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 CWRU’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 one Terabyte dataset,” said Dan Matthews, the university’s manager of network engineering and security.

These enhancements will allow CWRU researchers and students to quickly 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 are thrilled that Case Western Reserve will be the first university to connect to OARnet at 100 Gbps and fully use its potential,” said Pankaj Shah, executive director of the Ohio supercomputer Center and OARnet—both members of the Ohio Board of Regents Ohio Technology Consortium. “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.”

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 Roger Bielefeld, senior director in ITS. Co-investigators are Dennis Risen, of ITS, and 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: Dan Akerib, professor in the Department of Physics; Mark Griswold, professor in Department of Radiology and Case Center for Imaging Research; Thomas Shutt, associate professor in the Department of Physics; and Phoebe Stewart, director of the Cleveland Center for Membrane and Structural Biology and professor in the Department of Pharmacology.