IU Receives NSF Grant to Support Research Programs

November 14, 2013

Nov. 14 — International Networking at Indiana University has received a $600,000 grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to provide engineering and application support and service development to be used over a 100 Gigabits per second (Gbps) trans-Atlantic network testbed. This grant is a supplement to IU’s America Connects to Europe (ACE) award, which supports several 10 Gbps links between the two continents. This grant will enable IU’s International Networking team to better support Big Data Science applications that need higher bandwidth connections to ensure more effective collaborations. Furthermore, this grant will not only provide hands-on support for researchers wanting to use larger capacity networks, but will also allow for more development of tools to better understand and predict the performance of those links.

Some of the biggest science users, like the Large Hadron Collider community or biogenomics researchers, can generate data flows too large for 10 Gbps links to handle efficiently. In addition, many of the tools used on smaller links do not scale to a 100 Gbps environment, so network engineers need to experiment with adapting those tools to larger, longer links.

“I look at this supplement as one of our first steps to adapting how IU interacts with large-scale networking and international networking, in particular,” said Jennifer Schopf, IU’s director of international networking. “Our work will be able to influence future use and funding of these very large links. By enabling easier use of higher bandwidth network connections we can advance how scientists perform their research and facilitate more interaction for collaborations.”

The current plan is that this award will use the Advanced North Atlantic 100G (ANA-100G) transoceanic link, which is funded by a consortium consisting of Internet2, DANTE, ESnet, CANARIE, SURFnet and NORDUnet. The ANA-100G sponsors have made the ANA-100G trans-oceanic link available for experimental activities, including those that will be supported by Indiana University. Links such as the ANA-100G network are of interest because the current US and European backbones both run at 100G, and the current 10G trans-oceanic links had the potential to become bottle necks to sharing data for today’s Big Data Science applications.

“Internet2 and its partners in the United States and Europe who have staged the ANA-100G pilot are very excited to see Indiana University’s success in receiving this award,” said Erik-Jan Bos, secretariat of the ANA-100G consortium. “The increased capacity will support the rapid globalization of science, scholarship and education. Indiana’s award should provide a bridge to early adopters looking to explore these capabilities.”

Before experiments begin, IU will bring together researchers and network engineering staff at a workshop focused on what transoceanic capabilities like the ANA-100G’s project will enable. At the end of the award, IU will host another workshop for the experiments that used the link, discussing what worked, what didn’t, and what should be done differently. Based on this feedback, IU will make suggestions about future adaptations necessary for dealing with large data flows.

About International Networking at IU

International networking at IU is dedicated to connecting global researchers and scientists through state-of-the-art, multi-gigabit networking services. To that end, IU operates and manages two networking projects, TransPAC3 and America Connects to Europe (ACE). TransPAC3 connects US researchers with colleagues across Asia, while ACE connects scientists and students to their counterparts in the European Union. Along with support from the NSF, IU international networking funds TransPAC3 in cooperation with its Internet2 and China Next Generation Internet partners. DANTE is the European partner for ACE (also funded in part by the NSF), making balanced contributions to bandwidth and operations. IU experts also lead networking workshops around the world.

About the Advanced North Atlantic 100G pilot project

The Advanced North Atlantic 100G (ANA-100G) pilot project is a public-private partnership between six research and education networks and industry partners that enables trans-Atlantic transmission at 100 Gbps, which is another step forward in enabling transformational research and education by removing a major intercontinental network traffic bottleneck. The R & E networks participating in ANA-100G are Internet2 (USA), NORDUnet (European Nordics), ESnet (USA), SURFnet (The Netherlands), CANARIE (Canada) and GÉANT (Europe). Where a traditional R & E interconnect between continents limits traffic flows to 10 Gbit/s, ANA-100G allows for experimenting at 100 Gbit/s, for the first time ever. ANA-100G was showcased for the first time during the TERENA Networking Conference in Maastricht, The Netherlands, in June 2013.

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Source: Indiana University

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