NSF Funds New High-Speed Network Connections
Program now reaches institutions in every state
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The National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded 16 grants, worth a total of $6.3 million, to allow 19 universities to connect to the advanced high-performance computer networks that will constitute the Internet of the future.
The new two-year grants bring to 150 the number of high performance connection grants awarded by NSF's Advanced Networking Infrastructure (ANI) program. The number of connections exceeds by 50 NSF's original goal for this part of President Clinton's Next Generation Internet (NGI) initiative.
"I am delighted to announce that every state in the nation is participating in the Next Generation Internet," said Vice President Al Gore. "This will allow researchers all over America to make breakthroughs in science and engineering--such as more accurately predicting tornadoes and developing life-saving drugs more rapidly."
Thirty-three of the 150 awards were made to institutions in 18 states in NSF's Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR). EPSCoR focuses on states that historically have received less federal research and development funding.
William F. Decker, ANI program director, noted that the new grants also mark an important cooperative milestone between government agencies that will advance NGI. For example, in collaboration with the Department of Defense, NSF will allow the University of Hawaii to afford a link to the U.S. mainland at a fraction of commercial rates, noted David Lassner, the university's director of information technology services.
Recipients will use the grants to benefit research in a variety of fields. At the University of Hawaii, Lassner said, the link will be used extensively, including taking the first steps to allow astronomers around the world to use telescopes atop Mauna Kea remotely in "real time."
The University of Alaska, Fairbanks will use its link to serve as a conduit for distributing networked information from the continental U.S. to the state's sparsely populated interior, noted Frank Williams, director of the university's Arctic Region Supercomputing Center. The connection also will allow researchers to collaborate with institutions nationwide to refine predictions of the weather in the ionosphere which affects the reliability of satellite communications.
High-speed connectivity for Florida International University will help researchers there develop an Internet "server" that will allow forecasters to combine data from multiple sources to improve hurricane forecasting, according to Naphtali Rishe, the director of the university's High-performance Database Research Center.
Researchers at the University of Nevada, Reno, meanwhile, will be able to connect to supercomputers at federal research labs to model the complexities of the distribution of contaminants in groundwater, including possible materials from the Nevada nuclear test site, noted Steve Zink, associate vice president for information resources and technologies.
A joint grant to the University of Arkansas-Little Rock and the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences will provide UAMS doctors access to a variety of leading-edge medical diagnostic tools and UALR researchers the ability to connect to powerful, though remote, supercomputers, said Keith Hudson, the university's assistant dean for research. But just as importantly, he added, the university's enhanced research capabilities may provide an incentive to technology firms to consider relocating nearby, sparking economic growth. "Arkansas is just not a very rich state," he said. "To bring this capability to Little Rock has the potential to really provide tremendous benefits."
List of High Performance Computing Recipients
* joint grants
The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering. In fiscal year (FY) 2017, its budget is $7.5 billion. NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and other institutions. Each year, NSF receives more than 48,000 competitive proposals for funding and makes about 12,000 new funding awards.
Useful NSF Web Sites: