UK researchers reimagine the internet on global scale

In a world that is more virtually connected than ever, University of Kentucky (UK) researchers are working alongside a global team to push the limits of interconnectivity and what today’s Internet can support through a project called FABRIC.

The National Science Foundation (NSF), an independent federal agency aimed at promoting the progress of science, awarded researchers like those in UK’s College of Engineering a $3 million grant to expand FABRIC and building the nation’s largest cyberinfrastructure testbed for scientific discovery and a wide variety of experimental activities.

FABRIC launched in 2019 with a $20 million grant from NSF to allow scientists to test new ways to store, share and move data. The new NSF award allowed scientists to create a sister project called FABRIC Across Borders (FAB), which links four international research centers to the project – the University of Tokyo; the European Organization for Nuclear Research in Geneva, Switzerland; the University of Bristol in the U.K.; and the University of Amsterdam.

Jim Griffioen, a computer science professor at UK, is one of the co-principal investigators on the project and is joined by colleagues Zongming Fei and Ken Calvert, who will lead efforts to extend network services making it easier for researchers to share and access large data sets, like those used in the international high energy physics community.

“The world has changed a great deal since the basic internet transport protocols were designed. Speeds and storage capacities have improved by factors of at least one million, while the data sets that drive discovery have grown even more,” Calvert said in a news article. “FABRIC/FAB deployment will provide a high performance substrate to support improvements in efficiency and performance for scientists in multiple domains.”

— Hayley Robb

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