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Christine Fitzpatrick

Last modified: Monday, July 14, 2003

National Science Foundation continues TransPAC funding

The National Science Foundation has extended funding for TransPAC, the high-speed international Internet service connecting research and education networks in the Asia-Pacific to those in the United States. The principal investigator for TransPAC in the United States is Michael A. McRobbie, Indiana University vice president for information technology, CIO and vice president for research.

"As a vehicle for encouraging collaborations between groups in the United States and the Asia-Pacific, TransPAC has had notable success. We are pleased that the NSF has extended funding for TransPAC," McRobbie said. "This extension supports the critical international collaborations between researchers in the United States and those in the Asia-Pacific in digitally enabled science."

TransPAC supports many international collaborations, such as the Grid Physics Network for distribution and analysis of experimental results in high energy physics; the Asia-Pacific Bioinformatics Network, providing genomic data, computational resources, and community support for medical and biological research; the Joint Program for Arctic Atmosphere Observation between laboratories at the University of Alaska Fairbanks and the Communications Research Laboratory in Japan; and the Japan-U.S. collaboration in the Sloan Digital Sky Survey.

"NSF's continued co-funding of international links clearly underscores the importance of global e-science collaborations and the growing dependence on shared cyberinfrastructure resources for complex problem solving," said Tom DeFanti, the principal investigator for the NSF-supported StarLight optical Internet exchange in Chicago, where TransPAC connects in North America.

For the past five years, the TransPAC consortium has connected research and education networks in the Asia-Pacific associated with the Asia-Pacific Advanced Network (APAN) to the Internet2 Abilene network, the vBNS, U.S. federal networks, and other global international research and education networks. Operational support for TransPAC is provided in the United States by Indiana University's Global Research Network Operations Center and in Japan by KDDI Corp.'s APAN network operations center. International circuits for TransPAC are provided by KDDI Corp.

In 1998, NSF awarded $10 million over five years to fund TransPAC. The Japan Science and Technology Corp. in 1999 awarded $10 million over five years to double the capacity of TransPAC. In 2002, TransPAC increased bandwidth available for researchers from 155Mbps (megabits per second) to 1.244Gbps (gigabits per second). The funding extension by NSF provides $1.75 million over the next year for continued operational support. In the coming year, plans include increasing TransPAC bandwidth capacity at no increase in cost from the current 1.244Gbps to 5Gbps, more than quadrupling capacity for researchers.

TransPAC offers its high-bandwidth research network to nearly 100 Asia-Pacific and U.S. educational institutions and research laboratories for testing a range of applications including astronomy, molecular biology, high-energy physics, medicine, meteorology, computational science and distance learning. For more information, see

KDDI Corp., with subsidiaries and offices in countries around the world, provides high-quality, seamless network service that interconnects every corner of the globe. The comprehensive support of KDDI not only covers network services such as leased circuits and frame relay/cell relay services but also extends to system integration and housing of customer telecom facilities. Network operation centers in Tokyo, New York, Los Angeles and London provide continuous operations and monitoring of customer networks. For more information, see and

The Global Research Network Operations Center at Indiana University manages the international network connections from advanced research and education networks in the Asia-Pacific, Europe, Russia and South America to the Science Technology and Research Transit Access Point and the leading U.S. high-performance research and education networks such as Abilene (the network that supports the Internet2 project), NSF's very high performance Backbone Network System and the Department of Energy's ESnet. For more information, see

StarLight is an advanced optical infrastructure and proving ground for network services optimized for high-performance applications. For more information, see