FIU and ESnet receive NSF grant for high-speed data transfer research project

April 23, 2021

By Lourdes Perez

Florida International University (FIU) and Energy Science Network (ESnet) have been awarded a two-year, $760,000 National Science Foundation (NSF) Office of Advanced Cyberinfrastructure research grant for Q-Factor, a framework that enables high-speed data transfer optimization.

Q-Factor, a concept developed by FIU and ESnet, will help automate the data transfer speed between computers at end points. The technology, for example, will help increase the speed with which an office computer (one end point) receives a large data file from a web server (another end point). This optimization will allow for smoother data transfer across a high-speed network.

As the trend towards data-intensive research continues, scientists and university IT experts are investing significant resources to facilitate the efficient movement of large amounts of data from computers that are far apart from each other. Because many university campus networks are not currently configured to support the data movement requirements of data-heavy science, campus researchers require new tools to address poor network performance.

To help address this problem, FIU and ESnet are planning to research, prototype, and deploy the new Q-Factor technology. Q-Factor will enhance inter-campus data transfers performed over regional, national, and international networks without requiring changes to end-user applications, like work computers and laptops.

Science applications, such as the Vera Rubin Observatory, the Open Science Grid, the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) high luminosity experiments, and big data science drivers will benefit from the increased bandwidth utilization provided by Q-Factor.

“The cost of achieving effective end-to-end performance is high for network operators, because of the lack of real-time network state information. Q-Factor is an exciting research opportunity for FIU and ESnet to create knowledge that will benefit domain scientists and their network-dependent applications,” said Julio Ibarra, Q-Factor co-principal investigator and assistant vice president of technology augmented research at FIU.

“At ESnet, we are excited to partner with FIU to further advance our network’s capabilities, increase the performance of scientific data transfers and unleash the potential in programmable data plane telemetry,” said Richard Cziva, Q-Factor co-principal investigator and software engineer at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

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