ISI, Los Nettos, and CARC Receive NSF Award for Large-Scale Research Network Expansion
Research and education network will connect smaller college campuses in Southern California to more advanced resources
By Andrea Renney
USC IT Services and the Information Sciences Institute were officially awarded a nearly $1 million grant from the National Science Foundation on July 29, 2021 for the proposal “A Purpose-built SoCal Science DMZ for Catalyzing Scientific Research Collaborations” (Award #2126319). ITS’s Los Nettos and the Center for Advanced Research Computing collaborated with ISI to design a Science DMZ network that would connect smaller, under-resourced college campuses to larger regional and national research networks.
A Science DMZ is a special-purpose network that connects an organization’s network (in this case, the Los Nettos Regional Network) to larger networks, while still remaining secure and efficient enough for large-scale data transfers. As part of the NSF’s Campus Cyberinfrastructure program, the award will fund “a friction-free regional Science DMZ network across multiple Southern California college campuses, catalyzing collaborative research capabilities at the institutions.” The award will fund the network infrastructure and software necessary to facilitate high speed transfers of large-scale research data for regional and national scientific collaborations.
“[This award] has been a great collaborative effort between ITS, ISI, and the Los Nettos consortium member institutes,” says BD Kim, co-Principal Investigator for the proposal, ITS Associate Chief Research Information Officer, and Director of CARC.
The college campuses included in the network are Loyola Marymount University, Occidental College, and The Claremont Colleges consortium, which consists of Claremont Graduate University, Claremont McKenna College, Harvey Mudd College, Keck Graduate Institute, Pitzer College, Pomona College, and Scripps College. These institutions will benefit from the significant network capacity increase that this project supports, and they will receive streamlined access to a wide array of resources that they wouldn’t otherwise have the opportunity to utilize. The network can also be expanded in the future for researchers and students at other smaller regional institutions (e.g., Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science, ArtCenter College of Design) as their need for collaboration widens.
This network is specially customized for each institution’s unique needs and follows the well-known Science DMZ guidelines established by ESnet. The new network interconnects with state, national, and international networks, such as CENIC’s California Research and Education Network (CalREN), Internet2, and Pacific Wave, so the smaller institutions can benefit from these well-established research networks.
“This is indeed a tremendous award for all of the efforts that Los Nettos, CARC, ISI, and Los Nettos consortium members have exerted in developing the proposal,” says Yul Pyun, co-Principal Investigator for the proposal and Director of Los Nettos. “Primary beneficiaries of this project are the smaller institutions of the Los Nettos consortium, but [USC] also stands to benefit as we build out a state-of-the-art Science DMZ network within the Los Nettos Regional Network.”
Official award information and the project abstract can be found on the NSF website here.