Trinity College Dublin: Trinity testbed connects with Manhattan in transatlantic telecoms research partnership

The OpenIreland telecoms testbed at the CONNECT Centre in Trinity and COSMOS in New York City are to connect physically as part of a new transatlantic research partnership.

Researchers will use data from the testbeds to develop machine learning algorithms capable of predicting physical layer network behaviour. These algorithms have the potential to provide more reliable and sustainable internet networks.

Investigators at CONNECT – the Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) Research Centre for Future Networks and Communications in Trinity College Dublin, led by Professors Marco Ruffini and Dan Kilper – will partner with Professor Gil Zussman at Columbia University and Ivan Seskar in Rutgers University, to interconnect the two city testbeds creating a cross-Atlantic, international research environment.

The partnership is funded by NGI Atlantic, which supports EU-based researchers working with US research teams in carrying out next-generation Internet experiments. NGI Atlantic is coordinated by Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) and supported within the EU’s Horizon 2020 NGI initiative.

The two testbeds will be connected physically through national research networks such as the HEAnet in Ireland, FABRIC in the USA, and the pan-European GÉANT network.

Prof. Marco Ruffini
Professor Marco Ruffini, leader of the OpenIreland testbed at the CONNECT Centre in Trinity, said:

This is the first time that two advanced networking testbeds, based on open technology, are connected in this way for use by academics and industry partners anywhere in the world. A control system will also be designed to allow researchers to conduct experiments on both testbeds. These testbeds are powerful as they allow us to move from simulated experiments to real life, city-wide environments.

The partnership will enable experimentation on intelligent networking, new smart city applications and, more importantly, on their integration, bridging the gap between early stage ideas and practical applicability. The initiative will allow researchers at the CONNECT Centre in Trinity College Dublin to access the COSMOS testbed in Manhattan and use its unique features such as ultra-high bandwidth and low latency communication and edge computing, distributed across the city. Similarly, researchers in the US will be able to access our open networking facility in Dublin, which provides an end-to-end real-world network with optical, wireless and computing capabilities.

We also look forward to working with many partners. For instance, we are already collaborating with Prof. Massimo Tornatore at Politecnico di Milano in Italy to test machine learning algorithms to predict network performance, using real data from the testbed.

Professor Dan Kilper, Director of CONNECT, said:

This NGI Atlantic project will create a unique, world-class smart-city research environment joining Dublin and New York City through the OpenIreland and COSMOS testbeds. In the best tradition of these two great cities, the testbeds push the frontiers of technology while engaging the public to find equitable smart city innovations that use technology for public good.

James Clarke, WIT, coordinator of NGI Atlantic, congratulated the project team. He said:

The Integrating OpenIreland and COSMOS testbeds for delivering a cross-Atlantic Open Networking Solution project was selected in our second open call amongst fierce competition because it exemplifies the kind of project envisaged in the NGI initiatives’ EU-US collaboration on NGI programme for twinning EU–US teams to run experiments on emerging NGI topics on top of EU-US experimental platforms.

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