TERENA member countries.

Further information
The news item “TERENA Secretary General receives royal honour” links to photos from the decoration event of 13 May 2013 and contains more details about Karel’s achievements. A short video of the ceremony is available on TERENAtube.

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NEW: TERENA and GÉANT invite nominations for Community Awards

During TNC2013, Nicole Harris (TERENA) gave a heartfelt speech in posthumous recognition of contributions made by Milan Sova (CESNET) to R&E networking.

TERENA and the GÉANT project have collaborated to open up Community Awards to nominations from across the research and education networking community, and are pleased to announce the call for nominations. These awards are designed to show gratitude and respect to teams or individuals who have shared their ideas, expertise and time with the community. Such contributions are often provided voluntarily and through good will. These awards were introduced by TERENA in 2012, with recipients being honoured online and during the annual TERENA Networking Conference (TNC).

Up to three nominees may be selected by a panel of judges from among the GÉANT and TERENA community. The winner(s) will be presented with a small personal gift on Thursday 22 May during the closing plenary session of TNC2014 in Dublin, Ireland. Nominations can be submitted until midnight on 20 March 2014.

For the past few years, the TNC has been the place where public recognition has been given to members of the European research and education networking community for their contributions to the development of relevant technologies and services or to collaborative community activities. The new nominations procedure, sponsored by the GÉANT project, not only opens the awards up to greater community engagement within Europe, but also invites nominations from and about people in other world regions.

Who can be nominated?

Nominees should meet one or more of the following criteria:

  • he /she shared an idea with the community that developed into something significant such as a well-used tool or service;
  • he / she made a significant contribution to a number of community activities over a sustained period;
  • he / she has made significant contributions to important / recognisable developments within the past 12 months.

‘Winners’ could be individuals or small teams of named individuals. Winning nominee(s) should meet the same affiliation requirements as those for people submitting nominations (see below).

Who can submit nominations?

Nominations are welcome from:

  • staff employed or sub-contracted by: GÉANT project partner organisations; DANTE; TERENA national, associate or international member organisations;
  • national or continental research and education networking organisations from outside Europe, including AARNET, APAN, CANARIE, Internet2, RedCLARA, Ubuntunet;
  • individuals who participate in one or more TERENA task force(s) or other TERENA activities, whether by attending meetings or simply being on the mailing list;
  • other individuals who have registered to attend TNC2014.

A maximum of two submissions per person will be accepted; if more nominations are submitted, only the first two will be taken into account.

How to submit nominations

Nominations can be submitted using the online nomination form. In order for TERENA and the judges to assess all nominations equally and to follow up on nominations, questions cover some basic facts about the person submitting the form, as well as about the person being nominated and supporting information. Please note that all fields are compulsory.

Among other things, people submitting nominations will be asked to explain why the nominee deserves special recognition, whether such recognition would be particularly timely during TNC2014, whether their work was part of a team effort or has already received wider recognition, and whether the nominator has any ideas for a relevant (token) gift.

Background information

TERENA presented the first community awards in 2012 and 2013 based on internal recommendations. The nominations and judging procedures that have been introduced in 2014 are possible thanks to financial support from the GÉANT project, which primarily covers administrative costs.

If you have any queries, please contact pr@terena.org.

Information about past Community Award winners.

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TNC2014: early bird registration closing soon!

tnc2014RegisterThe discounted fee for early-bird registration for this year’s TERENA Networking Conference (TNC2014) will be available for just a few more days. Registration before 24 February costs €550, including access to all sessions, demonstrations, posters, exhibits, lightning talks and social events as well as coffee and lunch breaks. After this deadline you can still register online until 9 May at a cost of €650. TERENA invites you to take advantage of the discount while the early-bird period continues!

Registration desk

After 9 May on-site registration will be possible during TNC2014 in Dublin at the full fee (€750). Please note that payments may be made by credit card, bank draft or in cash. If you require supporting documentation in order to obtain a visa, you should contact Valerie Abbott from Abbey Conference and Corporate; she can help you with obtaining the required documents.

About the conference

TNC2014 will be held between 19-22 May 2014 in Dublin, Ireland, hosted by HEAnet, Ireland’s national research and education networking (NREN) organisation. Through keynote speeches by renowned specialists and many parallel sessions, the conference will present an overview of the latest developments in research networking, both in the technical field and in the areas of application and management. This year’s theme is ‘Networking with the World’.

