SAUDI ARABIA

Connecting KAUST at the speed of science

January 23, 2021
KAUST launches new 400 Gbps international connectivity to major research and education network hubs in Europe and East Asia.
KAUST launches new 400 Gbps international connectivity to major research and education network hubs in Europe and East Asia.

JEDDAH — King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) has launched new 400 Gbps international connectivity upgrading from the previous 10 Gbps connection speed to help KAUST researchers collaborate with their international peers at super-fast speeds.

“Global collaboration for the advancement of scientific research is a key element in what we do and stand for at KAUST,” said Professor Tony Chan, president of KAUST.

“Upgrading the speed of connectivity and empowering our infrastructure will enhance our capabilities to continue to deliver world-class research in collaboration with our partners across the globe.”

The new capacity, comprising 200 Gbps from KAUST to Amsterdam and 200 Gbps to Singapore connects KAUST to major research and education network hubs in Europe and East Asia.

The new connections provide our researchers with fast, efficient data transmission and reliable access to scientific resources and cloud service providers anywhere on the planet.

According to KAUST CIO Jason Roos, “This new capability will transform the scientific landscape for KAUST by providing a technological ecosystem that will truly enable researchers to easily collaborate with peers located at any the top tier research institutes across the globe.”

Moreover, the new links will enable high-performance science applications, including high-volume bulk data transfer, remote experiment control and data visualization.

With this capability, a KAUST researcher will be able to collaborate with peers anywhere on earth without geographical limitations.

An unprecedented speed

While multiple 100 Gbps links for research and education institutions are common in most other parts of the world, the high-speed connections at KAUST are unprecedented in the Middle East.

Leveraging this capacity, KAUST researchers will be able to overcome bandwidth limitations that had previously throttled and frustrated collaborative discovery by unleashing the full potential of KAUST’s state-of-the-art, data processing resources, such as the supercomputer Shaheen II.

With previous connectivity limitations, some researchers resorted to sending datasets on hard disks in the mail. Before the upgrade, it could take more than 24 hours to transfer a 100 Terabyte data set. With the new 400 Gbps bandwidth capacity, this would take only 37 minutes.

For example, all nine Blu-ray disks of “Star Wars: The Complete Saga” could transfer from KAUST to a university in California in approximately 10 seconds.

National and global collaboration

Mobily, the Saudi telecommunications services company, supplies four 100 Gbps dedicated circuits to KAUST as part of a long-term contract. It owns an optical fiber optic network in the Kingdom as well as submarine optical fiber network cables, which KAUST is using to get to Amsterdam and Singapore.

This arrangement has enabled KAUST to build direct connections into the SURF and NORDUnet research and education networks in Europe as well as the SingAREN network in Singapore.

These interconnects provide KAUST researchers with fast and reliable access to resources in Europe and Asia as well as the US.

The upgrade will transform the scientific landscape for KAUST researchers by providing a technological ecosystem that will enable them to easily collaborate with peers located at any of the top tier research institutes across the globe. — SG


January 23, 2021
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