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Retired Cisco executive to speak at university's Cyberinfrastructure Day

Apr. 04, 2011 @ 11:05 PM

HUNTINGTON -- Though it's hard to imagine how much more the Internet can do, there is still an endless realm of possibilities, said F. Selby Wellman, the keynote speaker on Thursday, April 7, for Marshall University's Cyberinfrastructure Day.

Wellman, a 1963 graduate of Marshall University, is the retired senior vice president of Cisco Systems Inc., the company considered as a worldwide leader in networking for the Internet.

"The thing I want to be able to bring is more awareness of what potential the Internet has for all of us in terms of our lives and world, and in terms of making it safer and more productive," Wellman said in a phone interview from his home in Florida.

Wellman said the Internet's potential is especially relevant to higher education and research.

"The more they share with universities around the world, the quicker we are able to find solutions to our problems," he said.

The free one-day conference will showcase state-of-the-art computing technologies available to researchers at Marshall and across the region. It will begin at 9:30 a.m. in Room BE5 in the Memorial Student Center, with Wellman scheduled to speak at 10 a.m.

A special community reception from 5-6:30 p.m. at the Weisberg Family Engineering Laboratories will close out the program.

The overall goal of CI Day is to help researchers-- at Marshall and elsewhere -- understand the potential of technology and supercomputing to enhance research, teaching and research funding.

Although the event is free, advance registration is requested.

Wellman said he is impressed with the recent completion of the high-speed broadband health care network that connects Marshall with St. Mary's Medical Center and Cabell Huntington Hospital.

"Hooking hospitals together, what that means for Huntington, people can connect their records," he said. "We can't do that worldwide. It will transform medicine."

He said people now in their 30s who attended college in the mid-1990s were introduced to the Internet that was delivered by dial-up at a snail's speed.

Fifteen years later, he said, look at the difference.

"Look how far it's come, look at the impact it's had on businesses and educators," Wellman said. "That's the heart of my presentation, to get people thinking about that and the future of the Internet."

He also has a specific message for Marshall students. Think about careers that are connected to the growth of online technology.

"If it were me ... I'd figure out how to get additional training to put me in the middle of this and start a nice career."

Areas that he said will see immense growth is in wireless connectivity, global positioning satellites and sensors.

Those will be big on their own but even bigger together, he said.

Wellman said sensor technology connected wirelessly through GPS will allow ports to be safer.

"There are millions and millions of boxes and crates," Wellman said. "Can't do it with people running around with a bunch of sensors. All the technologies are there. We just have to implement them."

Wellman's career path started at IBM, where he spent 15 years in various marketing and management positions. He also spent five years as corporate vice president of sales, marketing and operations at FiberCom, and was corporate vice president of sales and marketing at Paradyne, a Florida-based networking company.

Selby is on the boards of directors of Workscape, a Boston-based Human Resource software company, and Vandalia Research, a bio-tech startup company. He is also an adviser to Synectic Ventures, a West Coast venture capital company.

He remains involved in education through his private family foundation, which has funded scholarships for a number of West Virginia students to attend Marshall. The foundation also has funded the SAS Institute Curriculum Pathways software for all West Virginia schools, grades eighth through 12th.

To register or view a full agenda, visit www.marshall.edu/wpmu/ciday.