uOttawa network upgrade helps bolster cutting-edge research

Posted on Wednesday, June 2, 2021

A multitude of light beams.

Professor Melike Erol-Kantarci and her team are not only exploring future consumer needs, such as self-driving cars, immersive experiences, and smart factories, but also developing the next generation of wireless communications to meet consumer demand. As the Canada Research Chair in AI-enabled Next-Generation Wireless Networks, Professor Erol-Kantarci is exploring technologies that incorporate artificial intelligence, and she needs serious computing power to do so.

Like many other uOttawa researchers, the foundation of her work is a collection of complex algorithms. Her research depends on large-scale computations to process elaborate calculations, simulations, and data visualizations — work that demands the highest levels of computing performance and the most up-to-date network technology.

The announcement of an ORION Point of Presence (PoP) at uOttawa’s Data Centre is an exciting prospect for Professor Erol-Kantarci and other researchers like her. For the University, it’s an important step in delivering a more robust and reliable infrastructure that supports innovation and discovery.

PoPs are interconnection points for networks. They are the backbone of the internet. The relocation of ORION’s Ottawa PoP to the University of Ottawa will improve network resilience to better support researchers, professors, students, and innovators in the Ottawa region.

“These changes will help drive uOttawa’s research into the future,” explains Vice-President, Research Sylvain Charbonneau. “The new partnerships will provide the infrastructure our world-class researchers need to foster innovation with impact.”

It delivers ultra-high-speed connectivity along the Toronto-Kingston-Ottawa-Montreal corridor. It also enables research projects such as the ENCQOR 5G (Evolution of Network Services Through a Corridor in Quebec and Ontario for Research and Innovation) program and enhances the stability of services that are essential, particularly during a global pandemic.

Melike Erol-Kantarci

Professor Melike Erol-Kantarci is the Canada Research Chair in AI-enabled Next-Generation Wireless Networks.

“Increased transmission rates and reliability always have a positive impact on research, especially when we talk about the speeds of 5G and 6G applications,” Erol-Kantarci explains. “Most of the techniques I look at are bleeding-edge and in very early stages of development. My team has to prove functionality through complex and intensive simulations that involve very large data sets. Having our infrastructure directly connected to the ORION pipeline will have many positive consequences and will allow us to better use research tools.”

“This partnership is an opportunity to work with experts across the province and Canada. Together, we can bolster the technology that allows us to deliver a highly connected and collaborative environment for learning, teaching, and research,” says Martin Payette, who is uOttawa’s senior director of IT infrastructure and operation. “We will be able to deliver new services through an integrated research infrastructure. These will be key to supporting research and the discoveries of tomorrow.”

The University will also support the National Research and Education Network (NREN), a collective of infrastructure, tools, and people that reinforce Canada’s leadership in research, education, and innovation.The partnership will extend network reach and availability, increase capacity, and strengthen infrastructure resiliency to enable data-intensive collaboration and learning.

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