ProNet: Americas Lightpaths: Increasing the Rate of Discovery and Enhancing Education across the Americas

The project team intends Americas Lightpaths (AmLight) to enable research and education amongst the people of the Americas through the operation of production infrastructure for communication and collaboration between the US and Western Hemisphere science and engineering research and education communities. Four links are proposed to tie together the major research networks of five of the larger countries in the Americas: Brazil, Canada, Chile, Mexico, and the United States. In addition, this work will enable interconnects between the United States and the Latin American regional network of RedCLARA, which enables connectivity to 18 Latin American national research and education networks.

The effort is fundamentally collaborative, including AURA, ANSP, RNP, CENIC, AtlanticWave, PacificWave, ANSP, CUDI, RedCLARA, and REUNA. Through AtlanticWave and PacificWave, there will be production connectivity and peering to North American backbone networks Internet2, National Lambda Rail (NLR), ESnet, and CANARIE. Through RedCLARA, there will be production connectivity to thirteen national research and education networks with plans to expand to eighteen NRENs during the life of the project.

AmLight will enhance global e-Science collaborations through distributed production peering fabrics, as well as any research and education networks present or future that connects to AtlanticWave or PacificWave. AmLight is a network architecture designed to support the needs of U.S.-Western Hemisphere research and education communities in a manner that supports the evolving nature of discovery and scholarship. The capacity and designs are based on collaborative funding over the five-year project plan and are expected to evolve and continue to match the needs of the community.

Over 40 collaborations that include participants from the Americas are funded directly by NSF and encompass disciplines including physics, environmental science, oceanography, climate change, astronomy, and others. AmLight will serve as the foundational infrastructure to support these collaborations.

Intellectual Merit

AmLight is an approach to solve the problem of interconnecting not just the advanced networks, but the core communities and needs behind them in the Western Hemisphere. Today?s research is being adversely impacted by the lack of networking capacity to and from South America. AmLight provides the structure and resources to empower researchers and educators. These successes present themselves qualitatively in the creation of geographically distributed research groups using the network, working groups formed through common interests developed on the network, and publications made possible through the network.

Broader Impact

As the network ties together more instruments and research groups at higher speeds, the result will be an increase in the rate of gathering, processing, and sharing data. This will produce an increase in the rate of discovery. The possible impact of this award touches on many areas of collaborative science and engineering. From biodiversity research that will identify specimens faster, to collaborative biomedical engineering that will discover drug treatments more quickly, to nuclear physicists. Scholarship in the Americas will improve through new opportunities for collaborative teaching, technology-augmented student mobility, and infrastructure for inquiry-based learning. The AmLight project will allow U.S. classrooms to share a window to classrooms throughout the Western Hemisphere.

The NSF designates Hispanic Americans as a disadvantaged community. This infrastructure gives Hispanic Americans a new and unique advantage – the opportunity to leverage cultural and language commonalities with collaborators in Latin America to advance their pursuit of research and education in the US. This award will offer an advantage to not only the Hispanic populations throughout the US but will cement collaborative relationships throughout the Americas.

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