Discover how GÉANT is helping nuclear fusion scientists tackle the global energy crisis
GÉANT paves data highway for nuclear fusion energy research
High-speed network essential link in search for clean, sustainable energy
9 April 2013, GÉANT, the world’s leading high-speed research and education network managed and operated by DANTE in Cambridge, UK, is providing data links to the International Fusion Energy Research Centre (IFERC), in Rokkasho, Japan.
IFERC hosts the Helios supercomputer, a system with a compute power exceeding 1 PFlops and attached to a storage capacity of 50 PB. The Helios supercomputer is provided and operated by the French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission (CEA), France and is a Fusion for Energy (F4E) resource. **
GÉANT is supplying a 10Gbps (10 Gigabits per second) link to connect Helios with scientists involved in ITER and DEMO, the demonstration fusion reactor which is considered the follow-on project* of ITER.
It is hoped, after the first fusion plasmas of ITER in Cadarache, France, planned for 2020 and beyond, that DEMO, an industrial demonstration fusion reactor, will lead to full-scale fusion energy reaching the commercial market in the second half of the century.
Massive data sets
Helios is producing vast amounts of data, which need to be shared with scientists all over the world. Via SINET, a Japanese National Research and Education Network (NREN), IFERC is connected to the pan-European GÉANT network, and to European NRENs, like RENATER, DFN, SWITCH, JANET and many others), supporting the research activities for fusion in Europe.
The GEANT-provided link is a 10Gbps connection between Geneva and Washington, matching the 10Gbps link between Japan and Washington provided by SINET. It will enable researchers in Europe to access this dedicated supercomputer in Japan. It may eventually be used to complement also the network resources allocated to other large scale projects, such as the CERN LHC experiment.
Says GÉANT Business Solutions Consultant, Roberto Sabatino;
“The combination of major new scientific projects like IFERC and the use of supercomputers like Helios is creating an explosion of data for which we need to be ready. The provision of a 10Gbps link is a first and crucial step to support the data networking needs in the global search for cleaner, sustainable energy and to assist scientists in their ground-breaking work.”
Transporting high-volumes of traffic
Together with ever-growing data sets, greater collaboration in areas such as energy and genetics is driving a growing demand to access shared central databases of information across research disciplines, exponentially increasing network traffic.
In the past, the most practical method for transferring bulk data from geographically dispersed clusters and end users was to physically ship disks by courier. With high speed networks such as GÉANT, data from many different sources can quickly be shared and analysed leading to accelerated results.
Europe’s vision for sustainable energy
The ITER project is funded by and run by seven parties – Europe (contributing 45% of the cost), India, Japan, China, Russia, South Korea and the US. DEMO studies are carried out by individual ITER members, and in the case of Japan and Europe, jointly in the IFERC, in the framework of the Broader Approach Agreement. The investment in fusion research is in line with the EU’s focus for Horizon 2020 to find new and convincing solutions to the societal challenge of secure, clean and efficient energy. GÉANT is seen as an essential component in driving European ICT and for Europe to remain competitive in dealing with society’s grand challenges.
Says Susana Clement Lorenzo, F4E Group Leader for IFERC:
“HELIOS users are running codes ranging from fundamental physics in hot ITER plasmas to technology and engineering calculations so as to build components in very challenging environments as expected in DEMO. Supercomputers are crucial in solving these complex problems and good data communication channels such as the high-speed GÉANT network can provide the essential links to help scientists all over the world to analyse their findings. Ultimately, all these initiatives will bring us a step closer to fusion as a potential energy source”
Big science reliant on high-speed networks
IFERC joins many other big science projects supported by GÉANT which are changing the way the world collaborates. Examples include CERN’s Large Hadron Collider and global projects addressing climate change, medical diagnosis, bioinformatics and deep space research.
*ITER is effectively laying the ground work for DEMO, with the aim of making the long-awaited transition from experimental studies* to a full-scale electricity producing fusion power plant.
Photo credits: Helios supercomputer, Bull copyright.
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Fusion for Energy info:
GÉANT is the pan-European research and education network that interconnects Europe’s National Research and Education Networks (NRENs). Together we connect over 50 million users at 10,000 institutions across Europe, supporting research in areas such as energy, the environment, space and medicine.
Operating at speeds of up to 100Gbps and reaching over 100 national networks worldwide, GÉANT remains the largest and most advanced research and education network in the world.
Co-funded by the European Commission under the EU’s 7th Research and Development Framework Programme, GÉANT is a flagship e-Infrastructure key to achieving the European Research Area – a seamless and open European space for online research – and assuring world-leading connectivity between Europe and the rest of the world in support of global research collaborations.
The network and associated services comprise the GÉANT (GN3plus) project, a collaborative effort comprising 41 project partners: 38 European NRENs, DANTE, TERENA and NORDUnet (representing the 5 Nordic countries). GÉANT is operated by DANTE on behalf of Europe’s NRENs. For more information, visit
DANTE (Delivery of Advanced Network Technology to Europe) is a non-profit organisation established in 1993 that plans, builds and operates large scale, advanced networks for research and education. On behalf of Europe’s National Research and Education Networks (NRENs), DANTE has built and operates GÉANT, a flagship e-Infrastructure key to achieving the European Research Area.
Working in cooperation with the European Commission and in close partnership with Europe’s NRENs and international networking partners, DANTE remains fundamental to the success of global research collaboration.
DANTE currently manages projects focussed on the Mediterranean, Asia-Pacific, Sub-Saharan Africa and Central Asia regions through the EUMEDCONNECT, TEIN, ORIENTplus, AfricaConnect and CAREN projects respectively. For more information, visit www.dante.net
**About Fusion for Energy (F4E) :
Fusion for Energy (F4E) is the European Union’s Joint Undertaking for ITER and the Development of Fusion Energy. The organisation was created under the Euratom Treaty by a decision of the Council of the European Union in order to meet three objectives:
F4E is responsible for providing Europe’s contribution to ITER , the world’s largest scientific partnership that aims to demonstrate fusion as a viable and sustainable source of energy. ITER brings together seven parties that represent half of the world’s population – the EU, Russia, Japan, China, India, South Korea and the United States.
F4E also supports fusion research and development initiatives through the Broader Approach Agreement, signed with Japan – a fusion energy partnership which will last for 10 years. Ultimately, F4E will contribute towards the construction of demonstration fusion reactors.
F4E is established for a period of 35 years from 19 April 2007 and is located in Barcelona, Spain.