UofM Receives Funding From NSF for Dedicated Campus Research Network

Big Data Science

The University of Minnesota today announced the National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded it $500,000 to build a dedicated research and computing network enabling researchers on its Twin Cities campus to more easily collaborate and innovate with research institutions around the world in their pursuit of new knowledge.

The new network, called the Gopher Science Network (GSN), will link the University’s world-class physical and intellectual resources to state, regional, national and global research and education partners. The network will support efforts to advance the University’s strategic plan, which calls for the institution to harness its research breadth and depth to address society’s most complex and consequential problems.

“As scientific data sets become larger, powerful networking infrastructure is crucial to providing researchers with the resources they need to advance knowledge and innovation in their fields,” said Brian Herman, Ph.D., vice president for research, University of Minnesota.

Dr. Herman also added, “The Gopher Science Network will further strengthen the University’s ability to conduct world-class research. We are excited to accelerate research within the university community and to create new possibilities for collaboration with partner institutions around the world.”

The GSN ensures researchers have access to the high-quality, state-of-the-art systems and capabilities needed to support data-intensive research.

“This is an excellent example of how the University is strategically implementing technology to advance  its mission of research and discovery,” said Scott Studham, vice president and chief information officer, University of Minnesota.

Gopher Science Network to benefit multiple University programs, partnerships

The University has made strategic investments to address a number of important challenges associated with collecting, storing, analyzing, managing, sharing and securing large and small digital data sets.

The GSN will have high-speed links to regional optical networks to address both capacity and capability requirements of two NSF-funded centers located on the U of M’s Twin Cities campus - the Polar Geospatial Center and the Minnesota Population Center - several core campus research facilities, and advanced research in dynamic networks and high-performance computing.

Specifically, the GSN will have an immediate and lasting impact on seven campus research and service groups linked to the following research areas: genomics, proteomics, advanced networking, high resolution, satellite imagery, demographics, magnetic resonance and advanced computational research and infrastructures. These impacts will immediately lower barriers to creating end-to-end workflows between core instrumentation facilities and centralized computing and data storage. Longer term, the GSN will serve as a platform for network research, advance cyberinfrastructure developments, and encourage novel research and education uses in all disciplines.

On a national scale, the GSN will not only benefit NSF-funded research, but it also will strengthen existing partnerships with other agencies, including NASA, National Institutes of Health, United States Department of Energy, United States Department of Defense and the United States Geological Survey. In addition, the network will serve universities nationwide through access to facilities, data and intellectual resources.

The University of Minnesota supports over 150 graduate degree programs and is the second-largest institution of higher education in the Midwest. In 2014, the University competed successfully for $741 million in externally-sponsored research and ranks among the top-10 public universities in its investment in research and development.

The University of Minnesota hosts a number of internally- and externally-funded Institutes, Centers, Programs and Laboratories that play a critical role in advancing the University’s research mission shaping activities on a regional, national and global scale. The initial areas impacted by the GSN include the Minnesota Supercomputing Institute, Polar Geospatial Center, Minnesota Population Center, the OpenCDN project run by Zhi-Li Zhang (Computer Science and Engineering), Center for Mass Spectrometry and Proteomics, University of Minnesota Genomics Center, and the Center for Magnetic Resonance Research.

About Information Technology at the University of Minnesota

Information Technology at the University of Minnesota comprises more than 1,300 technologists and others across the University system who work collaboratively to provide academic and administrative technology services and support to nearly 100,000 students, faculty and staff. Visit IT@UMN to learn more.

About the Minnesota Supercomputing Institute

The Minnesota Supercomputing Institute provides resources and support for all aspects of high-performance computing to researchers and scholars in all fields at the University of Minnesota and at other post-secondary educational institutions in Minnesota. For more information, visit www.msi.umn.edu.