SURF and IBM contribute to Dutch knowledge economy
With innovative ICT offering
The internet was the work of dozens of pioneering scientists, programmers and engineers who each developed new features and technologies. Eventually, these features and technologies merged to become the information superhighway we know today.
In early 1983, when the Advanced Research Projects Agency Network (ARPANET) adopted TCP/IP, the “network of networks.” This became the standard, and thus the modern internet was assembled.
At that time, universities and research organizations in the Netherlands had the foresight to form a not-for-profit foundation called SURF (Samenwerkende Universitaire Reken Faciliteiten, which translates to “Co-operative University Computing Facilities” in English). SURF is a collaborative information and communications technology (ICT) organization that offers students, lecturers and scientists consistent and dependable access to the best possible internet and ICT technology.
Having a consistent way of doing things in a one-stop manner was planned to help The Netherlands stay competitive in the knowledge economy.
Strength in numbers
Today, the foundation has more than 100 members comprising universities, university medical centres, universities for applied science and vocational education institutions. Its services has grown and evolved along with the importance of the internet itself.
Originally, SURF started by making policies on how to think about and engage the challenges IT brings. Its founders decided to establish and host SURFnet, an internationally renowned private digital infrastructure for members.
Then SURF approached software vendors to adopt SURF’s licensing models that fit the way the members work in education. The first vendor the foundation partnered with was SPSS, now part of IBM, to offer advanced statistics and machine learning capabilities.
With this first partnership, SURF launched SURFmarket, its information and communications technology (ICT) procurement organization. SURFmarket purchases ICT and content on the best possible terms. It then makes that content easily accessible to Dutch educational and research organizations.
Better education and research
It is in the best interest of the Dutch economy to ensure easy access to education and research, as well as knowledge exchange. SURF enables students and researches to learn, work and collaborate in a simple and safe way.
IBM understood that continuing with the SURF’s licensing models was paramount for the Dutch educational institutions. Now that SPSS is part of IBM, SURF has taken the opportunity to look into other IBM products that would contribute to a strong and sustainable knowledge economy.
For example, SURF is discussing new domains such as data science as potential capabilities for schools and research institutions.
SURF is driving innovation and together with IBM make The Netherlands smarter by giving access to 840,00 students and researchers to enjoy state-of-the-art ICT on a very fast network.