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Daphne Siefert-Herron
Office of the Vice President for Information Technology and CIO

Last modified: Thursday, December 15, 2011

IU awarded $2.3 million for computer network innovation

Dec. 15, 2011

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Indiana University has again been chosen by the National Science Foundation's GENI project to lead applied research for faster and cheaper computer networks. Four new grants totaling $2.3 million further advance the state's national stature in operating and researching high-speed computer networks.

"These grants again affirm the state's investment to create more high tech network jobs in Indiana," said Brad Wheeler, IU vice president for information technology and chief information officer. "IU's Global Research and Education Network Operations Center (GlobalNOC) continues to demonstrate that Hoosiers are world class in efficiently operating today's networks and pioneering tomorrow's. There is a natural blending of insight and expertise when IU partners on leading-edge research and rapidly applies it for state, national and international needs."

The NSF's Global Environment for Network Innovations (GENI) project awarded the grants in support of the university's efforts to build, test and support innovative computer networks. This is the third round of funding in which IU has been selected for the highly competitive GENI program.

"The state's public-private partnership for networks continues to be an ongoing story of 'brain gain' for Indiana as operations and grants allow us to retain and attract a pool of top talent in computer networking," said Dave Jent, associate vice president of networks at IU. "It is this expertise in and commitment to networking that allows us to attract millions of federal grant dollars to Indiana, creating jobs and building better networks to support quality education and economic development."

This summer, IU hosted its second Summer of Networking internship program, where 13 highly talented students worked side-by-side with IU's most advanced network engineers and security specialists. The NSF recently awarded IU $270,595 to expand the internship program.

The new federal grants provide funding for applied research and deployment of emerging technologies like OpenFlow and Software Defined Networking. They will provide infrastructure to support measurement of network data; training for network administrators; a service desk for problem reporting and project coordination; and next-generation network infrastructure to Committee on Institutional Cooperation member institutions in the Midwest (the Big Ten research universities and the University of Chicago). The specific projects include:

GEMINI: A GENI Measurement and Instrumentation Infrastructure

Because GENI is designed for network experimentation, measurement is critical. This $1.3 million project will create an infrastructure to support measurement of data on GENI. The project, led by IU with partners from the University of Kentucky and Internet2, is the largest GENI effort to date. Equipment for the project will be housed at IU. The project will be led by Martin Swany, associate professor of computer science at the IU School of Informatics and Computing.

GENI OpenFlow Training for Network Administrators

This project will develop training materials to familiarize network administrators with OpenFlow, a powerful emerging network technology. OpenFlow removes the need for expensive network switching hardware and has the potential to make tens of thousands of less-expensive Ethernet switches on university campuses around the U.S. and the world available as a platform for network research. Matt Davy, director of InCNTRE and chief network architect at IU, will lead this project.

GENI Operations Service Desk Support

This project will provide GENI researchers with a 24/7/365 help desk to serve as a single point of contact for reporting problems and providing project coordination and communications. The service desk will build on the work of the IU GlobalNOC and be the first point of contact for reporting issues. The service desk will work alongside other areas within the IU GlobalNOC to perform operational tasks such as emergency shutdown or isolation, and provide regular operational reports. The project is led by Marianne Chitwood, director of operations for Indiana's I-Light network and the IU GlobalNOC.

The Midwest OpenFlow Crossroads Initiative (MOXI)

This project will provide a new OpenFlow-based experimental network infrastructure to CIC member institutions in the Midwest. MOXI is a partnership of the IU GlobalNOC and the Committee on Institutional Cooperation, a consortium of the top-tier research universities of the Big Ten Athletic Conference and the University of Chicago. MOXI's primary mission will be the rapid, broad deployment of GENI capabilities throughout the Midwest, which will take advantage of the existing infrastructure and relationships among the participating Midwest CIC institutions. The project is led by Jon-Paul Herron, director of engineering for the IU GlobalNOC.

About GENI

The Global Environment for Network Innovations is a suite of experimental network research infrastructure sponsored by the National Science Foundation. As envisioned by the community, this suite will support a wide range of network science and engineering experiments, such as new protocols and data dissemination techniques running over a substantial fiber optic infrastructure with next-generation optical switches, novel high-speed routers, citywide experimental urban radio networks, high-end computational clusters and sensor grids. All infrastructures are envisioned to be shared among a large number of individual, simultaneous experiments with extensive instrumentation that makes it easy to collect, analyze and share real measurements. For more, visit

About GlobalNOC

The Global Research Network Operations Center at Indiana University is a premier provider of highly responsive network coordination, engineering and installation services that support the advancement of R&E networking.

The IU GlobalNOC is a provider of 24/7/365 expert support for 18 of the most advanced research and education networks of national, international, regional and enterprise scale from Indiana's I-Light to the Internet2 Network. Visit