The National Institute for Computational Sciences

The UT Network Infrastructure to Upgrade to 100G

KNOXVILLE/OAK RIDGE, Tenn., Sept. 17, 2013—The University of Tennessee–Oak Ridge National Laboratory Joint Institute for Computational Sciences—and UT’s Office of Information Technology—have announced final plans to upgrade the bandwidth of UT’s wide area network for research and education to 100 gigabit per second (100G) capability by July 2014.

The upgrade project is titled Bandwidth for Leadership in Advancing Science and Technology (BLAST) and will provide a bandwidth increase of ten times over existing network capabilities, positioning UT as an early university adopter of 100G technology. The upgrade will also significantly improve a wide range of Big Data and other science data flows for the university and for national science and engineering research communities supported by OIT and JICS. The BLAST project is supported by the University of Tennessee, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and the National Science Foundation.

“BLAST puts UT in a leading group of universities connected at 100G. We are very excited about deploying this capability for UT and the national research and education community who use the UT network for their academic, scientific, and collaborative research,” said Victor Hazlewood, chief operating officer at JICS and NSF BLAST award principal investigator. “Once this capability is fully operational, it should significantly improve performance of data transfers and workflows and could significantly improve time to scientific discovery for researchers who use UT data and computational resources.”

OIT also expressed excitement concerning the upgrade. “OIT is committed to furthering and supporting UT’s research computing efforts and the BLAST project demonstrates a strong collaboration between UT research computing, JICS, and OIT. This collaboration has assembled a great team and we expect to complete this upgrade by next July,” said Larry Jennings, assistant director of OIT’s Communication Group and BLAST co-principal investigator.

BLAST will leverage UT’s partnership with ORNL for the upgrade and use ORNL’s 100G fiber-optic network for the circuits between Atlanta, Oak Ridge, and Knoxville. The BLAST project will upgrade equipment, circuits, and Internet service for UT and the JICS high-performance computing resources located at the ORNL campus. Southern Crossroads, which provides high-speed global connectivity to major research networks in the southeastern U.S. research and education community, will be providing the 100G service to connect BLAST to the national network operated by Internet2.


Scott Gibson
Media Relations
The Joint Institute for Computational Sciences

Whitney Heins
Media and Internal Relations
The University of Tennessee, Knoxville