New research network ‘MissiON’ launches

JACKSON — Gov. Haley Barbour has unveiled MissiON, the Mississippi research network, an expanded broadband technology system to serve the state’s research universities and facilities.

The project was created in collaboration with AT&T.

The network will serve the Mississippi Research Consortium, which is comprised of the University of Mississippi, Mississippi State University, University of Southern Mississippi and Jackson State University, University of Mississippi Medical Center, Mississippi Department of Information Technology, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Stennis Space Center.

“This network will transform our universities’ research capabilities and academic competitiveness on a global scale,” Barbour said. “This will have tremendous impact on Mississippi. Researchers will be able to share massive amounts of complex data quickly, enhancing their work in a variety of areas from medicine to manufacturing. This is work that often leads to the creation of new companies and jobs for Mississippians.”

The network will be completed by the end of 2011. The $16-million project is funded through the state’s existing contract with AT&T to provide technology services to the state. The network will be unique in that it stretches into all regions of the state and places Mississippi on an even playing field with neighboring states.

The Mississippi Research Network will provide the universities with 20 times the broadband capacity currently in use, drastically improving the research universities’ capacity to quickly crunch data and share information between campuses, according to the Governor’s Office. The network will allow universities to aggressively pursue grant opportunities to support academic research. Currently, consortium members have $380.7 million of federally funded research dependant on access to large data pipelines. Projects that rely on high-tech computing power include the Jackson Heart Study at Jackson State and UMMC, agricultural and environmental modeling projects at Mississippi State, disaster simulations and marine research at Ole Miss, medical research at UMMC and biomedical and technological research at Southern Miss.

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