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How A*STAR is enhancing the research ecosystem in Singapore: ExaNet

How A*STAR is enhancing the research ecosystem in Singapore: ExaNet

This is the last part of a series on how the Agency for
Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) is constantly working to support
researchers in Singapore and enhance the research ecosystem.

Click here to
read the first instalment on the Federated Identity Management System or
FIMs, here for
the second part on the electronic Chemicals, Biomaterials, Gases Management
System, here for
the third part on the RIE2020 portal and Future InfoComm System Team
applications and here for Storage
on Demand
.

Scientific research today generates enormous volumes of data.
That data needs to be shared to enable collaboration between researchers and develop
scientific knowledge.

A*STAR’s ExaNet is a high-performance network that segregates
research traffic from corporate traffic. This system was earlier called as Next
Generation Research Network (NGRN). It provides a dedicated super-highway for
researchers to collaborate both within A*STAR and with external partners such
as NTU, NUS, SingAREN, NSCC and overseas research institutions.

An immediate benefit of ExaNet is that it takes less time to transfer
large datasets for collaboration purposes. Time spent in transferring files over network
has been greatly reduced by up to 90% (network speed upgraded from 1Gbps to
10Gbps), thereby improving user experience.

In
addition, there is a reduction of the
data transmission errors significantly for studies conducted at the Genome Institute
of Singpore (GIS) and A*STAR Computational Resource Centre (ACRC) using
Infiniband (a
computer-networking communications protocol, with very high throughput and very
low latency used in high performance computing or HPC).

This high-speed network greatly assisted researchers of a genome study,
the GenomeAsia 100K project, by using ACRC, National Supercomputing Centre
(NSCC) and SingAREN [1] facilities.

The
GenomeAsia 100K project is a non-profit consortium collaborating to
sequence and analyse 100,000 Asian individuals genomes, in order to help
accelerate Asian population specific medical advances and precision medicine.
Under the project, large volumes
of genomic data were transferred from U.S.A. to Singapore via the resilient
international links and high-speed fiber network.

ExaNet also enhanced research support through collaboration between A*STAR’s
BII (Bioinformatics Institute), IMCB (Institute of Molecular and Cell
Biology), NUS (National University of Singapore) and other global
institutions.  Furthermore, it assisted
in satellite program associated Geospatial imaging studies conducted at
NTU. 

As seen from the above examples, ExaNet allows researchers to be more
efficient and helps them collaborate within A*STAR, as well as with external
partners such as NTU, NUS, SingAREN, NSCC and overseas research institutions.
Thus, this high-speed network assists the staff to improve their overall
productivity.

This helps Singapore to attract more research talent leading to better
research outcomes in Singapore. This setup has increased the collaboration
among the various institutes by enhancing research collaboration between A*STAR
research institutes and external Institutes of Higher Learning in Singapore and
around the world.

[1] SingAREN is the sole provider of
local and international networks dedicated for serving the Research and
Education community in Singapore. SingAREN’s members consist of the
Institutions of Higher Learning (IHLs), Research Organizations, Government and
network industry players.

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