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  • Thematic communities

GARR, To Know Us, Communities, Scientific Research

The research community represents the heart and the initial core of GARR users. Of the many souls that compose it, the research is the one that most often manifests complex requirements, both in terms of bandwidth demand and advanced services and pushes GARR to develop innovative solutions and experiment with emerging technologies to meet these needs, both from the experiments of Big Science, both in support of the so-called "long tail of science": the goal? Provide all the researchers with state-of-the-art services, regardless of where they work on the national territory and with which countries they should collaborate..

It is no coincidence that the founding members of GARR are three of the major Italian research organizations (CNR, INFN and ENEA) and the universities, which also have a not less important research aim in addition to the training mission. To these, over the years, INAF, ASI, INGV, CREA and a large number of other research institutions have been added.

Customized design and support for user communities

The research support activity carried out by the GARR network, in addition to the predefined solutions and services offer, includes customized design and support interventions in response to particular requirements by an experiment, community or project. These are bespoke solutions created in close collaboration with the technical staff of the bodies involved and which are often experimental, ie not yet available on the market. The areas of intervention concern all the disciplines of research and culture. For some of them separate infrastructures have been built.




  • Particle physics

    Particle physics

    GARR is involved in the construction and operation of the LHCONE and LHCOPN private networks to support the experiments of the LHC particle accelerator at CERN. Given the very high production of LHC data, their analysis is carried out in a distributed way in the data centers of level 1 and 2 (Tier 1 and Tier 2), as well as CERN (Tier0). For this reason it is important to have a robust and capable multi-service network to support data transfer. Data Centre Interconnection have been ongoing for over 5 years, which have enabled us to extend the functions of data centers on a geographical scale (for example, with the interconnection of the INFN offices in Rome and Naples in a single distributed Tier2) and to improve progressively performance.

    Other activities supporting this community concern:

    • the transfer, through one of the transatlantic links between the PoP of GÉANT in Geneva and the Starlight of Chicago, of the 5 petabytes of data collected by the CDF experiment from the Fermilab of Chicago at the INFN-CNAF for data preservation purposes.
    • The support offered to the Italian participation in the Belle II experiment in improving the model of data distribution to North America, Europe and Japan. Belle II is an ambitious experiment by Flavour Physics, which intends to study the interactions between the various quark families. When fully operational, it is estimated that it will produce 25 terabytes of data a day, which will have to be distributed in the data centers of 4 continents for processing: hence the requirement for an efficient network capable of sustaining these rhythms.
  • Radio Astronomy

    Radio Astronomy

    The high-capacity optical fiber connection of the radiotelescopes of Medicina (BO), Noto (SR) and of Sardinia Radio Telescope (CA), allows the National Institute of Astrophysics (INAF) to participate in the e-VLBI observation sessions in time real. e-VLBI is a technique for correlating in real time the data acquired from interferometric observations of celestial sources made by different radio telescopes. This allows to increase the definition of the observed phenomena, succeeding in obtaining a definition equal to that which could obtain a parabola with a diameter equal to the distance between the radio telescopes involved. The network is of fundamental importance in this technique because it allows the synchronization of observations and the correction in real time of any errors, a crucial fact to not lose any information if you are observing an unrepeatable event such as astronomical ones.

    Radio telescopes can also be used for other types of research, for example geodynamic observations and monitoring and to communicate with interplanetary probes, including Rosetta in 2015 and, more recently, Cassini.

  • Metrology

    Metrology

    GARR has offered dedicated support to a project that involves sending an optical time reference signal from the National Institute of Metrological Research (INRIM) in Turin to the European Laboratory for Non-Linear Spectroscopy (LENS) in Florence. In Turin, a DWDM layer was also created on a metropolitan fiber loop (47 km) for the transport of data traffic and an optical time reference signal. The ring creates a Sagnac fiber gyroscope that can be used to analyze changes in Earth's rotation and is sensitive enough to allow the measurement of earthquakes.

    A new end-to-end link was also dedicated to the development of the telecontrol and diagnostic structure of the equipment involved in the European project NEAT-FT (Network for European Accurate Time and Frequency Transfer), which uses optical networks for research metrology and the development of new techniques for the comparison of remote optical clocks. The connection allows the LENS Metrology Laboratory to report its frequency standards to the International Measurement System unit.

    In addition, GARR and INRIM are collaborating on an experimentation for the realization of time-as-a-service, a service that will use the optical fiber for the transmission of the high-precision time signal.

