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Contact Information: Tanya Klein Public Relations 973-596-3433

NJIT Hosts World Leaders for Open Source Software Conference Tomorrow

The world’s leading theorists and practitioners of secure distributed file system—a type of open source software—will explain tomorrow morning the future of this important technology at NJIT. The event takes place on the final day of a prominent annual software conference known as the Fifth Annual International Andrew File System (AFS) and Kerberos Best Practices Workshop.

Speakers tomorrow will include Jeffrey Eric Altman, President/CEO, Secure Endpoints Inc., New York City, on the future of open source software; Dexter "Kim" Kimball, president, CCRE, a computer consulting firm, Loveland, CO, expounding on Unison; and Chris Kurtz, a technology support analyst coordinator, for the Mars Space Flight Facility at Arizona State University.

The event, which starts at 9 a.m. in NJIT’s Campus Center Ballroom, will accept late registrants.  Attendance costs $250. For more information, please visit http://workshop.openafs.org/afsbpw08/

The event attracts AFS and Kerberos users and administrators, novices and experts. Earlier in the week, Alistair Ferguson, the lead engineer at Morgan Stanley, delivered the keynote address.

“This is a premier event for anyone interested in open source software,”said event organizer Kevin Walsh, a senior systems administrator at NJIT. “AFS is not a small desktop software facility, but a major infrastructure component for the Internet. The beauty of this open source software is that it works on any computer in the world, is available to educators, corporations, governments and individuals who want to benefit from the cost savings and synergy derived from the creative efforts of many brilliant minds.”

More speakers tomorrow include Simon Wilkinson, a system architecture specialist with University of Edinburgh, Scotland, on using AFS in an environment disconnected from the Internet.  The session closes with a discussion focusing on a road map for the future from AFS elders including Altman, and others.

AFS is a distributed file system, using the Kerberos protocol for authentication. The system was developed to support distributed computing at Carnegie Mellon University. It was named “Andrew” in honor of both Andrew Carnegie and Andrew Mellon. Today, users see the system as superficially similar to Microsoft disk shares, with the advantages of scalability, security, resilience and global support. Age and maturity offer even greater benefits.

Kerberos is a network authentication protocol designed to provide strong authentication for client/server applications by using secret-key cryptography. A free implementation of this protocol is available from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Kerberos is available in many commercial products as well.  The design serves a client model, providing mutual authentication—both the user and the server verify each other's identity. Kerberos protocol messages are protected against eavesdropping and replay attacks.

NJIT volunteers have organized the five-day event which typically includes two days of training and three days of lectures and talks for users, developers, vendors and others.

One of the nation's leading public technological universities, New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) is a top-tier research university that prepares students to become leaders in the technology-dependent economy of the 21st century. NJIT's multidisciplinary curriculum and computing-intensive approach to education provide technological proficiency, business acumen and leadership skills. With an enrollment of more than 10,000 graduate and undergraduate students, NJIT offers small-campus intimacy with the resources of a major public research university. NJIT is a global leader in such fields as solar research, nanotechnology, resilient design, tissue engineering, and cyber-security, in addition to others. NJIT ranks 5th among U.S. polytechnic universities in research expenditures, topping $110 million, and is among the top 1 percent of public colleges and universities in return on educational investment, according to PayScale.com.