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New technology platform to help advance US research; reduce higher ed costs

April 25, 2012

ASU joins universities in ultra high-speed network technology pilot program to bolster US competitiveness, reduce higher ed costs 

Higher education executives announced today that they will use the nation’s fastest, coast-to-coast network to implement new technologies that support scientific “Big Data” and cloud applications to drive innovation in global collaborative research. The intent is to strengthen the nation’s position as a global leader in research and education for decades to come, and at the same time help control higher education costs.

The technologies bundled in the Internet2 Network create the first open, national-scale testbed of revolutionary Software Defined Networking (SDN) and OpenFlow standards, combined with the abundant bandwidth of the world’s first transcontinental network deployment of 100G technology. These unique, disruptive technologies are key components of the Internet2 Innovation Platform.

“Connecting to Internet2’s Innovation Platform will greatly advance research and job growth across Ohio's higher education, medical research, manufacturing, and technology networking corridors,” said Pankaj Shah, executive director of OARnet, which is one of 10 organizations announcing their intent to pilot the Internet2 Innovation Platform technologies. “Across the nation sectors such as health care, agriculture, and engineering – in conjunction with research and economic development efforts – produce enormous volumes of data. By connecting to Internet2’s 100 Gigabit per second platform, Ohio's and the other organizations' ability to analyze this data and collaborate globally increases exponentially.”

Along with OARnet, Arizona State University joins Case Western Reserve University, Clemson University, Georgia Tech, Indiana University, The Ohio State University, the University of Cincinnati – and regional networks including I-Light (Indiana) and Southern-Crossroads (SOX) – in the pilot program of the Internet2 Innovation Platform technologies.

Policy and industry leaders also are beginning to recognize the power of these technologies. Last week, Google publicly embraced SDN and OpenFlow at the Open Networking Summit in Santa Clara, Calif. Urs Hölzle, senior vice president, technical infrastructure for Google, called the idea behind these advances, “the most significant change in networking in the entire lifetime of Google.”

Further, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy recently announced the “Big Data Research and Development Initiative” to accelerate the pace of discovery in research and transform teaching and learning. The National Science Foundation (NSF) is a co-sponsoring department of the solicitation, and the NSF-funded GENI program has been a long-time advocate for SDN to support experimental networks.

Chip Elliot, project director for the GENI Project Office (GPO), said, "The combination of research and education, business, and policy leaders recognizing and implementing the power of these new technologies is the spark needed for the next generation of innovative applications to flourish.”

Researchers studying clean energy, climate change, cancer cures, astronomy, high-energy physics, and other important global sciences have urgent needs to reliably and securely exchange “Big Data” produced by their experiments at the press of a button, instead of shipping physical data storage media across the country and the world. 

Equally important are more efficient, better-yielding technology solutions for university business functions in efforts to reduce higher education costs. The Internet2 Innovation Platform technologies provide solutions for secure and reliable data transmissions into a cloud environment, and support for the exploding use of bandwidth-consuming multimedia in modern education delivery, among other applications university leaders can use to transform higher education models.

Media contacts:

Terri Shafer

Todd Sedmak