NSF Grant to Expand Indiana University GlobalNOC in Asia-Pacific

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logoToday the Indiana University Global Research Network Operations Center (GlobalNOC) announced the award of a major new five-year, $4.8 million grant from the NSF. The new funding will enable continued planning, operation, engineering support and management of TransPAC, the high-speed network that connects researchers in the US with their counterparts in Asia.

Known as TransPAC4, it is the fourth-consecutive grant of its kind to be awarded to IU. Jennifer Schopf, Ph.D., IU director of international networks, led the development of the international proposal and will serve as the project’s principal investigator. In addition to supporting scientists in big data domains such as high-energy physics, astronomy and bioinformatics, TransPAC4 will also be accessible for growing network needs in applications for geoscience, climate science, and disease- and health-monitoring work.

TransPAC4 extends IU’s leadership role with key partners in Asia-Pacific networks to 22 years, and ensures that we have another five years to power new discovery and innovative networking,” said Schopf. “Whether it’s scientists working to find a cure for the deadly tropical disease Dengue fever or astronomers seeking answers about the universe, Indiana University engineers are there, managing the networks these researchers need to share their work, make discoveries – even save lives.”

TransPAC4 will facilitate direct US-Asia research interactions, working closely with two main collaborators: the Asia Pacific Advanced Network (APAN) of which McRobbie was a co-founder in 1996 and which represents research and education interests across much of Asia, and the Trans-Eurasia Information Network (TEIN), which provides dedicated high-capacity internet connectivity for research and education communities across the Asia-Pacific region.

The TransPAC4 network will connect almost all of Asia, excluding only North Korea, Brunei and Mongolia. With this latest round of funding, the TransPAC4 engineers will build a platform that will enable growth and expanded capacity between Asia and the US. The project’s high-level plan includes working with partner organizations to support a suite of production-quality 10G and 100G trans-oceanic circuits.

This new project will enable state-of-the-art international network services and access to increased collaboration and data services for the research and education community in the US and Asia-Pacific region,” said Shinji Shimojo, director of Japan’s National Institute of Information and Communications Technology (NICT), which will provide direct research and education support to TransPAC4. “We believe the new network, enhanced with advanced technology such as software-defined networking, can bring science up to the next level, creating a new frontier of big data-intensive science for both countries.”

For every NSF-supported circuit, the TransPAC team will leverage several complementary links, or sister circuits, funded by its partners to share traffic, add redundancy and enable additional experimental work. By the end of the five-year project, there will be multiple 100G-capacity circuits available to the US and Asian research and education communities.

The TransPAC project provides benefits closer to home as well. “TransPAC4 again highlights the economic impact of developing some of the nation’s and the world’s most advanced network management and engineering capabilities here in Indiana,” said Brad Wheeler, IU vice president for information technology and CIO. “IU’s GlobalNOC enables us to compete and win federal grants at the highest levels of applied network engineering while supporting over 100 highly skilled jobs in our state.”