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The U joins U.S. Ignite in $6-million NSF grant to develop next-generation internet apps

The University of Utah, Utah Education and Telehealth Network (UETN), and Utah Valley University (UVU) will collaborate on education- and telehealth-focused applications with 100Gbps connection speeds.

National Science Foundation (NSF) Director France A. Córdova announced the $6-million grant yesterday (September 14, 2015) at the White House. The program will spur innovation and advanced applications in education and healthcare, along with other key areas such as energy, safety, and transportation. More than a dozen technical innovators will benefit from the grant to the nationwide U.S. Ignite initiative. 

"Today's announcement by the Director of the National Science Foundation at the White House names communities nationwide as focus areas for next-generation Internet applications and services as part of Smart Cities Week. Salt Lake City, Provo, and the rest of Utah are included thanks to the statewide coverage of UETN," said Glenn Ricart, principal investigator of the U.S. Ignite grant.

University Information Technology's Center for High Performance Computing (CHPC) will play a large part in the initiative. The department has already been collaborating closely with various research partners throughout the state, exploring new network technologies and various techniques in software-defined networking, dynamic compute allocation, and dynamic storage allocation. 

"This grant starts to develop an advanced network and compute platform that enables The University of Utah, CHPC, UETN, UVU, USU, and other Utah institutions to better support collaborative environments and academic/industry partnerships," said Joe Breen, CHPC assistant director for network architecture.

"It will allow the exploration of tying academic resources and community resources together in a dynamic fashion by leveraging academic and research connectivity through UETN, as well as end-user and business connectivity through local ISPs," Breen added. "These resources can tie together through common peering points, such as the SLIX initiative."

The Utah Ignite portion of the program will further engage Salt Lake City and Provo/Orem as part of a nationwide ecosystem of gigabit cities, with access to next-generation applications from other communities. UETN already connects the cities via ultra-fast 100Gbps broadband, as well as more than 1,000 schools, libraries, colleges, applied technology campuses, and telehealth clinics via 10Gpbs broadband backbone.

"Through the collaborations fostered by this grant, the infrastructure that UETN provides, and the infrastructure that ISPs are starting to provide, industries such as advanced manufacturing could explore collaborations utilizing the U's regional high performance computing - as well as its developing high-throughput computing infrastructure," said Breen. "These explorations could lead Utah companies to look at new techniques that might not be possible with their current infrastructure."

Last Updated: 5/5/21