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Northern Tier Network Links North Dakota Scientists to Global Research

Posted on 1/28/2011

For Immediate Release:For More Information Contact:
Jan. 28, 2011Debra A. Anderson, Director of Public Affairs and Marketing
North Dakota University System
Phone: 701.328.2962

Northern Tier Network Links North Dakota Scientists to Global Research

BISMARCK, N.D. - Participation in the Northern Tier Network is connecting North Dakota researchers with scientific work applicable here in North Dakota and around the world, according to a report presented at the Jan. 27, 2011, State Board of Higher Education meeting.

Operational in North Dakota since 2009, the Northern Tier Network has elevated research conducted in the state, making it part of the national research networking footprint.

"The Northern Tier Network removed barriers that prohibited North Dakota from being competitive with leading national research universities," said Phyllis Johnson, vice president for research and economic development at the University of North Dakota. "Now we are at the table with some of the nation's best."

"Northern Tier provides the advanced computing infrastructure now required to participate in work sponsored by the National Science Foundation and helps our state attract top scientists and researchers," said Bonnie Neas, vice president for information technology at North Dakota State University.

High-performance computing provides scientific tools and enables new types of collaborations not possible just a few years ago. Examples include:
  • Four-dimensional modeling simulation to better understand tornado formation, using supercomputers located several states away. (Time is the fourth dimension.)

  • Real-time sharing of electron-microscope work with scientists thousands of miles away

  • Rapid transfer of very large data files that would take 10 days at the Internet speed available for home use compared to the Northern Tier time of one and one-half hours. Several North Dakota researchers and graduate students currently work with files of this size.

A 13-state consortium for the advancement of high-performance research and education, the Northern Tier Network enhances the economic vitality of member states. Other states participating in Northern Tier include Alaska, Colorado, Idaho, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, South Dakota, Washington, Wisconsin and Wyoming. The Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education - or WICHE - also is a member of the network.

Planning for the network began in 2003. One-time funding provided to North Dakota includes $3.25 million in federal funds, $2.77 million in state funding approved by the North Dakota Legislative Assembly, and $2.1 million from the National Science Foundation. In addition, the Northern Tier Network Consortium members of Wisconsin, Minnesota, North Dakota, Montana and Washington are partners in a $62.5 million grant to connect to Internet2. The five states will receive a considerable increase in bandwidth (the maximum currently available in the marketplace) for their Northern Tier Network segments. It is estimated that, through this multi-state partnership, North Dakota's long-term operating costs will be reduced.

NDSU and UND received a total of $1 million of the original federal funding to improve campus connections to the Northern Tier Network. Funding for North Dakota's continued participation in the Northern Tier Network is included in the North Dakota University System's 2011-13 budget request.

For information about campus-specific research conducted via the Northern Tier Network, contact Neas at 701.231.8640 or Johnson at 701.777.6737.

Bismarck State CollegeDakota College at BottineauDickinson State UniversityLake Region State CollegeMayville State UniversityMinot State UniversityNorth Dakota State College of ScienceNorth Dakota State UniversityUniversity of North DakotaValley City State UniversityWilliston State College
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