Discovery in the Fast Lane: Florida State University to Speed up Research Efforts Through New Federal Grant

Wednesday 12/19/2012

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Florida State University researchers are going to be able to put the pedal to the metal on their research efforts thanks to a new National Science Foundation (NSF) grant that will create a dedicated, high-speed pipeline for the transmission of large amounts of data.

Stemming from the President's Big Data Research and Development Initiative, the two-year, $230K grant will significantly speed up data transmission rates among Florida State University researchers and their collaborators through the creation of the exclusive research data called the Nolenet Express-lane.

“As a leading research institution, we have a lot of work happening on our campuses that involves huge amounts of data that need to be shared both inside and outside the university,” said Jim Wilgenbusch, Director of Florida State’s High Performance Computing Facility. “Currently, the ability to share that data competes with other technology priorities which can slow down the research process. NoleNet Express-lane will help us bypass those types of issues and speed up many of our research efforts.”

Although NoleNet Express-lane is likely to have the biggest impact on Florida State University’s Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) programs due to the large volumes of data involved in these areas of research, the overall improvements it will create will be realized at both the local and national levels. 

“Think of the existing network infrastructures of most universities as traditional two-lane country roads, where traffic flows smoothly but can slow down a little if a large semi-truck is out in front,” said Michael Barrett, Florida State’s Chief Information Officer and principal investigator on the grant. “NoleNet Express-lane will effectively transform our country road into a super-highway of activity, with a dedicated express lane for those large semi-trucks full of data.”

The NoleNet Express-lane will also serve as a means of connecting Florida State University research partners to Florida’s high-speed network — the Florida LambdaRail — and ultimately to national high-speed networks such as Internet2, which will decrease the time it takes for many ongoing and future research projects to reach their discovery phases.

“This express-lane will open the door for a whole host of new research opportunities at the university, such as the work being done on our advanced FEI Titan Krios cryo-electron microscope,” said Wilgenbusch. “This unique piece of equipment produces TeraBytes of information on the activity happening inside of living cells, and NoleNet Express-lane will let us share that data with researchers all over the world to further our understanding of biological pathways in diseases such as cancer.”

To learn more about the grant, visit the NSF grant website or contact Tom Butler of University Communications at (850) 644-8634 or