Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center Upgrades Bandwidth and Connectivity in West Virginia

PSC collaboration with WVU, WVNET and federal research facilities transforms West Virginia network landscape.

PITTSBURGH, June 5, 2012 — The Three Rivers Optical Exchange (3ROX), the high-performance Internet hub operated and managed by the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center (PSC), has significantly upgraded the link between PSC and West Virginia University (WVU). At the same time, WVNET (West Virginia Network), a network organization that serves schools, government and non-profits in West Virginia, has joined 3ROX, which gives West Virginia clients of WVNET a significant bandwidth upgrade as well as access to expanded research and education resources.

The new 3ROX link to WVU increases bandwidth 64-fold — from 155 megabits per second (Mbps) to 10 gibabits per second (Gbps). “This is a big step forward for research and education connectivity to WVU,” says Wendy Huntoon, PSC director of networking. The upgrade enhances support for clean-energy related research at the National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL), a U.S. Department of Energy national laboratory with campuses in Morgantown and Pittsburgh. NETL researchers use the 3ROX link to access supercomputing resources at PSC.

By joining as a participant in 3ROX, WVNET upgrades connectivity from West Virginia K-20 schools to research and education networks such as Internet2 — from eight 155 Mbps links (aggregating to about five Gbps) to two 10 Gbps connections (one from Morgantown and another from Huntington). Among other education and government facilities, the upgraded WVNET bandwidth will link the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) facility in Greenbank, West Virginia, with WVU and the WVU Astrophysics program. From WVU, the 3ROX/WVU high-bandwidth link will then connect NRAO Greenbank with the global astronomy community.

More important to WVNET than the improved bandwidth per se, says Dan O’Hanlon, director of WVNET, is the collaboration with 3ROX. “We’ve wanted to become more involved in the educational community,” says O’Hanlon, “and participating in 3ROX meets our goals. It’s a big gain for West Virginia that we’re now able to collaborate with people who are involved in supercomputing and have world-class experience in running a research and education network.” 

The catalyst for the collaboration and the upgrades, says Huntoon, was the 10 Gbps connection that 3ROX provided last year for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Environmental Security Computing Center in Fairmont, West Virginia. “The NOAA grant was stimulus funding,” says Huntoon, “and because we had infrastructure in place, we’ve been able to provide these expanded services very competitively from a cost perspective. We formed an effective partnership with WVNET, WVU, NETL and NOAA and these upgrades — to a total of 40 Gbps within a year — transform the West Virginia Internet landscape.”

More information about 3ROX:  http://www.psc.edu/networking

About PSC: http://www.psc.edu

The Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center is a joint effort of Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh together with Westinghouse Electric Company. Established in 1986, PSC is supported by several federal agencies, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and private industry, and is a partner in the National Science Foundation XSEDE program. 

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