New data network connection to advance agriculture research in Alberta

CyberaNet —€” the advanced network operated by Cybera —€” is now enabling agriculture researchers in Southern Alberta to share massive amounts of data with colleagues across the country faster than ever before. This is due to a recent 250Mbit/s connection from CyberaNet and the CANARIE Network to the Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) Lethbridge Research Centre (LRC).

"CyberaNet was built to provide Canadian researchers with the digital infrastructure they need to collaborate and investigate solutions to complex problems,"€ said Jean-Francois Amiot, Technical Operations Manager for Cybera. "The connection to the LRC will demonstrate the value the network has to the research community."€

The research facility was quickly outgrowing the capacity of its own 100Mbit/s network. With more than 400 employees, and collaborations with the AAFC'€™s national network of 18 other research centres, the LRC requires a great deal of data storage and capacity for information sharing. The Centre focuses on research in the areas of environmental health, bioproducts and bioprocesses, food safety and nutrition, and sustainable production systems.

"€œWe now have immediate access to more data, some of which we wouldn'€™t otherwise have access to,"€ said André Laroche, Research Scientist at the LRC, whose own research contributes to the Centre'€™s development of sustainable crop production for land in the Canadian prairies. He is investigating the improvement of cereals, such as wheat and rye, in the areas of nutrition, response to disease, and response to environmental threats, such as drought. The first step in these investigations is to identify important cereal genes, which is done through gene sequencing in genomics centres elsewhere in the country.  

"The output from these gene sequencing experiments creates massive files,"€ says Laroche. "We use the CANARIE Network and CyberaNet to acquire the output from places like the National Research Centre'€™s Plant Biotechnology Centre in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan and McGill University and the Génome Québec Innovation Centre in Montreal, Quebec '€” which are also connected to CANARIE '€” and transfer them back to the LRC where we analyze the data."

CyberaNet is a high-bandwidth, high-speed dedicated network that enables Cybera to support groups performing leading-edge research as well as product or application development. CyberaNet is Alberta'€™s gateway to the CANARIE Network, which connects to 100 peer networks in over 80 countries. CyberaNet also supports a virtual network using the Alberta SuperNet, providing connectivity to various education institutes and community organizations across Alberta.

BACKGROUND

About Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) provides information, research and technology, and policies and programs to achieve an environmentally sustainable, competitive and innovative agriculture, agri-food and agri-based products sector that proactively manages risk. AAFC, along with its portfolio partners, reports to Parliament and Canadians through the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and Minister for the Canadian Wheat Board. 

For more information on Andre Laroché'€™s research, please click here.