Scientists working with supercomputers (or machines like the Large Hadron Collider) are generating vast amounts of data. Trying to pass around terabytes of numbers using Dropbox can get a little slow, so researchers on the West Coast are getting their own private fibre-optic network, dubbed the Pacific Research Platform.
The network will link a few West Coast labs and supercomputers together, as part of a 5-year, $5 million grant. Speeds should run at 100Gbps, which my basic back-of-the-envelope math puts at 100 times faster than Google Fiber’s 1Gbps, and so much better than my 20Mbps home internet that I don’t really want to think about it.
It will also provide built-in security — the dedicated network will allow an ‘air gap’ between the scientific computers and the Wild West of the internet, hopefully foiling any hacking attempts.
Most of all, it’s a return to the initial purpose of the Internet, built originally as a platform for sharing research, and now turned into a giant machine for trolling and cat GIFs.