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Press Release for Thursday, October 20, 2016

UNF Acquires Cutting-Edge GENI Rack Computing Resource

Media Contact: Joanna Norris, Director
Department of Public Relations
(904) 620-2102

 The University of North Florida has added a cutting-edge computing resource to its campus network that will put UNF faculty research on the map globally.

Facilitated by grants from the National Science Foundation and Cisco Corporation, UNF has acquired and activated a GENI (Global Environment for Network Innovations) rack, which is linked to similar racks, a group of physical servers, at leading universities in the United States and internationally.

The racks act collectively to provide a virtual laboratory for networking and distributed systems research and education and is well suited for exploring networks at scale, promoting innovations in network science, security, services and applications. With the installation of GENI, UNF joins a select group of leading research universities nationally.

The University of Florida and Florida International University are the only other GENI universities in Florida.

“GENI represents a huge step forward for research at UNF,” said Reginald Brinson, Chief Information Officer at UNF. “Our researchers are busy developing new research proposals to fully take advantage of this very high-power research tool. This puts UNF and Jacksonville on the map for research globally.”

GENI allows researchers to utilize geographically distributed computing resources by linking them via advanced networks. For UNF, this means the ability to apply local resources in combination with those at other distributed GENI sites to create more powerful research platforms. University researchers will enjoy the ability to create distinctive network topologies necessary to the completion of specific research projects.

With GENI’s virtual network environment, specialized software and custom operating systems can be employed and traffic flows can be specially tailored for the needs of the research project. GENI’s tools grant network researchers a set of specialized tools that result in better, faster and more impactful research.

UNF faculty are excited about the potential of utilizing GENI in research as diverse as network communications to analyzing cloud computing traffic flows.

“The acquisition of the GENI rack will help with my big data and cybersecurity research projects. Digital health is another research area of particular interest to the School of Computing faculty,” said Dr. Sherif Elfayoumy, director of the School of Computing at UNF. “The GENI rack will provide us with the high-performance computing power as well as a secure and very large network bandwidth our projects need.”

The UNF GENI rack is connected to a complex networking switch. This switch provides a 10 Gbps connection from UNF to other GENI racks across the country, which creates a geographically distributed computing environment. When combined via high-speed research networks, such as Florida LambdaRail, the nation’s GENI racks form a vast virtual computing environment that enables discovery on a massive scale.

By utilizing the 100 Gigabit FLR research and education network, the GENI assets at UNF and across the state can be utilized by network researchers throughout Florida and across the country. “The tools inherent in GENI will allow Florida’s researchers to work collaboratively with colleagues across the nation and globally on next generation network technologies,” said FLR CEO Joseph Lazor. “We’re pleased to be able to empower UNF as they innovate, explore and discover the new processes that will power our state into the future.”

Florida LambdaRail is Florida’s Research and Education Network. With its 100 Gbps 1,540-mile, dark-fiber network, FLR provides a cost effective, ultra-high speed, interconnected, broadband service delivery network that enables Florida’s higher education institutions and partners to collaborate, connect, utilize and develop new innovative broadband applications and services in support of their scientific research, education and 21st century economy initiatives.

UNF, a nationally ranked university located on an environmentally beautiful campus, offers students who are dedicated to enriching the lives of others the opportunity to build their own futures through a well-rounded education.