Australia Connects to US Pacific Research Platform

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Today the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology (Calit2) and Australia’s Academic and Research Network (AARNet) announced a partnership to connect Australian researchers to the US Pacific Research Platform (PRP), a next generation data sharing network linking research universities and supercomputing centers at unprecedented speeds.

What we are aiming to do now is to connect those networks into a common Australian/American platform – the Pacific Research Platform, which will support enhanced collaboration by our top researchers in disciplines of critical importance to the future of both our countries,” said Chris Hancock, AARNet CEO. Hancock added that Australia and the US have both made major investments in networks based on the Science DMZ architecture over the past few years to support the exponential growth in data-intensive research.

US-West-Coast-Pacific-Research-Platform-partners.-Diagram-courtesy-Calit2-newsAustralian research projects in data-centric fields such as particle physics, astronomy, biomedicine, earth science and visualization are set to benefit from the new data-sharing platform connecting them to their American counterparts. Australian/American research collaborations will also be able to share, use and reuse significant collections of data now stored on infrastructure created under the National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy (NCRIS) RDSI project, using innovative digital tools and techniques.

The partnership is available to any Australian university undertaking Big Data research with PRP institutions. Universities already involved include:

  • Institute for Marine and Antarctica Studies at the University of Tasmania (UTAS), together with the UTAS-led Integrated Marine Observing System (IMOS) and Southern Ocean Observing System (SOOS) data groups: Exchanging large oceanographic and geoscience datasets with the University of California, San Diego’s Scripps Institution of Oceanography.
  • Monash University: Linking the CAVE2 virtual reality facility to similar facilities in Hawaii and Chicago.
  • University of Queensland: Advanced middleware to connect compute/storage clouds with US to support biomedical, geosciences, and imaging data analysis.

To accelerate the rate of scientific discovery, researchers must get the data they need, where they need it, and when they need it. It is critical that we collaborate globally to develop a common network architecture to support data intensive research into the future, ” said University of California, San Diego computer science and engineering professor Larry Smarr, principal investigator of the PRP and Calit2 director, who is an American delegate to the Leadership Dialogue.

Building on a series of investments to create on-campus Big Data freeway systems, the US National Science Foundation (NSF) last week announced funding for the PRP project.

Calit2 and the Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society (CITRIS), led by University of California, Berkeley, will organize PRP, utilizing California’s Corporation for Education Network Initiatives in California (CENIC)/Pacific Wave’s 100G backbone. PRP links most of the research universities on the United States West Coast and will be extensible both across other data-rich research domains as well as to other national and international networks, potentially leading to a national and eventually global data-intensive research cyberinfrastructure.

In parallel with the United States over the last few years, Australia has funded a similar set of data-centric sites [Research Data Storage Nodes], which are interconnected by the RDSI-funded national Data Sharing Network (DaShNet) implemented and operated by AARNet.

Hancock says participating in the PRP project as an international partner was a logical next step. By extending DaShNet, AARNet can interconnect an increasing number of huge research datasets, as well as NCRIS supported computational resources such as the NCI, Pawsey Centre and the NeCTAR Research Cloud to the PRP networked data infrastructure.

AARNet will provide connectivity to the PRP in partnership with Southern Cross Cable Network (SCCN) via the submarine optical fibre links known as SXTransPORT to the west coast of the US and on to San Diego and Calit2 via Pacific Wave and CENIC. With the very generous support of SCCN, AARNet is upgrading SXTransPORT to 100 Gigabits per second by the end of 2016.

This is another plank in Australia’s platform for sustained high community performance through 2050 and well beyond,” said Leadership Dialogue Founder Phil Scanlan.

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