The University Record, December 13, 1999

World’s smallest Web server a partnership project

By Wanda Monroe
Office of the Chief Information Officer

The Center for Information Technology Integration (CITI)—in partnership with Schlumberger, the world’s leading provider of smart card-based technology— has announced the development of the first Web server to run on a smart card.

A smart card looks and feels like a regular credit card, but with a difference—a smart card contains a tiny computer that is able to store very securely all types of information, such as account numbers, emergency health information, cryptographic keys and even money.

Jim Rees, chief technologist at CITI, implemented the Web server on Schlumberger’s commercially available smart card called the Cyberflex Access, the first Java-based smart card. The Web server was written in the Java programming language and implements a subset of the TCP/IP communication protocol, which is pervasive in today’s Internet.

According to Peter Honeyman, CITI director and principal investigator for the CITI/Schlumberger research partnership, one of the advantages of running a Web server on a smart card is security. “Although smart cards have been in use for 15 years or so, they have been used primarily for telecommunications and financial applications,” he said. “We’re focusing instead on computer security. We’re trying to extend the smart card’s reach, and one of its strong points is the fact that it’s tamper resistant. Furthermore, you can be sure nobody is hacking into your Web server when it is in your wallet or purse.”

According to Rees, “being able to run Java right on the card made this project much easier. Java offers a standard development environment that is infinitely easier to use than that of the traditional smart card.”

“What we’ve done was considered nearly impossible,” Honeyman says. “Yet, it turned out to be easier than anyone anticipated and the Java card allowed us to create something smaller than anyone thought plausible.”

Thomas Lebsack, director, Partner Programs, says that “Cyberflex, with its robust Java card platform and the most extensive open, standard development tools, is enabling many new innovative uses for smart cards. CITI’s development is one of the most original we have seen, and proves the power of the Java card and the potential that it holds as a platform for advanced Internet applications.”

Schlumberger is the leading provider of smart card-based solutions worldwide. Drawing on 20 years’ experience in pioneering smart card innovations, the company is continuing to evolve the new generation of smart cards, parking terminals, ticketing machines, pay phones, banking terminals, servers, software applications and systems integration that will play a key role in the 21st century’s digital age. Additional information is available at www.slb.com/smartcards.

Schlumberger Test & Transactions provides smart card-based solutions; semiconductor test, metrology and handling systems and services; and corporate IP and network solutions to customers throughout the world. It is a business unit of Schlumberger Limited, an $11.8 billion global technology services company.

The Center for Information Technology Integration is an applied research and development center, established by the Regents in 1986. Its purpose is to engage in advanced development and research projects, in partnership with external sponsors, that will enhance the U-M’s information technology environment; and then transfer the results to industry, government and educational organizations. For more information about CITI and its projects, access the Web at www.citi.umich.edu/.