  • Research infrastructures of European interest

    Research infrastructures of European interest

    GARR provides technological support and advanced tools for the activities related to some of the main research infrastructures recognized in the ESFRI roadmap. Among these are highly relevant those Italian coordination as EPOS (European Plate Observing System), coordinated by the INGV, which aims to create a technological platform for the study of earthquakes, volcanoes and tidal waves; and EMSO, also coordinated by INGV with the aim of creating an infrastructure consisting of a network of marine observatories for the monitoring and study of the various types of processes that take place in the ocean depths (geophysics, oceanography, biology). Another project for which the digital infrastructure made available by GARR has a fundamental role is Km3Net, a project coordinated by INFN to create a telescope for high-energy cosmic neutrinos, which aims to identify the astrophysical sources of cosmic rays and 'antimatter. The only infrastructure of its kind in Europe will become the most complex underwater laboratory in the world and will be open to the communities of researchers who study the Sciences of the Sea and the Earth. GARR participates in the activities of the Italian node of the ELIXIR project, the European bioinformatics infrastructure. Other research infrastructures that see an important Italian participation are SKA, CTA, EuroBioImaging, BBMRI, Lifewatch, EMBRC, MIRRI, E-RIHS, DARIAH, CLARIN. They cover disparate subject areas, from astronomy, to biology, through linguistics.

GARR, To Know Us, Communities, University

A widespread network and advanced services for research and teaching for the universities in Italy

GARR provides ultra-broadband connectivity and advanced services to many universities and colleges, promoting multidisciplinary research and international collaboration through the GÉANT network.

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GARR, To Know Us, Communities, Cultural Heritage

A LONG-TERM COLLABORATION

GARR has always supported the world of cultural heritage in the main research and study activities, protection and enhancement of cultural heritage.

Within this community there are:

  • libraries;
  • state archives;
  • museums;
  • superintendents;
  • fine arts academies;
  • central institutes of the Ministry for Cultural and Environmental Heritage (MiBACT);
  • cultural institutions of international importance.

And there are many excellences including the Colosseum and the Uffizi Gallery.

WHEN INNOVATION MEETS CULTURE

The offices of these institutions communicate with the vast multidisciplinary community of universities and research and collaborate locally, nationally and internationally, through interconnection with other research and education networks.

The main applications used on the network are the sharing and transmission of large amounts of data between institutions throughout the country that collect, store and process digitized goods such as books, paintings, archaeological finds and artifacts.

The use of web applications also allows individual institutions to promote their activities more effectively on the protection and use of cultural heritage, with particular reference to information and training activities.

The IDEM federated identity service is particularly relevant for the shared management of access to online resources, guaranteeing privacy and security and a deeply felt need by the library community, providing access to services for users of different types and with different affiliations. From videoconferencing to e-learning platforms, from libraries to high-performance computing portals, many resources are unifiedly accessible to members of the federation and its users.

SOME CASES OF SUCCESS

The collaboration between GARR and this vast community responds to the objective of using ICT technologies to serve the conservation, study and enhancement of the extraordinary cultural heritage of our Country. A concrete example is the SITAR territorial system (the georeferenced web "cadastre" that collects the archaeological information related to the metropolitan area of ​​Rome), entirely realized by the Special Superintendency for the Colosseum, the National Roman Museum and the Rome archaeological area in collaboration with GARR. Here, in addition to the organization of the dedicated network infrastructure and the fiber optic connection, GARR provided the IDEM federated identity service and the pre-configured IdP service.

Still in the archaeological field, we recall the fiber optic linking of historical heritage assets such as the Colosseum, the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill and of the National Roman Museum (Crypta Balbi, Palazzo Altemps, Palazzo Massimo, Diocletian Baths) and, recently, the Superintendency of Pompei.

Another example of the collaboration between GARR and the community dates back to the 80s: the National Library System (SBN), the Italian library network promoted by MiBACT with the cooperation of the regions and universities, and coordinated by the Central Institute for single catalog of Italian libraries and for bibliographic information (ICCU).
The possibility of collaborating with a multidisciplinary community can create favorable synergies, such as adopting innovative and advantageous solutions for the deposit of digital resources. In addition, institutions connected to the research networks will be brought to publish data with the same standards, making digital resources interoperable and facilitating user navigation.

INTERNATIONAL MULTIDISCIPLINARY RESEARCH

The primary objective of GARR is to provide industry specialists with a highly capable, reliable and flexible network infrastructure and services, thanks to which it can permanently guarantee multidisciplinary scientific collaboration at national and international level as in some ESFRI roadmap projects (DARIAH, CLARIN) and in other relevant initiatives such as ARIADNE, EUROPEANA.

In these projects, GARR is particularly involved, as a technology partner, in DARIAH, a widespread infrastructure that aims to create a network of people, information, strategies, tools and methodologies to support researchers working for the digital use of heritage cultural. For this type of infrastructure, the connection to GARR is a resource for handling huge data streams in a reliable and secure way, archiving and storing data (but also making it easy to use by different types of users) and perform simulations that require high computing capacity. Moreover, membership in IDEM represents a guarantee in terms of security and privacy of users, nationally and internationally.

