Touching presentation symbolizes OARnet’s efforts  November 21, 2016

COLUMBUS, Ohio (Nov. 21, 2016)  – OARnet is well known for its connections, from POP to POP, main site to disaster recovery and everything in between. Running even deeper than the dark fiber that comprises the network are the connections forged and fostered among the people of OARnet. One of these connections is with the Bangladesh Research and Education Network (BdREN), with which OARnet has worked for several years. Interim Executive Director Paul Schopis recently accepted an honor from BdREN, recognizing the assistance that OARnet has provided in launching the country’s first network for higher education.

BdREN presents OARnet with a hand-embroidered image. 

The group presented Schopis with a framed, hand-embroidered canvas that depicts Shaheed Minar, a national monument in the country’s capital that commemorates those who died fighting to preserve the country’s mother language of Bengali. The colorful canvas is a simply stitched image, but the work that went into building it and the people that the canvas has touched symbolize something far from simple. The country’s mother language not only lives on, but it can also now be shared worldwide through the connections BdREN can offer.

“When they presented it, it was very clear to me that this meant a lot to (them), and I was really touched,” Schopis said. “People fought and died to save their language and their culture. Somebody acknowledges that something you’ve helped them with means that much to them, and it’s moving, it’s very rewarding. I thought that was pretty profound.”

The image depicts Shaheed Minar, a Bangladesh national monument.

According to the BdREN website, “BdREN with its multi-gigabit capability aims to connect all universities, research institutions, libraries, laboratories, healthcare and agricultural institutions across the country and to support geographically dispersed academics, scientists and researchers with reliable access to high-end computing, simulation tools and datasets.”

During the past few years, OARnet, along with Kent State University and Ireland’s National Research and Education Network (HEAnet), has supported the conception, funding search and construction of BdREN. Bangladesh has the world’s eighth-largest population (approximately 162 million), but is approximately the land size of Ohio. Because of this, Javed Khan, Ph.D., principal investigator for the BdREN project and professor at Kent State University, initially approached OARnet for assistance with the budget proposal. The request came shortly after OARnet finished its dark fiber expansion project.

“He asked us if we could just do some work and figure out what kind of money they should ask for,” Schopis said. “When we started looking at the maps of where they wanted to build and the cities they wanted to build the network between, where the universities were, it turns out the distances were very similar to what we had just done in Ohio.”

The World Bank granted $1.25 million to fund the project, and OARnet continued to assist with the project, providing guidance in network design and engineering. Over the past few years, BdREN staff members have traveled to Columbus to work shoulder-to-shoulder with OARnet engineers and administration to continue to improve and advance the network in Bangladesh.

Schopis said he has seen not only the BdREN staff members grow from new experiences provided through the partnership (such as witnessing their first snowfall), but also the OARnet staff.

“I think there is great, great value in us interacting with people that come from cultures that are very different from our own,” Schopis said. “I think it’s truly enriching.”


The Quilt elects OARnet’s Paul Schopis as chairman November 18, 2016

OARnet Interim Executive Director Paul Schopis was elected chairman of The Quilt’s board of directors. Schopis was elected vice chairman of the board last year and stepped up to the interim chairman position on Oct. 1. He will serve as chairman until Dec. 31, 2017.

pschopisSchopis is the first person to serve as chairman of the executive committee twice, previously serving on The Quilt’s executive committee and elected chair of board of directors in 2008.

“It’s an honor,” Schopis said, “because you’re selected by your peers because they see you as being able to carry forward the work membership identifies as important.”

Schopis was named chairman at The Quilt’s Fall Member Meeting, which also included co-located workshops and meetings with the National Science Foundation (NSF) Campus Cyberinfrastructure Primary Investigator (PI) workshop and the ESnet Site Coordinators Committee (ESCC) in Philadelphia Oct. 19-21.

Paul Schopis currently serves as the interim executive director of OARnet, as well as chief technology officer. As CTO, Schopis develops the strategy and implementation of OARnet’s optical fiber network and private cloud computing environment. Schopis led the team that designed OARnet’s network, one of the nation’s leading statewide, high-speed networks for research and education, and was involved in all phases of its creation.

Schopis previously served as senior engineer for Ohio’s Internet2 Technology Evaluation Center (ITEC-Ohio). Among his other successes, Schopis also was a founding member of the Advanced Testing and Monitoring Team, in partnership with ITEC-Ohio, ITEC-NC, Spirent, British Columbia Institute of Technology and San Diego Supercomputing Center.

Schopis holds a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and physical science from Ohio State University.

ESNet, Kinber establish new peering connection to enhance network capabilities to Pennsylvania universities November 18, 2016

Harrisburg, PA (November 18) — The Keystone Initiative for Network Based Education and Research (KINBER), a non-profit membership organization devoted to fostering collaboration through technology, and ESnet, the Department of Energy’s Energy Sciences Network, announced today the establishment of a new peering connection between KINBER’s PennREN network and the ESnet national network which leverages Internet2’s AL2S service.

The new 10 gigabit-per-second (Gbps) based peering connection will allow for greater capacity, speed and enhanced research capabilities for several PennREN connected higher education institutions across Pennsylvania, including Swarthmore College, Drexel University, Pennsylvania State University, Cheyney University of Pennsylvania, Carnegie Mellon University, University of Pittsburgh, and Lehigh University.

Research applications that will benefit from this new enhanced connection include those in areas such as exascale computing; machine learning algorithms for matching theories, simulations and observations in cosmology; chemical imaging and other advanced Dept. of Energy (DOE) funded basic research in physical science. Total funding from DOE Office of Science for research in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania was nearly $37.5M in the last reported year (FY2015) according to DOE [taken from data available at].

“As a result of this new peering connection between PennREN and ESnet, KINBER continues to provide added value to its members in the research and education sectors by providing significantly enhanced access to the resources and infrastructure available through ESnet,” said Wendy Huntoon, KINBER president and CEO.

KINBER and ESnet also partner on the WINS (Women in IT Networking at SC) initiative. Funded through a grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) and directly from ESnet, the program funds early to mid-career women in the research and education (R&E) network community to participate in the setup, build out and live operation of SCinet, the Supercomputing Conference’s (SC) ultra high performance network. SCinet supports large-scale computing demonstrations at SC, the premier international conference on high performance computing, networking, data storage and data analysis and is attended by over 10,000 of the leading minds in these fields.

“ESnet is pleased to continue our partnership with KINBER through this new peering connection,” said ESnet Director Inder Monga. “This next step will offer added collaboration and research opportunities of value to both organizations.”

ESnet And KINBER Establish New Peering Connection To Provide Enhanced Network Capabilities To PA Universities