Calit2 to Build High-speed Network for 'Big Data'
Calit2 will be the hub of the Prism@UCSD network, linking researchers
in data-intensive laboratories such as genomic sequencing and proteomics over 10Gbps and 40Gbps fiber paths. Image
Researchers in the UC San Diego division of the California Institute for Telecommunications and
Information Technology (Calit2) are using a $500,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to
build a high-performance digital network capable of carrying more than twenty times the bandwidth
of the current research network.
The project, Prism@UCSD, is the latest in a series of NSF-funded projects at Calit2 to enable
faster and more energy-efficient scientific computing, storage, and visualization, including a networking
paradigm based on optical networks at the core (the OptiPuter project). The Prism network will
be even more robust, faster, and easier to replicate.
"Prism@UCSD is a response to the growing challenge of Big Data," said Calit2 founding director Larry Smarr.
"The key innovation in Prism@UCSD is to provide end-to-end dedicated large bandwidth to the
end-users on campus. It's a high-capacity 'data freeway.'"
The need for more robust and high-capacity networks has been driven by data-intensive advances in many
fields, including digitally enabled genomic medicine - not to mention new abilities to amass and analyze personal
biometric data through the use of ubiquitous, inexpensive sensors and monitors (a field which Calit2 has also
The Prism network will expand the SDSC-Calit2 link from 50 to 120Gbps, and many campus
labs in data-intesnsive areas such as genomic sequencing, climate science, electron microscopy, oceanography and physics will have
direct connections at 20-80Gbps. In addition, by moving traffic from researchers in these data-intensive
areas onto Prism, bandwidth on the regular campus network will be freed for the more than
30,000 people served by the infrastructure. With the addition of Prism to Calit2's research network
infrastructure, the aggregate bandwidth in the Calit2 network will now top one terabit per second -
one trillion bits per second.
Calit2 is an academic research institution jointly run by UC San
Diego and UC Irvine, established in 2000 as one of the four UC
Gray Davis Institutes for Science and Innovation. A multidisciplinary research institution, it is
dedicated to conducting cutting-edge research discovering new ways in which emerging technologies can
improve the state's economy and citizens' quality of life.
According to Smarr, if Prism is a success at UCSD, the project will explore ways to give
nearby research labs access to the network, even if they aren't on campus.
"UC San Diego has a
symbiotic relationship with nearby biotech firms and research institutions on the Torrey Pines Mesa,
institutions such as Salk, The Scripps Research Institute, the Sanford Stem Cell Consortium, and
Sanford-Burnham," said Smarr. "We are entering the era of integrated, personalized 'omics,' and for
San Diego to be a leader, we need to share biomedical data across the Mesa, regardless of which lab