• Kyodo

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A project is under way to build a network here connecting the supercomputer systems of seven research institutes, institute officials said.

The institutes envision linking their systems via fiber-optic cables under the Tsukuba WAN (wide area network) project, with the intention of beginning operations by the end of the current fiscal year next March, they said.

The project will make it possible to exchange information outside the boundaries of research fields and help researchers conduct more advanced and unique studies, the officials said.

Officials from the institutes and government departments plan to form a council in May to accelerate the creation of the network, they said.

Among the bodies that plan to participate are the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology, under the jurisdiction of the Economy, Trade and Industry Ministry, the National Institute for Materials Science, part of the Education, Culture Sports, Science and Technology Ministry, and the National Institute for Environmental Studies, under the Environment Ministry.

In addition to the seven institutes already involved, Tsukuba University is also considering participating in the project.

Because the facilities are spread across the vast Tsukuba research hub, the length of the fiber-optic cables is expected to total about 46 km.

Data would be transmitted through the cables at a speed of 100 gigabits per second, about 1.5 million times faster than conventional telephone cable transmissions.

The project was first proposed in 1999 by Reona (Leo) Esaki, 1973 Nobel Prize winner in physics and former Tsukuba University president. He is now president of the Shibaura Institute of Technology, a private university.

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