Indiana University secures grant for computer network innovation

Indiana University has secured its third set of GENI grants, awarded in order to help develop more efficient technology that can be used in university departments globally.
Written by Charlie Osborne, Contributing Writer on

Indiana University has been chosen by the National Science Foundations's GENI project to research faster and more economic computer networking.

Four new grants have been awarded, for a total of $2.3 million to advance the state's operation and research of computer networks -- focusing on higher speed, cheaper production and better efficiency. This is the third occasion that Indiana has secured funding from the group, against strong annual competition.


(Source: Flickr)

The GENI project is a collaboration of studies that focus on creating an experimental environment to explore global connections. Examples include science, engineering, WiFi, urban radio networks and sensor grids. It supports a wide range of topics and works as a suite in which to collect, analyze and share experimental data.

Some recent projects that were sponsored under the GENI umbrella include:

  • uCap: Researchers from Georgia developed a tool that permits home users to manage network usage allocations across family members, applications (browsing, e-mail, video streaming), and devices.
  • The University of Wisconsin used chess-playing smartphones to show how intensive tasks can be offloaded to cloud resources while meeting user requirements of better security and efficiency.
  • The Infinity project: A University of Michigan group integrated energy-efficient wireless communication techniques and predictive caching in order to optimize smartphone performance levels.

The new federal grants provide funding for applied research and deployment of emerging technologies like OpenFlow and Software Defined Networking. IU plans to use the grants to expand particular infrastructures and resources that may eventually be available to multiple institutions.

The specific projects include:

  • A $1.3 million dollar project that will create an infrastructure to support measurement of data on GENI platforms.
  • Training -- one particular project will be developing training materials to assist network administrators learning OpenFlow network technology. OpenFlow removes the need for some components for network switching hardware and has the potential to create more economical Ethernet switches on university campuses around the U.S. and beyond.
  • A 24 hour help desk to serve as a single point of contact for reporting problems and providing project coordination and communications.
  • The Midwest OpenFlow Crossroads Initiative (MOXI): The final assignment is to create an OpenFlow-based experimental network infrastructure for institutions to engage with. The aim is to be able to deploy GENI capabilities across different research and academic institutions.

The grants IU receives are mainly due to their known dedicated to networking research. It may be a way to improve technology across campus grounds in the U.S and beyond, as well as allowing the academic institution to retain top graduates in computer networking, increasing their own prestige.

This summer, IU hosted its second 'Summer of Networking' internship program, where 13 students were selected to work with IU's best network engineers and security specialists.


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