Recently, GARR has signed the network agreement for the participation in the training project entitled "Scuola a rete" in Digital Cultural Heritage, Arts and Humanities (DiCultHER), aimed at creating a virtual school (widespread campus) for the acquisition of skills in the digital sector applied to cultural heritage, art and the human sciences. The project, coordinated by the Association of Italian Cultural Institutions (AICI), sees the adhesion of 60 Italian cultural organizations, including university departments, some CNR Institutes, the BAICR Consortium, ITS Foundations (Technical Institutes), Academies, Museums , Higher Institutes for the Artistic Industries (ISIA), the Italian node of the DARIAH research infrastructure and the General States of Innovation. One of the best known initiatives of this human network is the Week of Digital Cultures, which has a wide resonance at the national level.

SYNERGY WITH METROPOLITAN AND REGIONAL NETWORKS OF PUBLIC INSTITUTIONS

The collaboration with local public administrations and universities has also allowed the creation of extensive optical fiber networks, as in the case of the Metropolitan Networks in the city of Florence and Venice, which has enabled the connection of numerous institutions of world-wide value.

These agreements bring benefits from the technological point of view, thanks to the services and high transmission capacity offered by these infrastructures at low cost. None of the actors involved, in fact, pursues profit-making.

FURTHER INFORMATION

STORIES FROM OUR COMMUNITY

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GARR, To Know Us, Communities, School

The innovation of schools inevitably goes through a new way of teaching that involves the adoption of technologies inside and outside the classroom and the experimentation of interdisciplinary collaborations.

In this context, it is crucial for digital schools to be efficiently connected and with a bandwidth capacity that is proportionate to the daily needs of students and teachers. Schools are one of the most widely distributed institutions on the territory and, especially in some geographic areas, the absence of broadband connectivity adds to the already existing digital divide.

GARR, the Italian national research and education network, promotes the spread of ultra-wide bandwidth connections among schools to foster digital innovation processes in teaching and the achievement of the goals listed in the Digital Education Agenda.

High-performance connectivity and advanced services are for schools a true digital highway that offers the same technological opportunities available in the research and university sector, thus helping in building a bridge among these three sectors. Schools thus enter a wide and multidisciplinary community, which is not limited to the national level but has a wider horizon thanks to the interconnection of GARR network with other global research networks and the general Internet.

Connectivity features

All GARR network links have a high and symmetric bandwidth, that means with the same speed in both download and upload. This feature is generally little known and it is not available in the commercial offering and it is of crucial importance for teaching as it enables schools to create content, services and applications, thus becoming and active rather than a passive network user.

Advantages

Once connected to GARR network, schools become part of an interdisciplinary community that gathers university and research and perceives the network as an indispensable element to foster collaboration, the sharing of knowledge and skills, to enrich the educational experience and to facilitate education and professional guidance activities. In addition to the benefits of a transparent and high-quality network, users can benefit of a wide range of services ranging from network management and maintenance, IT security, web domain management, public addressing, management of digital identities, multi-video conference, wi-fi on the move.

Schools at pace with Europe

The vision of connected schools is shared among many European countries, and in several cases, local national research and education networks are already interconnecting schools with their backbones. In some cases, in addition to connectivity, research networks provide schools with application services such as video conferencing, e-learning and e-collaboration tools, digital library access and online contents. The most notable example at the European level is represented by the United Kingdom, with nearly 25,000 connected schools. Other important examples are Greece, where, since 2004, all schools are connected thanks to a project for regional development co-funded by the EU, and Ireland, whose first broadband project for schools dates back to 2005 and is currently engaged in a major upgrade of its infrastructure.

Schools on the net

In recent years, GARR has focused its activity on the provision of high-performance connectivity also to schools. To date there are hundreds of institutes connected to the network, and thousands of students and teachers can benefit every day of this digital highway and play an active role in the network by creating content and collaborating, having the same opportunities of researchers all over the world. Schools are connected in a variety of ways, applying the same principles to all GARR entities: using, whenever possible, optical fibre with a minimum 100 Mbps of symmetric bandwidth. In some cases, schools are connected through regional, metropolitan or campus networks already present on the territory, in collaboration with local authorities and universities.

GARR-X Progress: a successful experience

In Southern Italy, where the digital divide is particularly evident, GARR contributed in connecting higher education schools to its optical fibre network with GARR-X Progress, a project funded by the Ministry of Education and focused on the Regions of Convergence (Sicily, Campania, Apulia and Calabria). GARR-X Progress, which was concluded in 2016, was a great opportunity for local schools but also a fundamental investment to foster the digital innovation process in teaching activities.

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