NSF awards nearly $1 million to System to build cyberinfrastructure that will expand Maine’s access to new research and learning opportunities

ORONO – The National Science Foundation has awarded the University of Maine system nearly $1 million to build a new cyberinfrastructure that will expand the state’s access to scientific data, expertise and learning opportunities. learning across New England and beyond.

The equipment funded by the NSF prize of $976,496 will create high-speed 400 gigabits per second (Gbps) network connections between the system’s supercomputer cluster at its flagship institution, the University of Maine, and two research facilities. and education in New England. : the Massachusetts Green High Performance Computing Center and the Northern Crossroads Gigabit Point of Presence, the region’s main connector to Internet2.

“Digital connectivity is critical to the success of Maine schools and students in the 21st century – opening up a whole new world of resources and learning,” said US Senses Susan Collins and Angus King. “The University of Maine System’s ‘You Can Get There from Here’ network will create important new connections to expand scientific collaboration throughout New England and increase educational opportunities in our state.” It is a perfect example of how modern technologies such as broadband connections can bring more opportunities to underserved rural areas and move our state forward into the future.

Operating these facilities, both dedicated to supporting research and education in New England, will increase the computing capacity of the system’s network infrastructure more than tenfold. As a result, the new equipment will improve the ability of Maine researchers, especially those at smaller, underfunded institutions, to share data and resources and collaborate with other experts around the world. Connecting to these hubs will also allow UMS to connect to other research partners in northern New England in the future by providing intermediate add-and-remove support in Keene, New Hampshire, and Portland, Maine.

“Research and innovation relies on collaboration and networks, and that can sometimes be difficult in our rural and remote areas,” said Joan Ferrini-Mundy, UMS Vice Chancellor for Research and Innovation. and president of the University of Maine. “I want to thank Senators Collins and King for their continued support of investing in science and technology. With this award from the National Science Foundation, the University of Maine system will connect its cutting-edge computing resources and world-class researchers to colleagues across the Northeast and nation, as well as students from PK- 12 and postsecondary education in our state. Together we can solve problems and create new knowledge and opportunity for Maine and beyond. This project demonstrates the tremendous power and potential of our flagship R1 research university to help strengthen our entire university system and enhance Maine’s capacity and global competitiveness.

Bruce Segee, professor of electrical and computer engineering at UMaine; will lead the project and work with Jeff Letourneau, executive director of NetworkMaine, a UMS unit that provides Internet and related services to various stakeholders across the state; and Garret Peirce, the system’s network architect.

“Virtually all research in the 21st century uses high-speed computers and networks. Maine has traditionally been extremely disadvantaged. said Segee. “This grant will allow Maine researchers to collaborate in a meaningful way with the rest of the world, both by making resources outside of Maine more accessible, and also by making Maine data and resources more accessible to the rest of the world. .”

Many schools across the state use NetworkMaine’s high-speed internet, which means they will benefit from UMS cyberinfrastructure upgrades. In particular, NSF-funded equipment could expand educational offerings for K-12 students by connecting them with world-class researchers willing to share their work and experiences.

“K-12 schools and public libraries in Maine have been national leaders in digital learning for decades. This 10x increase in out-of-state capacity will allow us to continue to support their innovation as they provide learning opportunities for everyone in Maine, regardless of location or income,” says Letourneau. .

UMS not only tries to improve Maine researchers’ access to resources through cyberinfrastructure upgrades, but also through collaborations with various organizations, including Northeast Cyberteam, Ecosystem for Research Networking, the Northeast Research and Education Network, the Open Storage Network, and Open Science. Grid.

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