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U.S. Department of Agriculture Chooses Internet2 Network to Address Big Data Research Needs

Posted on Dec 03, 2014 by Angela Stark
Tags: Federal Government, Frontpage News, Internet2 Member, Internet2 Network

As a new Internet2 member, USDA will have 10 to 100G network access across six of its major research centers

WASHINGTON, Dec. 3, 2014—Internet2, a member-owned advanced technology consortium founded by the nation's leading higher education research institutions, today announced that it has partnered with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Research Service (ARS) to implement a high-speed, research-only enterprise network using the Internet2 backbone. The initial implementation of the network, known as the ARS Science Network, will connect six major USDA-ARS research centers at speeds of 10 or 100 gigabits per second (Gb/s), depending on the site. The network upgrade comes as part of ARS’s recent effort to enhance its high-performance computing and scientific research activities. ARS is the USDA’s chief intramural scientific agency. With the new connection, USDA-ARS also becomes an Internet2 Level 1 Affiliate Member.

“As a world leader in the science of agriculture, ARS’s research, technology, and data needs are vast,” said Rob Vietzke, vice president of network services at Internet2. “Their new Internet2 membership will help continue their important work supporting the American agricultural economy through research and development. Internet2 welcomes USDA-ARS into the community and looks forward to working together to accelerate the delivery of solutions based on scientific collaboration and high-performance computing.”

ARS consists of more than 2,100 researchers working on 800 data-centric, complex, and collaborative research projects across 90 facilities. The Internet2-provisioned ARS Science Network will enhance the federal agency’s ability to perform research and data collection, analysis, and information sharing in areas such as food safety, nutrition, genomics, environmental resource sustainability, and agricultural production and protection, in support of its Big Data Scientific Computing Modernization effort.

The new high-speed, private network will link a number of USDA-ARS research centers with university, domestic, and international research partners and resources. As the data demands of science increase within the USDA mission, the Internet2 Network will supply a scalable, flexible, highly reliable, and professionally managed underlying infrastructure, allowing the advanced capabilities of the ARS Science Network to continue to develop and expand. Internet2 operates a national optical network with 8.8 terabits per second of capacity and uses a fabric of 100 Gb/s routers and switches. In November, Internet2 carried nearly 60 petabytes of data, serving researchers from universities, government, and industry.

“Through our high-performance computing centers and land-grant universities, USDA-ARS will see a significant benefit from connecting to the unprecedented speed and capability of the Internet2 Network,” said Doreen Ware, ARS’s acting scientific information officer, who is currently leading this project. “Our involvement in Internet2 enables ARS to address its big data needs that contribute to solving agricultural challenges of high national priority.”

The Internet2 ARS Science Network will initially service the following ARS research locations:

• Animal Genomics and Improvement Laboratory, Beltsville, Md.
• Delta Research and Extension Center, Stoneville, Miss.
• Meat Animal Research Center, Clay Center, Neb.
• National Animal Disease Center, Ames, Iowa
• Natural Resources Research Center, Fort Collins, Colo.
• Western Region Research Center, Albany, Calif.

“As an advanced research community, Internet2 is delighted to have the opportunity to facilitate the expansion of the deep collaborations between U.S. universities and the USDA. This partnership will help USDA-ARS ensure the U.S. agricultural sector’s global competitiveness, contribute to the agency’s mission of providing safe and nutritious foods, and allow USDA-ARS to leverage one of America’s greatest assets—our world-leading research and education community and its resources,” said Vietzke.

About Internet2
Internet2® is a member-owned advanced technology community founded by the nation's leading higher education institutions in 1996. Internet2 provides a collaborative environment for U.S. research and education organizations to solve shared technology challenges, and to develop innovative solutions in support of their educational, research, and community service missions.

Internet2 also operates the nation’s largest and fastest, coast-to-coast research and education network, in which the Network Operations Center is powered by Indiana University. Internet2 serves more than 93,000 community anchor institutions, 260 U.S. universities, 70 government agencies, 38 regional and state education networks, 80 leading corporations working with our community and more than 65 national research and education networking partners representing more than 100 countries.

Internet2 offices are located in Ann Arbor, Mich.; Denver, Colo.; Emeryville, Calif.; Washington, D.C.; and West Hartford, Conn. For more information, visit www.internet2.edu or follow @Internet2 on Twitter.

About ARS
ARS conducts research to develop and transfer solutions to agricultural problems of high national priority and provide information access and dissemination to: ensure high-quality, safe food and other agricultural products; assess the nutritional needs of Americans; sustain a competitive agricultural economy; enhance the natural resource base and the environment; and provide economic opportunities for rural citizens, communities and society as a whole.

Media contacts:
Angela Stark, Internet2, 202.803.8996 or astark@internet2.edu
Tara Weaver-Missick, USDA-ARS, 301.504.1663 or tara.weavermissick@ars.usda.gov