by H. D. Flack, Laboratoire de Cristallographie, University of Geneva, Switzerland.
The Internet is on its way to becoming an everyday consumer product and crystallographers will have to come to live with it and make professional use of it. Although it would appear to have an exponential growth, it is more correct to say that it evolves in steps in response to technological advances. The IETF (Internet Engineering Task Force) is the body which works to redesign and improve its standards. It recently undertook a survey to determine the size of the address space that users thought would be necessary in the early years of the 21st century. The IETF was very surprised to find that the major requirements came from the electrical appliance industry who are requesting a space sufficient to address every dish washer and light bulb in the world.
Prior to the School on Macromolecular Computing at the University of Western Washington, two events on the Internet had been organized during the IUCr Congress in Seattle. These events consisted of a microsymposium of invited speakers, and a hands-on Workshop. The organizer and tutors at the Seattle Workshop have produced a W3 hypertext document entitled A Crystallographer's Guide to Internet Tools and Resources. The Guide is also available from all of the mirror sites of Crystallography World Wide - the W3 Virtual Library: Crystallography, and will soon be available in printed form. It is intended to maintain the W3 version of the Guide to stay in step with changes in technology. The Guide was used as the working material of the tutorials given at the School.
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