An Activity for Agricultural Research and Educational
Collaboration in Asia Pacific Region
by Asia Pacific Advanced Network (APAN)

Akira Mizushima

Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry
and Fisheries Research Network, Japan

1.Outline of MAFFIN
2. Asia Pacific Advanced Network (APAN) 
3. APAN Agriculture Working Group (AG-WG)
4. Introduction of AG-WG's Project
5. Discussion

Asia Pacific Advanced Network Consortium (APAN, was established on 3 June 1997 for research and development in advanced networking application and services in the Asia Pacific region.
APAN members voluntarily offer the high performance network. In order to establish an APAN international link between two countries, a link point on each side and an international connection such as a seabed lease line or a communication satellite must be provided. Primary members provide both link points and international connections while  regular members or associate members provide only link points. For example, the MAFFIN (Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Research Network, MAFF, Japan, voluntarily provides the Japan-Philippines link and the link point to it in Japan while PH-NET (Philippine Network Foundation Inc., voluntarily provides the link point in Philippines.

The APAN has two aims. One is the provision of high performance network links for research and education in whole the Asia Pacific region.  Another one  is to accelerate research and educational activities in the region, utilizing the APAN infrastructure. There are two activity areas under the APAN committee. These are the Technology Area and the User Community Area.  These two areas cooperate mutually for some project.

APAN and its activities especially in the agricultural areas are introduced.  The Agriculture Working Group (AG-WG, of APAN is one of the most active working group in the User Community Area.  The AG-WG  started at the APAN Tsukuba meeting held in March 1998.
The aim of AG-WG is to accelerate the agricultural information research, utilizing the APAN network. It promotes research or educational projects in agricultural fields and attempts to bridge institutes to start up new collaborations.
In addition to the projects being either undertaken or planned under AG-WG, its mission has being to establish a local AG-WG group in every APAN member.
It has been maintain close relationships with other working groups of APAN such as the Earth Monitoring WG, the Education WG, the Digital Library WG and the BioInformatics WG, having overlapping membership with these groups.

1. Outline of MAFFIN

First of all, the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Research Network in Japan (MAFFIN, Fig. 1) which the author belongs will be introduced.

Fig. 1  MAFFIN Topology

Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Research Network (MAFFIN, links all research institutes (29 headquarters and 52 branches) in the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries in Japan by ATM (1 - 12 Mbps) and links to Internet by ATM (45 Mbps). MAFFIN is in Tsukuba Office, the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Research Council.

There are the Research Computing System, the Network Library System and the Network Information System. The Research Computing System offers using applications, developing databases and high end programming environments. the Network Library System offers the union catalog in AFFR, the literature database and the full text databases.
MAFFIN updates these systems every 4 years.  Fig. 2 is the plan of new system (MAFFIN 2000 system)

Fig. 2