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HEAnet clients and Met Éireann benefit with new direct connection to Iceland via NORDUnet

Words: Sharon Moylan, HEAnet

A new subsea circuit from Galway, Ireland to Reykjavik, Iceland is providing a new connection for HEAnet clients to connect to the Nordic Research and Education Network, NORDUnet. While this new connection will benefit all HEAnet clients, a significant first case features Met Éireann, whose new weather forecasting modelling will be performed at a new High Performance Computing (HPC) centre for meteorology in Reykjavik.

This new partnership between HEAnet and NORDUnet provides a direct new connection at 100Gbps between our two networks. This will reduce latency and improve connectivity between Ireland and Iceland while also providing improved connectivity to Northern Europe and increasing resilience for Iceland.

Met Éireann has joined forces with the United Weather Centres – West (UWC-West) collaboration, to jointly operate the new supercomputer in a scientific and technical response to the extreme and more challenging weather forecasts expected over the next decades. The new supercomputer will provide high resolution forecasts that will be used to provide more accurate and timely weather warnings that will allow emergency services to prepare for the potential impact of severe weather. The partners in the collaboration are the meteorological services in Ireland, Iceland, Denmark, and the Netherlands.

The supercomputer is powered entirely by renewable Icelandic hydropower and geothermal energy sources and taking advantage of the local temperate climate will keep the supercomputer components cool. The running costs and CO2 footprint will be kept to a minimum, saving tonnes of COin line with the four nations’ commitments towards net-zero.

This is the first partnership between NORDUnet and HEAnet. Interconnecting with HEAnet in Dublin was pragmatic and straightforward, enabling NORDUnet to commission the new circuit expeditiously.

Lars Bjorn of the NORDUnet Network Services and Technology Services, commented:

“Coming from the research and education community there is a high level of trust, and the collaboration is very straightforward.”

The new 100 Gbps connection between NORDUnet and HEAnet in Dublin will significantly improve the performance of Internet Services between the Nordic countries and Ireland.

With Europe’s fastest supercomputer (LUMI) in Finland and Met Éireann’s new metrology supercomputing centre in Iceland, this new connection along with our existing GÉANT connections, ensures that HEAnet clients will continue to benefit from the performance that can only be guaranteed via dedicated research and education networks.

“This new connectivity partnership between HEAnet and NORDUnet enables greater opportunity for research engagement, resource sharing, and community collaboration across Northern Europe.”

said Ronan Byrne, Chief Executive Officer, HEAnet.

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