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November 7, 2011

JHU Sets Network Bar for Data-Intensive Science

Datanami Staff

The National Science Foundation has financed a $1.2 million project that will boost The Johns Hopkins University’s prominence as a center for data-intensive research.

Aimed at providing a high-speed pipeline for massive amounts of scientific data, the NSF-backed project represents the nation’s first public 100 Gbps network. This will allow the university to receive manage the movement of large datasets in record time from a number of other research and education hubs. The network at Johns Hopkins will be supported by a research and engineering network group at the University of Maryland in College Park.

The project will be rooted at the university’s Homewood campus, which is also the site of a massive data-intensive computing cluster dedicated to big data problems in science and engineering called the Data-Scope. This cluster will be capable of tackling give petabytes of information and will allow Johns Hopkins researchers to collaborate with other institutions, including a number of universities and Los Alamos and Oak Ridge National Labs.

Johns Hopkins University said today that this installation will be housed in an energy-efficient center on the Homewood campus “in a space that once served as the mission control center for NASA’s Far Ultraviolet Spectroscopic Explorer satellite.” They said that the NSF is behind a further $1.3 million stimulus investment to revamp the location, transforming it into the university’s data intensive science center that will also contain the Data-Scope cluster.

Back in October Maryland Senator Barbara A. Mikulski announced that Johns Hopkins and the University of Maryland would be granted the funds to build the scientific network. She pointed to the research leadership capabilities the network would create and also stated that this could help spur job growth in the state.

While this is significant news for the universities involved, this could also lay the foundation for providing some solid use cases around the need for enhanced network capabilities to support research and commerce alike. Some argue for an overhaul of the nation’s network infrastructure, pointing to the data deluge that continues—and the associated need for businesses and scientists to efficiently move and share data.

More information about the Johns Hopkins University and its recent scramble to become a leading academic center for data-intensive science can be found here.