DANTE was founded in 1993 as a not-for-profit organisation to provide a high-speed internet network for the European research community. Since then DANTE has created and managed four consecutive generations of this network and today, the world-class GÉANT network is used by the European Commission as a blueprint for funding similar networks all over the world.
Neelie Kroes, Vice President of the European Commission, stated: "I give my full congratulations to DANTE for 20 years of networking excellence. DANTE's work is essential to the European and global research community. World-class internet networks, through GÉANT and the regional networks it manages, is fundamental to realising the EU's 2020 vision for the European Research Area, and key to helping us tackle societal challenges such as food and energy security, health and aging, and environmental protection. DANTE has my full support and well wishes to continue its innovative journey in support of research and education, across Europe and beyond."
DANTE has played a crucial role in enabling the profound change that high-speed networks have had on research and education in the last 20 years. By building and managing these high-capacity infrastructures, DANTE is creating a global village for millions of scientists, students and researchers to work together.
DANTE continues to plan, b​uild and manage these very large-scale global projects on behalf of the European Commission and Europes National Research and Education Networks (NRENs): the Mediterranean (EUMEDCONNECT), Sub-Saharan Africa (AfricaConnect), Central Asia (CAREN) and Europe-China collaboration (ORIENTplus). DANTE also supports R&E networking organisations in Latin America (RedCLARA), Caribbean (CKLN) and Asia-Pacific (TEIN*CC).
Co-founders Dai Davies and Howard Davies, author of "History of International Research Networking - The People who Made it Happen" which charts the history of R&E networking, stated: "We have come a long way in ​20 years. In 1993 we were building networks with 64 Kbps connections. Today we use 100Gbps a factor of one and a half million increase. But it is not just about technology, services play an increasing role enabling all researchers, not just the technically literate to benefit from R&E networks. It is difficult to believe now, but in 1993 e-mail was a new service. Today we offer many more advanced services allowing researchers to manage their own network needs."
Niels Hersoug and Matthew Scott, Joint DANTE General Managers, stated: "Twenty years ago we could never have dreamed that research and education networking would grow to the extent it has today. By enabling people to work together, regardless of location, and to effortlessly exchange huge volumes of data, DANTE's work is advancing innovation, economic development and productivity in ways that will benefit us all. Be it through advances in climate research, medical developments, food production or high-energy physics; they all rely on the high-speed networks of DANTE and its partners."
Although research networking in Europe first started in the late 1970s, it was limited to the developments of individual countries and their National Research Networks (NRENs).
It soon became clear that a consolidated approach was needed, with co-ordination at a European level. The NREN organisations grouped together to create DANTE, a centralised entity that could manage pan-European research networking on everybody's behalf. Cambridge was selected as the most suitable location.
Most research today is data driven and often a collaborative effort between people, institutions, countries and even disciplines.
From bioinformatics to deep space research, research is producing what has been termed a "data deluge". Every day, for instance, the Worldwide Large Hadron Collider Computing Grid (WLCG) processes more than 1.5 million 'jobs', the equivalent to a single computer running for more than 600 years.
By exchanging these high volumes of data - impossible over commercial networks, scientists are able to compare large datasets for faster, more accurate analysis. The ability to transmit this data at high-speeds has far-reaching benefits for tens of millions of people in schools, universities, research institutes and big science projects alike. Many worldwide projects and partners rely on DANTE to serve these communities.
Examples of the types of global projects benefitting from DANTE's work include: