Australian researchers will gain access to the US Pacific Research Platform (PRP), a next-generation data sharing network linking research universities and supercomputing centres.

This will be made possible by a partnership between Australia's Academic Research Network (AARNet) and the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology (Calit2) -- announced at the Australian American Leadership Dialogue in Melbourne.

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AARNet CEO, Chris Hancock, said Australia and US have both made major investments in networks based on the Science DMZ architecture -- a network design model for optimising science data transfers -- to support growth in data-intensive research.

"What we are aiming to do now is to connect those networks into a common Australian/American platform -- the Pacific Research Platform -- which will support enhanced collaboration by our top researchers in disciplines of critical importance to the future of both countries," he said.

Australian research projects in the areas of particle physics, astronomy, biomedicine, earth science, and visualisation will benefit from connecting with their American counterparts.

The partnership is open to any Australian university undertaking big data research with PRP institutions. The Institute for Marine and Antarctica Studies at the University of Tasmania is already exchanging large oceanographic and geoscience datasets with UC San Diego's Scripps Institution of Oceanography.

Monash University is linking the CAVE2 virtual reality facility to similar facilities in Hawaii and Chicago.

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Under the agreement, AARNet is connecting to the PRP in partnership with the Southern Cross Cable Network using submarine optical fibre links knows as SXTransPORT. These connect to the west coast of the US and to San Diego and Calit2 via Pacific Wave and CENIC.

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