Mississippi EPSCoR cyberinfrastructure goals are congruent with the cyberinfrastructure goals for the Mississippi Research Institutions of Higher Learning (MRIHLs). The RII – Track 1 EPSCoR goals are to provide sufficient computing capability at each institution to support ongoing and projected research in each of the areas and to establish e-meeting capabilities to support collaborative research.
In 2011, a year of technical design and negotiation culminated with the MRC, Governor Hailey Barbour, AT&T, and the Mississippi Department of Information Technology Services signing a 5-year contract for a research network that will use AT&T infrastructure to provide a 20x increase in bandwidth (from 1 Gbps to 20 Gbps) among the four research universities, including UMMC. Stennis Space Center on the MS Gulf Coast and the Research Development Center (ERDC) in Vicksburg will also have 20 Gbps connectivity to the network. The MS State Division of Information Technology Services will serve as the aggregation point for the network (at the new State Data Center in Jackson) and the connection point with the Louisiana Optical Research Network (LONI) through which the universities will continue to access Internet2 and the commodity Internet for the foreseeable future. The enhanced bandwidth is provided at no extra charge to the universities through the leadership of the Office of the Governor and MS legislative action in 2010 who provided incentives for AT&T to expand the capacity. The network is expected to be online by end of 2011 calendar year.
The MRC is working with Internet2 to establish an I2 node in Jackson, MS. It is anticipated that this node will be active by summer 2012 to provide another access point for Internet2 and commodity Internet. This will provide new opportunities for continuing high performance network computing and networking for the Mississippi universities. Funding to establish the node is being provided by the MRC universities with an investment from the four research institutions of ~$600K.
In 2010, the four research institutions (with MSU serving as the lead) were awarded an NSF EPSCoR RII-C2 grant. The C2 funding complements the current RII Track-1 grant to bring 1Gbps connectivity to a large number of workstations and research laboratories with a focus on those supporting modeling and simulation of complex systems and to establish an E-Meeting Cyber-Infrastructure (EM-CI) to enhance Mississippi EPSCoR jurisdiction’s capacity to conduct E-Learning and collaboration through cyber connections.
In addition, Mississippi, Alabama, and Louisiana were awarded an NSF EPSCoR RII Track-2 grant (with Louisiana serving as the lead) to establish the Northern Gulf Coastal Hazards Collaboratory (NG-CHC). The NG_CHC will pioneer the development of an integrated cyberinfrastructure for research and education to promote capabilities in simulating coastal hazards by enhancing the linkages between modeling and observations.
A Cyberinfrastructure/Data Management committee, chaired by Jason Hale of UM and including representatives from the four research institutions is developing and implementing a data management plan for Mississippi EPSCoR.