During the summer of 2016, several faculty members, the Provost’s Office, and ITS staff worked with the Grant’s Office to craft and submit a National Science Foundation grant proposal to boost the College’s on-campus academic network and to establish a more robust research network. With Bruce Maxwell of Computer Science in the PI role, NSF funded the proposal. Much of the work in the grant was completed this summer. 

Nearly all academic building on campus are now upgraded to 10 gigabit network connections (a 10-fold increase) between each other and the network core. A dedicated research network link is in the process of being established between Colby and the University of Maine at Orono which is an Internet2 host. The scope of the grant also includes internet network upgrades for The Jackson Laboratory so students working on campus may use data at JAX in computational biology work. The isolated research network will be extended to each of the academic buildings, our local high performance computing cluster and data storage, then to the NSF-sponsored Extreme Science and Engineering Discovery Environment (XSEDE) and other Internet2 resources via the Maine Research and Education Network (MaineREN).

To support the College’s growing research network capability and high performance computing needs, the grant also establishes a new role on the Academic ITS team to assist faculty and students looking to take advantage of the updated environment. Randall Downer moved into this role as the high performance computing applications manager in July. Randy will now support programs and researchers across the College in using the recently implemented additions.