The conference will bring together decision makers, managers, networking professionals, collaboration specialists, and identity and access management experts from all major European networking and research organisations, universities, world-wide sister institutions, as well as industry representatives.


Companies wanting to gain exposure in, and build relationships with, the European research and education networking community can become a sponsoring partner of TNC2014. For more information please contact Gyöngyi Horváth, TERENA’s Conference and Workshop Organiser, at horvath@terena.org.


An exhibition area dedicated to demonstrations and exhibits will be set up in the TNC2014 conference venue. Companies and projects wishing to participate should contact tnc2014@terena.org.

Further information

All information can be found on the TNC2014 website.

Follow @TERENAorg and #TNC14 on Twitter and further announcements here and on the TERENA Facebook pages.

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TNC2014: call for student contest participation

ImagePost-graduate students working in appropriate fields are invited to submit proposals for this year’s student contest at the TERENA Networking Conference (TNC2014), which is sponsored by Cisco Systems and Internet Society. Submissions should be made in PDF format no later than 16 April 2014.

This is the sixth consecutive year of the contest, which has seen posters submitted and presented on a wide range of topics relevant to research and education networking. However, a new twist this year is that accepted poster presenters may also be selected to present their topic in one of the two ‘lightning talks’ sessions at TNC2014.

The TNC2014 poster and lightning talk contest gives students in emerging research areas the chance to gain exposure for their ideas and to gather feedback to further inform their efforts. Submissions will be evaluated on their relevance, importance and quality by a contest committee. Ten posters will be selected for presentation at TNC2014 with one author from each selected submission able to attend TNC2014 free of charge and potentially receiving financial support for travel. The best of these ten will go through for presentation as a lightning talk. The sponsors will award an additional prize to the author whose poster and talk are voted the best by TNC2014 attendees.

How to enter the contest

Submitted student posters (and lightning talks) may be about any topic relevant to TNC2014’s theme, ‘Networking with the world’, including ‘How to support big and open science’, ‘Connecting minds’, ‘Experimentation as a service’, ‘Shaping cloud services’, ‘Privacy and convenience’, ‘Security and resilience’, ‘Platforms, devices and mobility’, and ‘Managing identity in a linked world’.

Applications should include:

  • title of the poster (and lightning talk);
  • name, school, and contact information of the submitting author;
  • names, affiliations, and contact information of any additional authors;
  • name of the presenter (if different from the submitting author);
  • an extended abstract (max. 2 pages) describing the content of the poster.

A draft poster and talk may also be submitted to support the abstract. Judges may provide feedback on chosen materials.

Send an email with the subject: ‘TNC2014 student contest submission’ to tnc2014@terena.org.

Further information

TNC posters present (technical) work achieved using graphs and images more than text, and take a less formal approach than a regular session presentation. Lightning talks are 5-minute presentations focusing on one key point, allowing you to present a project’s updates, get community feedback on an idea, share a quick tip or invite the community to collaborate.

The sponsorship of student poster presentations at TNC allows students to attend the event free of charge, giving them access to experts in a range of research networking fields.

More information about the Internet Society and Cisco Systems online.

Details of previous TNC student contest winners can be viewed at the TERENA Student Award Winners web page.

Follow @TERENAorg and #TNC14 on Twitter and further announcements here and on the TERENA Facebook pages.

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Submit TNC2014 lightning talks and posters – earliest get early-bird discount!

ImageFor anyone wanting to present their work in poster format or to share their ideas with the research and education networking community in a five-minute ‘lightning talk’, there is the chance to do so at this year’s TERENA Networking Conference, TNC2014. The conference will explore topics around the theme ‘Networking with the world’ and will be held in Dublin, Ireland, 19-22 May.

Proposals are invited until 16 April, but early submissions are advised so that presenters of posters and lightning talks may also benefit from the early-bird registration discount, which is available until 24 February.

Lightning talks

Lightning talks focus on one key point, allowing you to present a project’s updates, get community feedback on an idea, share a quick tip or invite the community to collaborate. To submit a five-minute lightning talk proposal, email lightning-talks@terena.org including your biography, the proposed title and a short description of your talk.

