An agreement between CENIC and Link Oregon establishes a unique regional partnership that allows both organizations to share resources and expertise in providing extended fiber broadband network capabilities and services to research, education, and other public-service organizations across California and Oregon—and eventually beyond.
CENIC, established in 1997, is a non-profit organization that operates the California Research and Education Network (CalREN), a high-capacity network of more than 8,000 miles of optical fiber across California. It supports over 20 million users including most K-20 students, as well as educators, researchers, and other vital, public-serving institutions.
Link Oregon—the newly minted non-profit consortium of Oregon’s four research universities (Oregon State University, OHSU, Portland State University, and the University of Oregon) and the State of Oregon’s Office of the Chief Information Officer—will provide high-speed, reliable, cost-effective fiber broadband connectivity to some 600 non-profit and public service organizations, including K-12 and other public education institutions, libraries, public health facilities, Tribes, and state government offices statewide.
“As an emerging state network, Link Oregon will benefit tremendously from working closely with CENIC,” said Steve Corbató, executive director of Link Oregon. “This partnership is a powerful enabler for higher-level, data-driven collaboration between Oregon and California research universities as well as for addressing connectivity challenges in chronically underserved regions along our common border.”
The new agreement gives Link Oregon direct access to CENIC’s networks, supercomputing facilities, bundled peering, and participation in experimental network activities, initiatives, testbeds, technical support services, workshops, conferences, and other critical services. CENIC will benefit from closer collaboration in research, data-sharing, education support, and other service activities across a broader geography.
“This is a first step in Link Oregon’s becoming a fourth partner in our West Coast Fiber Partnership, which includes Pacific Northwest Gigapop, Internet2, and ESnet,” said CENIC President and CEO Louis Fox. “As traffic continues to grow on R&E networks, it is essential that we partner to keep pace with the research demands of global-scale instruments, multi-institution collaborations, and access to massive datasets.”
The agreement also builds on CENIC’s and Link Oregon’s existing relationships with key entities such as the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology (Calit2) at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) and Internet2, an advanced technology community for higher education that will provide the 100 gigabit-per-second transport to connect the Link Oregon presence in Eugene, Oregon to the CENIC Network at the CalREN Sunnyvale node in Silicon Valley.
A second phase will establish a direct connection to CENIC’s Pacific Wave infrastructure, extending the reach across a distributed, international network-peering facility for the Pacific Rim via the Pacific Research Platform (PRP). The PRP allows large amounts of scientific data to be moved between labs, collaborators’ sites, supercomputer centers, data repositories, and the cloud.
“The PRP welcomes Oregon’s research institutions to participate in our extensive NSF-funded regional Science DMZ projects with access to several petabytes of high-speed shared storage connected to 400 GPUs and 4,000 CPUs,” said Larry Smarr, principal investigator of the PRP and director of Calit2 at UCSD. “High-performance network connections via CENIC, Pacific Wave, ESnet, and Internet2 extend this Science DMZ capability to researchers nationwide and worldwide, and seamlessly integrates with commercial clouds,” explained Smarr. “We look forward to engaging with Oregon’s research and education community as soon as possible.”
Many California-Oregon research projects, particularly in the sciences, will benefit from the partnership and extended connectivity and could have wide-reaching impact (see ShakeAlert® and ALERTWildfire as examples).
“Whether it’s disaster preparedness, CRISPR gene editing, artificial intelligence, or the next new technology that lies around the corner, our researchers are increasingly employing cutting-edge techniques that require larger and larger data sets, and they are often doing so through collaborative projects that involve investigators from other institutions in the Northwest, in California, and beyond,” said David Conover, vice president for research and innovation at the University of Oregon. “As we look ahead to the launch of the $1 billion Phil and Penny Knight Campus for Accelerating Scientific Impact in 2020 and other programs such as our Data Sciences Initiative, this partnership will become even more critical to the future of our institution, and we are proud to be a part of the network.”