NSF Awards $498,000 for UNM Cyberinfrastructure

August 29, 2014 - Staff

UNM was awarded nearly half a million dollars on August 14 by the National Science Foundation (NSF) to improve campus-wide networking in support of research. The grant was submitted as the result of a collaboration between Information Technologies, Dr. Gil Gonzales, CIO and Principal Investigator; the Center for Advanced Research Computing (CARC), Dr. Susan Atlas, Director and Co-PI; Dr. Greg Taylor, Professor, Physics & Astronomy and Co-PI; and 14 faculty spanning eight departments and centers, including: Physics & Astronomy, Biology, Earth & Planetary Sciences, University Libraries, Psychology, the UNM Cancer Center, Mathematics & Statistics, and Computer Science. This is the first NSF grant for cyberinfrastructure awarded to UNM. UNM's Provost & Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs, Chaouki Abdallah, said, "This award is a testimonial to what is being achieved when faculty members, research centers, and our central IT organization join their expertise and talents to serve the research enterprise and needs of UNM."

"The UNM Research Network will enable big-data-driven research and modeling, and will facilitate new and existing collaborations between universities and laboratories within the state and nationally," said CARC Director Dr. Susan Atlas. Dr. Gil Gonzales, IT CIO, said, "Advanced cyber infrastructure is vital for a university and a state to compete in today’s rapidly-evolving scientific and technical environment."

The faculty co-PIs and researchers collaborating on this proposal will serve as early adopters for the research network, and whose labs will be the first recipients of the enhanced, dedicated Science DMZ connectivity on the 10/40/80 Gbps Research Network. Dr. Greg Taylor, Professor of Physics & Astronomy, said of the faculty collaborators, "Their data-intensive research projects—many supported by NSF science grants—highlight the data transfer and synchronization requirements, data-sharing needs, and collaboration efforts, which are key network drivers for this project." Other faculty and collaborators on the grant include: Joseph Galewsky, Earth & Planetary Sciences; William Michener and Karl Benedict, University Libraries; Vince Clark, Psychology; Robert Miller and James Brunt, Biology; Scott Ness, UNM Cancer Center; Terry Loring, Daniel Appelӧ, Debra Sulsky, and Natalia Vladimirova, Mathematics & Statistics, and Jedidiah Crandall and Patrick Bridges, Computer Science.

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Aerial view of the LWAl radio observatory operated by the Physics & Astronomy department. The LWA stations are remotely controlled and monitored from UNM. To support routine observing without requiring hand-carrying of disks, the network must support 8TB transfers every 24 hours, 365 days a year.

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency created by Congress in 1950 to: promote the progress of science; to advance the national health, prosperity, and welfare; and to secure the national defense. With an annual budget of $7.2 billion in FY 2014, it is the funding source for approximately 24 percent of all federally supported basic research conducted by America's colleges and universities. In many fields such as mathematics, computer science and the social sciences, NSF is the major source of federal backing. The University of New Mexico is the largest research university in the state, where cutting-edge research and creative endeavors flourish. UNM research in many fields contributes millions of dollars to New Mexico’s economy, funds new advancements in healthcare, and augments teaching, giving students valuable hands-on training in state-of-the art laboratories. The Information Technologies Department is UNM's central computing service provider for all campuses. IT provides leadership for the effective use of IT to achieve the UNM vision and mission in education, research, and public service. IT delivers, secures, monitors, and manages the UNM voice and data networks, computer platform and storage resources, campus-wide hardware and software licensing, and maintains computing environments for finance, administration, and instruction at the University. The UNM Center for Advanced Research Computing is the university supercomputer center. The Center's mission is to enable excellence in research and scholarship in science, engineering, biomedicine, humanities and the arts, through support for parallel supercomputing, advanced visualization, research data storage and analysis, novel architectures, and by providing leadership to enhance interdisciplinary computing-based research and education at the University.