Poster proposals

Posters should focus more on presenting work achieved, summarising with graphs and images more than text and taking a less formal approach than in a regular session presentation. Featuring a poster at TNC2014 will serve as an excellent advertisement for your work, and can act as a great conversation starter with other participants. Selected posters will be displayed in an area close to the parallel sessions and on the conference website. To submit a poster proposal, email TNC2014@terena.org with the subject ‘TNC2014 Poster’ and include the following information:

  • poster title;
  • name, affiliation, and contact information of the submitting author;
  • names, affiliations, and contact information of any additional authors;
  • name of the poster presenter (if different from the submitting author);
  • an extended abstract (max. 1 page) describing the content of the poster;
  • a draft poster may also be submitted to support the abstract.

Early-bird discount

The discounted fee for TNC2014 early-bird registration is €550. After 24 February it will still be possible to register online, until 9 May, with the full cost of €650. People whose lightning talks are accepted for presentation at TNC2014 will qualify for a speaker discount. The conference fee includes access to all conference sessions, materials and social events as well as lunches and coffee breaks.

Further information

All information regarding TNC2014 registration, lightning talk and poster submissions, conference topics and the full schedule of presentations can be found on the TNC2014 website.

TNC2014 will be hosted by HEAnet, Ireland’s national research and education networking organisation. The event will bring together decision makers, managers, networking professionals, collaboration specialists, and identity and access management experts from networking and research organisations, universities, and industry from around the world.

Follow @TERENAorg and #TNC14 on Twitter and further announcements here and on the TERENA Facebook pages.

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Karel Vietsch, TERENA Secretary General, receives royal honour


Karel Vietsch receiving the Dutch royal insignia. More photos are available at http://on.fb.me/16992jK

TERENA’s Secretary General, Karel Vietsch, has been honoured with a royal decoration for his outstanding contribution to research and education networking and the Internet in general. Appointed an Officer in the Order of Orange-Nassau, Karel was presented with the Dutch royal insignia by the Vice-Mayor and Alderman of Leiden, Mr. Robert Strijk, during a private ceremony on Monday 13 May.

Karel has continued to show his commitment to research and education networking during the past year, despite an illness that has caused him to be on leave since March 2012. During this time he still provided support and information to TERENA Secretariat staff and participated in some community meetings. Speaking on behalf of the staff, Acting Secretary General Valentino Cavalli said, “we owe a lot of what we are now to Karel and are thrilled that his important contribution to research and education networking has been recognised with this royal honour. We congratulate Karel whole-heartedly on this achievement.”

Please add your name and country of origin and / or message of congratulation below. We will pass these on to Karel.

An album of photos from the ceremony is available on TERENA’s Facebook page: http://on.fb.me/16992jK

Keep reading for more information about Karel’s life and achievements:

Karel’s royal distinction was supported by friends and colleagues from various phases of his career.

Gerard Weel is a former colleague from the Dutch Ministry of Education and Sciences, where Karel worked from 1984 and headed the Department of Information and Infrastructure from 1992-1996. He said “the European research networking infrastructure, the expansion to East European countries, the intercontinental connectivity of European research and thus the node position of the Dutch SURFnet in my opinion to a considerable extent are due to the amiable, intelligent and tenacious commitment of Dr. Karel Vietsch.”

During his time at the Ministry, Karel was involved in the implementation of the research part of the government’s Computer Science Promotion Plan, which included the creation of SURFnet. He also represented the Netherlands in the Co-operation for Open Systems Interconnection Networking in Europe (COSINE) project’s Policy Group. Dr. Peter Tindemans, who chaired that group said, “he was exceptionally good at his place in the international game: tenacious, knowledgeable, accurate, amiable, easily making contacts whether with policy-makers, administrators or researchers and technical specialists.”

When Karel became TERENA Secretary General in 1996 “he stabilised the situation,” according to Kees Neggers, who headed SURFnet for many years and knew Karel since the 1980s. Formed from the fusion of RARE and EARN, TERENA was experiencing internal cultural differences that Karel soon smoothed. “This is where Karel made an indispensible contribution to the healthy development of networking in Europe and ensured that Amsterdam fulfilled a key role in the current Internet.”

Another early achievement at TERENA was Karel’s contribution to the blossoming of RIPE NCC, with his recognition that it should break away from TERENA and become an independent organisation. Daniel Karrenberg, one of RIPE’s founders and its Chief Scientist, said, “Karel contributed to it becoming a globally respected institution in the self-managed Internet. I am of the opinion that Karel’s contribution to the self-management of the Internet was crucial in its formative period. Without Karel the Internet in Europe would perhaps have been less successful.”

