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Computer network upgrades to put Wayne State researchers in fast lane

January 4, 2013

Researchers at Wayne State University are about to experience a power surge in the ability to do their jobs, thanks to an upgraded computer network infrastructure supported by a federal grant. David Cinabro, professor of physics and astronomy in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, is principal investigator for the project, which comprises two major components and will be funded with a two-year, $360,000 grant from the National Science Foundation. The first component builds a dedicated, very high-speed network that will enable WSU researchers to transmit and receive large amounts of data quickly, across the campus or around the world. The dedicated network, or "Science DMZ," as investigators call it, will be exclusive to scientific research and separate from the standard university network for day-to-day traffic. The new network is scheduled for completion around mid-2013. Patrick Gossman, Wayne State deputy CIO for computing and IT and a co-investigator for the grant, likened the Science DMZ to a dedicated lane on the freeway with a 700-mph speed limit. "They need to move huge files here, where they have the computing power to analyze them, or send them to collaborators at other institutions," he said. "This upgrade will greatly speed up our researchers' ability to work, moving their research forward." The second project component will upgrade the local network infrastructure in the physics building. This component will provide the necessary on-off ramps to the new Science DMZ as well as speed up their daily work.