PITTSBURGH, PA., September 9, 2010 — The Three Rivers Optical Exchange (3ROX), the advanced network research group at the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center, has received a $1,535,000 Academic Research Infrastructure (ARI) award from the National Science Foundation (NSF). Effective September 1 and extending for four years, the award supports a major upgrade of the southwest Pennsylvania region’s research and education network environment, which 3ROX maintains and manages.
3ROX network infrastructure connects many universities and schools in Pennsylvania and West Virginia — including Carnegie Mellon, Penn State, the University of Pittsburgh, Waynesburg University, West Virginia University and Pittsburgh Public Schools — to national high-performance network resources, such as Internet2, and National LambdaRail, networks that link many universities, corporations and research agencies. The award will enable 3ROX to renovate and upgrade this infrastructure, says PSC director of networking Wendy Huntoon, including upgrading 3ROX’s fiber-based optical capability to increase high-end transmission rates tenfold, from 10 gigabits per second (Gbps) to 100 Gbps.
The upgrade will also include a pool of circuits (called transponders) that can be made available at no cost on an as-needed basis for data-intensive research. The pool of transponders, will enable researchers to experiment with bandwidth without having to include cost of the equipment in their grants, allowing them to be less encumbered by bandwidth limitations that affect data-intensive research. Examples of such Pittsburgh-based projects include detector development for the Large Hadron Collider and seismology and earthquake engineering — along with numerous projects nationwide that use PSC resources through the NSF cyberinfrastructure known as the TeraGrid.
"We're happy about these new and faster technologies," said Huntoon, "as well as the institution of a 'pool' of transponders for the 3ROX research community. We expect this to make bandwidth more accessible."
The ARI award project is entitled "Regional Network Renovation: Upgrading the 3ROX Virtual Research Environment," and is under the direction of Huntoon and PSC network engineers Janet Brown and Kenneth Goodwin.