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Case Western Reserve University

information technology services: November 20, 2013

Case Western Reserve University becomes first university to upgrade to Ohio's 100-gigabit network

Researchers at Case Western Reserve University will benefit from infrastructure improvements that increase the capacity of the university’s network connection to the Ohio Academic Resources Network (OARnet), which provides access to Internet2 and other Ohio research universities. The improvements, funded by a National Science Foundation grant, begin this month.

The increase in bandwidth from 10 gigabits per second (Gbps) to 100 Gbps will allow scientists and researchers to move large volumes of data between Case Western Reserve and other academic institutions at a significantly faster rate. This new 100 Gbps connection is the first component in Case Western Reserve’s expanded research network to integrate the high performance computing system and science-centric data transfer nodes.

Additionally, the award permits Case Western Reserve’s Division of Information Technology Services (ITS) to increase the bandwidth of four research buildings from 1 Gbps to 10 Gbps.

“Giving researchers access to 10 Gbps network path will mean reducing transfer times from three hours to 20 minutes when working with a 1 Terabyte dataset,” says Dan Matthews, the university’s manager of network engineering and security.

These enhancements will allow Case Western Reserve researchers and students to move large volumes of data within the campus network and externally to regional and national supercomputing facilities. The enhanced network will support faculty involved in important areas of computationally and data-intensive research, including imaging, structural biology, astrophysics and particle physics, and will reduce barriers to collaborative data sharing among research groups on campus.

“We have begun to see that our statewide, 100 Gbps network is already being leveraged for advanced research and job growth across Ohio’s medical research, higher education, manufacturing, engineering and technology networking corridors, in part because of research being done at institutions such as Case Western Reserve University,” says Pankaj Shah, executive director of the Ohio Supercomputer Center and OARnet, which are both members of the Ohio Board of Regents Ohio Technology Consortium.  “We are thrilled that Case Western will be the first university to connect to OARnet at 100 Gbps and fully utilize its potential,” he states.

Some supported research initiatives include:

  • The development of real-time MRI techniques in which images for surgical procedures can be delivered immediately to a surgeon from a remote data center.
  • Advances in structural biology and hybrid methods that facilitate molecular characterization of challenging biological systems, including membrane proteins, receptors and engineered viral vectors.
  • The development of new radiation detection and detector media purification techniques that could impact future medical imaging, nuclear non-proliferation and industrial processes.

The principal investigator on the Campus Cyberinfrastructure-Network Infrastructure and Engineering Program grant is Dr. Roger Bielefeld, senior director in ITS. Co-investigators are Dennis Risen, of ITS, and Dr. Lev Gonick, the university’s former vice president of ITS and chief information officer.

Four faculty members helped secure the grant by documenting the significance of the proposed project to their research: Dr. Dan Akerib, professor, Department of Physics; Dr. Mark Griswold, professor, Department of Radiology and Case Center for Imaging Research; Dr. Thomas Shutt, associate professor, Department of Physics; and Dr. Phoebe Stewart, director, Cleveland Center for Membrane and Structural Biology and professor, Department of Pharmacology.


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