Lehigh University
Lehigh University

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Federal grant bridges a connectivity gap between campuses

Lehigh is getting a major upgrade. Through a grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF), the university has received $1.7 million for networking and infrastructure in Iacocca Hall. The award is funded under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

Bruce Koel, professor of chemistry, and Bruce Taggart, vice provost for library and technology services, led the development of the grant proposal and will oversee the project.

The project will fill a high-speed computational and connectivity gap between researchers in the C-wing of Iacocca Hall on the Mountaintop Campus and research facilities on the Asa Packer Campus, including high-performance computing clusters and electron microscopy labs for characterization of nanomaterials. It will also provide a link to off-campus facilities, including the NSF-funded TeraGrid Project, which is billed as “the world’s largest, most comprehensive, distributed cyberinfrastructure for open scientific research.”

The goal of the two-year grant is to increase the amount of research—both undergraduate and graduate—made possible by the enhanced network connectivity. As part of the grant, Lehigh will document both faculty research productivity and the number of undergraduate and graduate students using the network infrastructure for research, before the renovation and after completion.

Enhanced global access via Internet2

“Once the project is completed, says Taggart, “it will provide faculty, staff, and students conducting research in the Iacocca C-wing with enhanced gigabit network connectivity to advanced research instrumentation located on the Asa Packer Campus. In addition, this enhanced network access will provide these researchers with improved use of Lehigh’s Internet2 connection to other research institutions nationally and internationally.”

“In making this award to Lehigh,” says Koel, “NSF recognized that the work we are doing is important. Updated infrastructure to support current and future research is critical to our success.”

The upgrade, say Taggart and Koel, will directly benefit researchers in the biological sciences and chemical engineering departments and the bioengineering program.

Work on the project will begin in September. “If everything goes well with the construction phase of the project” says Taggart, “the new C-wing gigabit network should be operational by January 2012.”

Story by Jennifer Tucker

Posted on Friday, August 27, 2010

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