Dorte Olesen, former head of the Danish national research and education networking organisation UNI.C and former TERENA president agrees. “Making all European countries collaborate in research and education networking is a great achievement, and the fact that this has been accomplished is very much due to the dedication and extraordinarily hard work put in by Karel Vietsch.”

As a partner of the pan-European network project GÉANT, TERENA has been involved in a number of activities, including Karel’s leadership of Status and Trends, which delivered the influential foresight study, EARNEST. Karel was also an observer in the Board of Directors of DANTE, which manages GÉANT. Matthew Scott, Joint General Manager of DANTE, says: “Karel has played a significant and influential role and has been a very active member of the NREN Policy Committee and the Executive Committee. He has led TERENA’s participation over many years and has been a highly valued member of the Project Management Team. Karel is an exceptional individual, recognised across the community for his professionalism and dedication to research and education networking. I am extremely proud to be able to congratulate Karel in his achieving this very well deserved and prestigious award.”

Karel also played a role in international collaboration in research and education networking, fulfilling TERENA’s status of permanent observer in the ENPG (European Networking Policy Group) which was created in 1995 to succeed COSINE. He also participated in CCIRN (Co-ordinating Committee for Inter-continental Research).

Don Stikvoort, who worked closely with Karel over many years on TRANSITS security training, Trusted Introducer and TF-CSIRT said, “Karel played a distinctive and inspiring role in helping to set up Internet security in Europe, in cooperation with the rest of the world. Typically, he never felt himself too good for any task, and in this way he set a good example.”

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Internet Invariants – things worth fighting for

Leslie Daigle, Chief Internet Technology Officer of the Internet Society (ISOC) talked about the Society’s eight “www.internetsociety.org/invariants” in the closing plenary session of TERENA’s Networking Conference 2012. The invariants are key features of the Internet that make it such a good platform for innovation and whose loss might harm the network’s ability to support unexpected developments in future. To stress how important this is, Leslie asked whether the originators of Twitter, Facebook or even the web would have been able to persuade bankers or venture capitalists to invest in their idea? The Internet as it was then, and mostly still is, meant they didn’t have to – they only needed to persuade users to adopt it.

At present discussion of the Internet’s uniqueness tends to focus on technical principles such as “end-to-end” or “smart edge/dumb middle”; this can result in policy makers and technologists debating which technology to choose to implement a policy (e.g. whether to block illegal websites using DNS or BGP), rather than whether the policy itself is a good idea. ISOC has consciously tried to move away from this into expressions of policy choices, whose consequences both policy makers and technologists should be able to appreciate and debate. The resulting invariants are summarised as Global reach and integrity; General purpose; Permissionless Innovation; Openness/Accessibility (to consume and contribute); Interoperability; Collaboration; Building Block Technologies; No Permanent Favourites.

As an example of how these can be used to discuss very high level policies Leslie gave the example of Governments’ frequent wish to apply physical geography (and jurisdiction) to the Internet. This can arise in both positive (enforcing our laws on our Internet) and negative (excluding others from enforcing their laws on our Internet) forms. A recent draft EU paper suggesting a “digital Schengen boundary”, which appears to have been sithdrawn when the consequences were realised, may have contained both! Considering the effect on the invariants suggests that this is simply the wrong way to think about the problem – applying national borders would constrain Permissionless innovation and Collaboration; remove Global Integrity; might, depending on the country, challenge Openness and create (local) Permanent Favourites. Although the resulting network might retain Interoperability, General Purpose and Building Block Technology at a technical level, in practice it would be a series of national islands, with communication between them possible but severely limited.

The invariants can also be used to discuss the importance of technical issues, such as the exhaustion of IPv4 addresses discussed by Geoff Huston earlier in the conference. The measures being adopted to maximise use of the few remaining addresses, rather than manage an orderly transition to IPv6, threaten Permissionless innovation, Interoperability, General Purpose and Global Reach, as well as declaring IPv4 to be a Permanent Favourite.

On a brighter note, the continuing history of publishing on the Internet shows what can be achieved so long as the invariants are protected. Gopher was replaced by the web, which enabled Google, amazon, Facebook and Twitter and now supports everything from revolution to knitting. All were developed at the edge of the network, not in the laboratories of network providers or large companies. Indeed now even those edge technologists may have lost control – the success or failure of a new Internet service now depends on the choice of millions of users. Which is a good thing: there never should be a master-plan for the Internet.

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