UT's global science Internet extends link to Egypt

May 8th, 2012
Egypt is now linked into a high-speed internet housed at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, that allows scientists, students and educators worldwide to collaborate to solve some of the world's biggest problems.

Slowed by the country's revolution, it took more than two years to complete the link, which is part of the Global Ring Network for Advanced Applications Development, or GLORIAD—a fiber-optic science network that circles the world.

"This internet is vastly more powerful than the one we use at our homes and offices and dedicated to support research, education and medical science," said Greg Cole, principal investigator of GLORIAD. "Connecting Egypt allows Egyptian scientists and students vastly increased speed of data transfer with thousands of universities and science facilities across the U.S., Europe, Asia and the rest of the world. And it allows the world access to Egyptian scientists' knowledge."

At more than a billion bits per second, Egyptian scientists can participate in the world's most advanced research programs such as high-energy physics, astronomy, remote sensing, weather and climate by connecting universities, research facilities and schools throughout the U.S. with their peer institutions across Egypt.

"This network infrastructure opens a new era enabling scientific cooperation, which includes physicists working on experiments at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) located near Geneva, Switzerland, exploring the nature of matter and spacetime at the highest energies, notably the group at Academy of Scientific Research and Technology in Cairo," said Harvey Newman, professor of physics at CalTech and chair of the US LHC Users Organization. "Together we are looking forward to a new round of discoveries this year."

The network makes a reality of President Barack Obama's promise in 2009 at Cairo University when he spoke about "creating a new online network, so a young person in Kansas can communicate instantly with a young person in Cairo."

Through the new link, GLORIAD hosted the first ever school-to-school exchange over the new network, involving the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) Academy High School and a technology magnet elementary school in Knoxville and GLORIAD's partners in Cairo.

GLORIAD grew out of the end of the Cold War, linking the U.S. with Russia in 1998. It later connected China, Korea, Canada, the Netherlands, the five Nordic countries and Singapore. GLORIAD is constantly expanding—including the first direct India-U.S. science connection, a new exchange with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations countries, a new connection with the Gulf States and a science infrastructure across the continent of Africa.

GLORIAD's primary sponsor in the U.S. is the National Science Foundation with recent added support by USAID for African activities. The Egyptian Ministry of Scientific Research is the primary sponsor in Egypt. Tata Communications has been a key, enabling partner and Telecom Egypt/TEData actively supports the project.

More information:
To learn more about the GLORIAD US-Egypt program, visit: www.gloriad.org/gloriaddrupal/?q=node/478

Provided by University of Tennessee at Knoxville

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