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ASREN Connection Opens Door to Global High-Speed Connectivity for Middle East Science Hub

AMMAN – Via its dedicated link from Amman to its PoP in London, the Arab States Research and Education Network (ASREN) has recently connected SESAME (Synchrotron-light for Experimental Science and Applications in the Middle East) in Jordan to GÉANT and, by extension, to the global R&E networking infrastructure, thus preparing the ground for tackling the data deluge in the years to come.

Setting up on the CERN model and going live in 2017, this first synchrotron radiation facility in the Middle East is destined to become a major scientific hub in the region with unrivalled opportunities for international collaborative research.

HE Dr. Talal Abu-Ghazaleh, chairman of ASREN, indicated, “SESAME creates a motivating scientific environment that encourages the region's best minds to stay in the region, whilst tackling global challenges. ASREN welcomes this connection as it prepares the ground for SESAME to become a major player on the global scientific scene.” 

General Director of SESAME, Dr. Khaled Toukan said, “Advanced connectivity is essential for regional and international inter-disciplinary research and for scientists to fully reap the benefits of SESAME. In particular, we look forward to collaborating with our partners in the Vi-SEEM project to support scientific communities of Life Sciences, Climatology and Digital Cultural Heritage.”

SESAME will provide a vital resource for a wide variety of physics applications, both in the region and further afield: developing new materials, probing the structure of DNA, penetrating the secrets of chemical compounds, designing pharmaceuticals, performing disease infrared imaging, assessing archaeological artefacts, measuring soil pollution and much else besides.

Once the facility will reach full working capacity, it will produce thousands of gigabytes every day, which will be transferred to HPC centers in and outside the region for analysis, including partners in the EU-funded Virtual Research Environment Vi-SEEM project.

Initially at 50 Mbps, the link is the first step in providing an advanced international connectivity set-up for this endeavor to succeed and is anticipated to act as proof of concept for significantly higher capacity in the future.

ASREN is partner in the EU-funded EUMEDCONNECT3 project, which supports R&E networking for the Eastern Mediterranean (Jordan, Lebanon, and Palestine). SESAME is expected to be a major regional driver of connectivity to GÉANT for the region.

Synchrotron partner laboratories from Germany, France, Italy, UK, Sweden and Spain are supplying expertise, equipment and technical support, and the EC has contributed over €10 million including for the magnet system for its main storage ring.