Lincoln, Pryor, Berry, Snyder, Ross Announce $1.7M to Improve Research Infrastructure at Arkansas’s Universities

Washington - U.S. Senators Blanche Lincoln and Mark Pryor today announced that the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville will receive a $1,701,988 National Science Foundation grant to enhance computer research capabilities for students who study the sciences at the University of Arkansas and the other four-year, public universities in the state.

 Funds will be used to improve the facility that houses the supercomputers at the University of Arkansas. Funds will be used to purchase air conditioners for the supercomputers and equipment that ensures that electricity can run around the clock, since many research projects require programs to run for several days and cannot sustain a power outage.  The supercomputers support science research requiring massive data files and advanced visualization programs.

 The funding will also enhance the network speed available to University of Arkansas researchers, and will enhance the network speed from the state’s high speed optical network to the supercomputers. The high speed optical network, the Arkansas Research and Education Optical network (ARE-ON), allows researchers using computers for advanced scientific research at Arkansas’s four-year universities to have better access to the state’s supercomputing resources. The Arkansas Research and Educational Optical Network is a high-speed network owned and operated by the Arkansas higher education community. 

“I am pleased to announce this Recovery Act investment that will enhance cutting-edge science research at universities throughout Arkansas and benefit hundreds of students,” Lincoln said. “It is crucial that we support research infrastructure in Arkansas to attract students and keep our state competitive.”

“This undertaking will expand our research capabilities at Arkansas universities, and bring us closer to finding groundbreaking solutions and technologies,” Pryor said. “This stimulus investment by NSF and taxpayers will be met with strong results.”

 “In building a better infrastructure for the institutions that are a part of the Arkansas Research and Educational Optical Network, we are helping to support advancements in research that could lead to better medication, computer technology, and other fields that will grow our economy and keep Arkansas competitive in the sciences,” Berry said. “Continuing to fund research and innovation in our universities is beneficial to all Arkansans.”

“I applaud the Arkansas institutions for their work in pushing for this funding.  Improving technology in this capacity not only provides more Arkansas students with better research capabilities, but also helps strengthen science, research and development professions especially now when there are shortages – a time when it is most needed,” Snyder said.

“This investment in computer research infrastructure for Arkansas’s universities will help provide the tools and resources needed to ensure our students receive a world class education,” Ross said. “I am committed to fighting for critical federal investments to support our colleges and universities because when we help our children get the best education they deserve, we work to put them on a path to healthy, successful and prosperous lives.”

“This National Science Foundation grant will allow Arkansas to move forward substantially in the area of research computing.  It will provide the infrastructure that we need to house large-scale computers and storage that support several areas of science, and will improve our ability to compete nationally. We are delighted that the National Science Foundation has chosen to support this project,” said Amy Apon, Ph.D., University of Arkansas computer science professor and Director of the Arkansas High Performance Computing Center.