100-gigabit data line coming to Holland Computing Center

100-gigabit data line coming to Holland Computing Center

The Schorr Center is home to UNL's Holland Computing Center.
Craig Chandler | University Communications
The Schorr Center is home to UNL's Holland Computing Center.

A National Science Foundation grant is fueling a network speed upgrade at UNL’s Holland Computing Center.

A multidisciplinary team led by Mark Askren, UNL’s chief information officer, has been awarded a $491,871 Advanced Cyberinfrastructure award from the NSF. The grant — coupled with UNL’s current improvements to the campus computing network — will allow the Holland Computing Center to establish a 100 gigabits per second Internet2 connection with the Great Plains Network in Kansas City.

The current connection rate for the center is 10 gigabits per second.

“We are joining other major research universities across the country making this transition from 10 gigabits per second to 100,” Askren said. “It is important that we make this transition so that our research faculty have access to state of the art connectivity as we continue to pursue and engage in leading national and international research.”

Askren is the principal investigator on the “CC-NIE Network Infrastructure: Accelerating Science For Nebraska” project. He is joined by co-principal investigators David Swanson, director of the Holland Computing Center and research associate professor in computer science and engineering; Brian Bockelman, research assistant professor in computer science and engineering; and Byravamurthy Ramamurthy, professor of computer science and engineering.

“This puts UNL right on the cutting edge in terms of data transfer rates,” Swanson said. “It also will allow us to do various network research projects that we could not do before.”

Swanson said the upgrade will virtually eliminate data transfer scheduling conflicts between campus research projects. It also will allow for dedicated bandwidth when needed for research.

“Right now, it takes about 15 minutes to transfer a terabyte of data,” Swanson said. “When this 100 gigabit connection is running, that terabyte transfer will take less than a minute and a half.”

Campus research projects that will benefit from the upgrade include brain imaging and analysis at the Center for Brain, Biology and Behavior (Dennis Molfese); Compact Muon Solenoid (Kenneth Bloom); Next Generation Sequencing (Etsuko Moriyama, Andy Benson); Open Science Grid (Bockelman, Swanson); and MobilityFirst Future Internet Architecture (Ramamurthy).

“This is the type of project that I am passionate about,” Askren said. “To be successful as a major research university, we must stay ahead of electronic capabilities. We want to have the headroom so a researcher can have the capacity they need to explore and develop unique projects.

“If we don’t allow researchers that opportunity, then we fail.”

The Holland Computing Center’s 100 gigabit per second connection is expected to come online later this year.

For more information on how researchers can take advantage of the upgrade, contact Swanson at david.swanson@unl.edu or 402-472-5006.