Big Red 200 powers new secure network for national defense innovation

The network, connecting Indiana universities to NSWC Crane, will accelerate defense problem-solving

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- The National Security Innovation Network and Indiana University have partnered to create a first-of-its-kind warfare center capability that will connect universities throughout Indiana to Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane Division, via a dedicated, secure, high-speed fiber network known as the I-Light network.

Building on the partnership between IU and the National Security Innovation Network, and using the supercomputing power of IU's Big Red 200 supercomputer, the network will boost research collaboration between in-state universities by giving researchers the ability to exchange large digital data files, and providing them access to supercomputers and scientific data storage facilities. I-Light's secure, high-speed fiber network connects technical operations with multiple in-state universities and NSWC Crane and the Naval defense fleet; currently that work is done manually.

"As a state, we're committed to propelling innovation and investing in emerging infrastructure like the I-Light Network in order to remain competitive and drive our defense sector forward into the 21st century," said Clif Tooley, president of defense development at the Indiana Economic Development Corp. "With this strategic initiative, Indiana will continue to fuel industry growth by enhancing our network of defense assets and creating another tool to attract more diverse companies to the state."

External image of IU's Big Red 200 supercomputerView print quality image
IU's Big Red 200, one of the fastest university-owned supercomputers in the nation, is the hub of a new national defense innovation network linking universities statewide with NSWC Crane. The network will accelerate defense problem-solving by enabling researchers to quickly and securely share large data files. Photo by Emily Sterneman, Indiana University

Big Red 200, the artificial intelligence supercomputer IU dedicated in January, and the National Security Innovation Network allow universities to contribute valuable research, knowledge and expertise to the Department of Defense. Using the I-Light network, Indiana universities now will be connected by a dedicated network to IU's supercomputer and NSWC Crane and the NavalX Tech Bridge. NSWC Crane supplies the technical operations, people and products that service members need at Naval Sea Systems Command; the NavalX Tech Bridge builds collaborative networks to accelerate defense problem-solving.

"This is an innovation opportunity unlike any other," said Michael Dodd, National Security Innovation Network program director at IU. "The network is revolutionary because it brings together the people, expertise and resources that can make valuable contributions to the DOD."

The National Security Innovation Network will leverage the communities of problem-solvers throughout the Indiana defense ecosystem and within its network to support NSWC Crane and the NavalX Tech Bridge, both located in Crane, Indiana. Coupled with the I-Light capabilities, the National Security Innovation Network will support the development of other online communities via its virtual platform, the Defense Innovation Network, to further enable rapid problem-solving for the Department of Defense.

"NSWC Crane remains committed to expanding our innovation ecosystem through establishing collaborative partnerships in strategic missions, electronic warfare and expeditionary warfare," said Kyle Werner, director of engagement at Naval Surface Warfare Center Crane. "We are delighted to collaborate with NSIN, IU and the Indiana Defense Network on this project and very much look forward to exploring the vast number of assets available via the I-Light network."

The collaboration is expected to be a key component of Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb's Next Level Initiative and the newly formed Indiana Defense Network.

"Connecting the National Security Innovation Network to Indiana University's Big Red 200 supercomputer, providing a gateway via I-Light, paves the way for enhanced and expedited innovation born from collaborations with researchers throughout the state and around the world," said Fred H. Cate, IU vice president for research. "Thanks to Governor Holcomb's leadership, creating the Next Level initiative, and the strong partnerships with NSWC Crane and universities throughout Indiana, we will now be better able to put IU's world-leading supercomputing capacity to work advancing national defense."

IU Research

Indiana University's world-class researchers have driven innovation and creative initiatives that matter for nearly 200 years. From curing testicular cancer to collaborating with NASA to search for life on Mars, IU has earned its reputation as a world-class research institution. Supported by $680 million last year from our partners, IU researchers are building collaborations and uncovering new solutions that improve lives in Indiana and around the globe.

The National Security Innovation Network

The National Security Innovation Network's mission is to "build networks of innovators that generate new solutions to national security problems." National Security Innovation Network is headquartered in Arlington, Virginia, and has regional offices in 11 commercial innovation hubs throughout the United States. Through its headquarters, regional hubs and embedded university partnerships, National Security Innovation Network builds a national network of innovators and delivers programming that solves real-world, Department of Defense problems through collaborative partnerships with nontraditional problem-solvers within the academic and early-stage venture communities.