Thanks to new connections to OneNet’s research network, smaller universities such as the University of Science & Arts in Chickasha, Okla., now have access to supercomputing resources across the state, allowing for quicker computation of data and new opportunities for research initiatives.
Last fall, Science & Arts connected to the OneOklahoma Friction Free Network (OFFN) through a NSF Campus Cyberinfrastructure (CC*) grant awarded to the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education and OneNet. OFFN is a 10 and 100 Gbps research network that provides higher education institutions with a dedicated Internet route that is much faster than traditional Internet highways.
The new connection opened doors for faculty and students to access supercomputing resources at Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, which was connected to OFFN in 2019 through a previous NSF grant award.
“The OFFN connection provides opportunities for smaller institutions to access high-performance computing resources that previously were not possible, allowing for greater collaborations and scientific discovery,” said Brian Burkhart, OneNet’s senior director of network services. “The OFFN network runs parallel to OneNet’s network, and the extension of the OFFN network to the smaller institutions furthers OneNet’s mission of advancing research and education initiatives across the state.”
With the new OFFN connection, Science & Arts’ associate professor of chemistry Dr. Dany Doughan requested use of Oral Robert’s Titan supercomputer to conduct potential energy surface calculations of a multifunctional organic molecule and transfer the data at high-speed between the data transfer nodes (DTNs) on their OFFN connection. When Science & Arts reached out to university, it allowed them to pursue other advanced research projects with Titan’s high-performance computing capabilities. With the supercomputer, scientific calculations can be processed at much higher speeds, allowing researchers to accelerate their projects and find results quicker.
“OneNet’s OFFN network allows for a quick transfer of the large set of molecular configurations to Titan. The supercomputer speeds up the calculations and the OFFN connection sends them to Science & Arts,” said Doughan. “Without the OFFN connection, the data transfer between the two institutions would take a lot longer, which would impede the progress of the data analysis process.”
Doughan is leveraging his research in chemistry with the supercomputer to change certain aspects of the pharmaceutical industry processes. Prior to utilizing the supercomputer, researching the potential energy surface of a multifunctional organic molecule would be a very slow and computationally taxing process to run on a single machine. Due to the advanced computation required to successfully complete this project, Doughan put the research on hiatus for an extended time. Science & Arts’ new connection to OFFN changed that timeline.
“The ability to generate potential energy surfaces in a short period of time can change how we develop a timeline for active ingredient identification in the pharmaceutical industry, or how we decide on viable chemical reagents without having to purchase a number of candidate molecules and test them in a wet laboratory setting.” – Dr. Dany Doughan
As a division of the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education, OneNet’s mission is to advance technology across Oklahoma. OneNet serves colleges and universities, research centers and laboratories, public and private schools, libraries, tribal organizations, hospitals and clinics, non-profit organizations, and local, state, and federal governments.