Division of Finance & Enterprise Services
EPSCoR-ETS Partnership Brings $3 Million Fiber Optic Upgrade to UVM
|Professor Judith Van Houten||UVM President Daniel Mark Fogel|
|TelJet President Greg Kelly and UVM CIO David Todd take questions from the press|
|U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy||Frank Cioffi, Chair of the VT Technology Council and UVM Trustee|
UVM’s Internet connection to the world is about to get much bigger. As the result of grants to support collaborative research, the present UVM connections to Boston and Albany will be replaced over the next two years with high-speed fiber optic links that operate at 60 gigabits per second, some 35 times faster than the current rate. The first link in a new network, a connection from UVM to Albany, NY, will be completed by the end of November. President Fogel and Senator Leahy were on hand to help announce the project at a press conference on October 31.
The new connection is just one leg in a new fiber optic network being built by the North East Cyberinfrastucture Consortium (NECC), a coalition of EPSCoR-funded universities and research institutions across Vermont, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Delaware. Vermont EPSCoR is the lead institution in the new coalition.
Funding to build and operate the network was provided by a cross-campus collaboration including Vermont EPSCoR, the Vermont Genetics Network, and Enterprise Technology Services (ETS), among others.
According to Chief Information Officer David Todd, the need for a network upgrade was clear, but the University had not yet identified funding to cover the multi-million dollar capital cost.
Meanwhile, Vermont State EPSCoR and IDeA Director and University Distinguished Professor Judith Van Houten also saw a need for more capacity so that UVM researchers could easily share the multi-terabyte files that have become the norm in biology, engineering, complex systems, medicine, and many other research fields.
Van Houten also knew that grant money for fiber was available, and sought ETS’ help in understanding the current fiber infrastructure in New England, identifying long-term capacity needs and technical requirements, and exploring possible solutions.
Van Houten took the lead in forming the NECC and applying for capital funding for the new fiber network from the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health. These two agencies provided $17 million in multi-year competitive awards for the network, including $3 million to the University of Vermont.
ETS will provide technical support for the connections, as well as funding for ongoing operational expenses, which is not covered by the grant monies. TelJet Longhaul, a Burlington-based company, won the competitive bidding process to build out the new fiber.
Senator Patrick Leahy provided key leadership for the new network by writing to the NSF and NIH in support of the North East Cyberinfrastructure Consortium.
The next step in completing the multi-state fiber network is the Burlington-to-Hanover, NH leg, scheduled to go online in February 2011. These fiber reaches will provide 60 gigabits per second to Albany and Hanover, completing a redundant fiber optic ring across the Northeast. New Hampshire will connect from Hanover to Maine and Boston. The redundancy of the ring design will minimize disruption, allowing data transmission even if some portion of the network is off-line.The NECC project will also be a portal into Internet2, an advanced high-speed networking consortium of more than 200 U.S. universities in cooperation with a group of leading corporations, government agencies, laboratories and international partner organizations.
The new fiber connection is vital to the University’s research mission as advances in science increasingly rely on the ability to share and analyze gigantic collections of data among many researchers and far-flung institutions.
“This very large bandwidth for interstate traffic is necessary if Vermont researchers and educators are to reach global resources and collaborators,” said Van Houten.
The first major project to take advantage of the new network will be a large genomic study of algal blooms in Lake Champlain and other lakes. Van Houten will lead the investigation with Kelvin Chu, UVM associate professor of physics and Vermont EPSCoR and Vermont Genetics Network Associate Director. The collaborative, multi-institutional, science research project will use “next generation” genome sequencing of all the microorganisms in algal blooms in Champlain and four other lakes in the Northeast in an effort to help scientists to understand why some blooms form and why some turn toxic. The collaborative nature of this project is an example of the need for high-speed network connections among science research institutions in the region.
Last modified November 08 2010 12:27 PM