Australia forges US partnership to accelerate scientific discovery and innovation

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US West Coast Pacific Research Platform partners. Diagram courtesy Calit2-news

Australia forges US partnership to accelerate scientific discovery and innovation

MELBOURNE, Australia – Wednesday 5 August 2015 – Australia’s Academic and Research Network (AARNet) and the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology (Calit2) today announced a partnership to connect Australian researchers to the US Pacific Research Platform (PRP), a next generation data sharing network linking research universities and supercomputing centres at unprecedented speeds.

The announcement was made during the Australian American Leadership Dialogue being held in Melbourne this week. Founder Phil Scanlan says the announcement is a great example of the kinds of partnerships fostered by the Leadership Dialogue.

Chris Hancock, AARNet CEO says Australia and the US have both made major investments in networks based on the Science DMZ architecture over the past few years to support the exponential growth in data-intensive research.

“What we are aiming to do now is to connect those networks into a common Australian/American platform – the Pacific Research Platform, which will support enhanced collaboration by our top researchers in disciplines of critical importance to the future of both our countries,” he said.

Australian research projects in data-centric fields such as particle physics, astronomy, biomedicine, earth science and visualization are set to benefit from the new data-sharing platform connecting them to their American counterparts. Australian/American research collaborations will also be able to share, use and reuse significant collections of data now stored on infrastructure created under the National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy (NCRIS) RDSI project, using innovative digital tools and techniques.

The partnership is available to any Australian university undertaking Big Data research with PRP institutions. Universities already involved include:

  • Institute for Marine and Antarctica Studies at the University of Tasmania (UTAS), together with the UTAS-led Integrated Marine Observing System (IMOS) and Southern Ocean Observing System (SOOS) data groups: Exchanging large oceanographic and geoscience datasets with the University of California, San Diego’s Scripps Institution of Oceanography.
  • Monash University: Linking the CAVE2 virtual reality facility to similar facilities in Hawaii and Chicago.
  • University of Queensland: Advanced middleware to connect compute/storage clouds with US to support biomedical, geosciences, and imaging data analysis.

“To accelerate the rate of scientific discovery, researchers must get the data they need, where they need it, and when they need it. It is critical that we collaborate globally to develop a common network architecture to support data intensive research into the future, ” said University of California, San Diego computer science and engineering professor Larry Smarr, principal investigator of the PRP and Calit2 director, who is an American delegate to the Leadership Dialogue.

Building on a series of investments to create on-campus Big Data freeway systems, the US National Science Foundation (NSF) last week announced funding for the PRP project.

Calit2 and the Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society (CITRIS), led by University of California, Berkeley, will organize PRP, utilizing California’s Corporation for Education Network Initiatives in California (CENIC)/Pacific Wave’s 100G backbone. PRP links most of the research universities on the United States West Coast and will be extensible both across other data-rich research domains as well as to other national and international networks, potentially leading to a national and eventually global data-intensive research cyberinfrastructure.

In parallel with the United States over the last few years, Australia has funded a similar set of data-centric sites [Research Data Storage Nodes], which are interconnected by the RDSI-funded national Data Sharing Network (DaShNet) implemented and operated by AARNet.

Hancock says participating in the PRP project as an international partner was a logical next step. By extending DaShNet, AARNet can interconnect an increasing number of huge research datasets, as well as NCRIS supported computational resources such as the NCI, Pawsey Centre and the NeCTAR Research Cloud to the PRP networked data infrastructure.

AARNet will provide connectivity to the PRP in partnership with Southern Cross Cable Network (SCCN) via the submarine optical fibre links known as SXTransPORT to the west coast of the US and on to San Diego and Calit2 via Pacific Wave and CENIC. With the very generous support of SCCN, AARNet is upgrading SXTransPORT to 100 Gigabits per second by the end of 2016.

“This is another plank in Australia’s platform for sustained high community performance through 2050 and well beyond,” said Leadership Dialogue Founder Phil Scanlan.


Media Contact:

Jane Gifford

+61 2 9779 6960


About the Pacific Research Platform

Research is an increasingly multi-disciplinary, multi-institutional, data intensive and global endeavor with researchers needing ever more rapid access to massive distributed datasets. The Pacific Research Platform (PRP) aims to meet these needs by extending the on-campus Science DMZ model to a regional model for data-intensive networking, with end-to-end 10-100Gb/s connections enabling virtual co-location of data with computing resources and enhanced security options.

About AARNet

AARNet Pty Ltd (APL) is the not for profit company that operates Australia’s Academic and Research Network (AARNet). The shareholders are 38 Australian universities and the CSIRO. AARNet provides high capacity Internet and other communications services for the nation’s research and education community, including universities, health and other research organisations, schools, vocational training providers and cultural institutions. AARNet serves over one million end users who access the network for teaching, learning and research.

About Australian American Leadership Dialogue

Founded in 1992, the annual bipartisan Australian American Leadership Dialogue alternates between Washington DC and a major Australian capital city. In recent years, the Leadership Dialogue has also accessed the best institutional infrastructure on the west coast of the USA, in order to engage some of their best and brightest about the next phase of nation building in both countries. The Young Leadership Dialogue was launched in 2007, which brings a pipeline of young leaders to reinvigorate the Leadership Dialogue with fresh thinking and new ideas.

About Calit2

The California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology (Calit2) a partnership between UC San Diego and UC Irvine, houses over 1,000 researchers organized around more than 50 projects on the future of telecommunications and information technology and how these technologies will transform a range of applications important to the economy and citizens’ quality of life.




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