Skoltech Moves Forward With E-Infrastructure

The Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology (Skoltech) and the National Association of Research and Educational e-Infrastructures (e-ARENA) announced the first steps in their partnership to improve national and international e-infrastructure.

On June 26, Skoltech President Edward Crawley and e-ARENA Director-General Marat Biktimirov signed a Letter of Intent to collaborate in establishing persistent high bandwidth networking between Skoltech and its national and international partners and collaborators.

Skoltech has recently launched its Center for Stem Cell Research that includes a close long-term partnership with academic partners in the Netherlands, Russia and the USA. Researchers at the center will rely on state-of-the-art e-infrastructure to advance research programs in the application of new genomics technologies towards the realization of personalized medicine. Skoltech and its international collaborators will need access to an exponentially growing amount of genomic data. This data must then be stored, transferred and analyzed, demanding a high level of network speed between Skoltech and the rest of the world. The Institute also expects to launch at least 14 more CREIs each of which will include international and national collaborations target complex and data-rich scientific challenges.

Besides these research projects, Skoltech will develop opportunities for web-based classes and data-intensive collaborative experimentation and modeling similar to such educational initiatives as MITx and edX. All of these educational and research initiatives also benefit from increased network connection.

Skoltech has already launched a partnership with SURFnet to begin providing for the high-bandwidth needs for this first Center for Research, Education and Innovation (CREI). The new partnership with e-ARENA will extend networking options by leveraging Russian research and education networks RASNet, RUNNet and RBNet, as well as international connections to the pan-European GEANT network and the advanced science network GLORIAD.

Skoltech Acting CIO, Professor Gabrielle Allen, said of the new cooperation, “Robust, world-class cyberinfrastructure is absolutely essential for modern data-intensive science which today takes place in a global setting. As a new institute, we are delighted to be collaborating with e-ARENA and leveraging their long and deep experience in networking to provide Skoltech researchers and educations with necessary e-infrastructure.”

e-ARENA is a non-profit organization for coordinating efforts of different organizations to create and develop the e-infrastructures for science and higher education within Russian. One of its basic objectives is the formation of associations as a Russian NREN. e-ARENA was organized by three major IT-Centers in Russia (JSCC, INFORMIKA and RIPN). In particular, JSCC represents the academic sector and the entire Russian science and educational community in GEANT project as a partner. RIPN represents the research sphere, participating in many international networking projects. INFORMIKA represents universities.

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