Two grants from the National Science Foundation will allow Indiana University to expand its business of maintaining outside computer networks.
The University will receive two $4.6 million awards – one to bolster an existing connection allowing high-speed data transfer between the United States and the Asia-Pacific region and a second to create a similar network linking the U.S. and Europe. IU Vice President for Information Technology Brad Wheeler said the networks will allow researchers around the world to transmit large amounts of data in near-real time.
“We may need to do very high-performance things – connecting two supercomputers together or using a new protocol that’s not part of the common internet today,” Wheeler said. “And so, end-to-end control of the networks enable us to bend them to the way researchers wish to use them.”
IU already operates networks for the states of Oklahoma and North Carolina, as well as for a number of other entities – making the business profitable for the school. Wheeler said he envisions the new networks also generating revenue.
“These networks enable scientists, whether they be in Australia, Japan, United States or Germany, to collaborate on those solutions. Oftentimes, the results of that science are the foundations for the companies of tomorrow,” he said.
Wheeler says the soon-to-be-created European network could assist ongoing work by IU researchers using Switzerland’s Large Hadron Collider, as well as allowing for expansion of school interactions like interviews, auditions and guest lectures.