The speed at which Latin American researchers and scientists can connect online has improved, thanks to an enhanced network recently developed with the support of an award from the U.S.-based National Science Foundation.

“Before, it could take 1,000 e-mails and five months of network engineers work to create a virtual private network, and now, we can do it in five minutes with no telephone conversation, “ Heidi Morgan, director of the center for Internet Augmented Research and Assessment at Florida International University in Miami, told Latin Business Daily.

Efforts include an improved connection with the U.S. by five Latin American research and education networks: the Academic Network at Sao Paulo, the Brazilian National Research and Education Network, the Latin American Advanced Networks Cooperation, the National University Network of Chile, and the Caribbean Knowledge and Learning Network.

The improved connectivity also will help researches in several other countries, including Colombia and Peru.

It “connects universities, research centers, important science instruments such as observatories for astronomy and high energy physics, high-performance computing facilities” and others, Morgan said.

“The research and investigation network is a separate Internet that is private and has a lot of bandwidth, and when we make this connection, we are able to transfer large amounts of data and to have very high-density visualization,” Morgan said.

Now, thanks to the enhanced network, “if you have researchers in Latin America, and they require some data that we have stored in a supercomputing center in the U.S., as long as they have the permission, they can request a download,” Morgan said.

The network can move very large amounts of data very quickly, Morgan said. “If you put in a request at 5 p.m., you can have it the next morning. Before, it could take months,” Morgan said.

The network not only “allows the rate of discovery” to be much faster, but “more people can have access to scientific data faster,” Morgan said. The benefits can extend to graduate and even high school students through diverse means, such as video conferencing, Morgan said.

The network allows for enhanced studies of multiple types of subjects, such as marine life or star formations, and can definitely “improve educational opportunities, as well as scientific discoveries” in Latin America, Morgan said.

“There is a lot of different scientific research going on in Latin America,” Morgan said.

The Pierre Auger Cosmic Ray Observatory and Advanced Accelerator Simulation in Argentina or the Atacama Large Millimeter Array in Chile are examples of centers of research in the region. Latin American scientists also participate in worldwide initiatives, such as the Dark Energy Survey, Morgan said.

“This work is supported by a grant from the National Science Foundation Award ACI-1451018,” Morgan said.

Original Article published in Latin Business Daily here: