Ohio Showcases Tech Innovation Successes At International Networking Conference

Feb 2, 2012




Whitacre: Four Drivers of Technology Economy In Ohio and the Midwest

Supercomputers: Data drives discovery, and Ohio has the tools and capacity to crunch big data.

Industrial Outreach: The Midwest has partnered in the National Digital Engineering & Manufacturing Consortium (NDEMC), which strives to improve the competitiveness of small- and medium- sized suppliers. The Ohio Supercomputer Center (OSC) is a participant in 10 of the 18 NDEMC projects.

Workforce Development: Ohio is developing the skilled workforce needed to leverage these new technologies through the National Science Foundation project Extreme Science and Engineering Discovery Environment. OSC also provides education through the Ralph Regula School of Computational Science.

Network Speed: Ohio has committed significant state funding toward the development of a 100 Gigabit-per-second, statewide research and education network. This ultra-fast network can transmit big data between the research, education and commercial community.

Alexandria, VA/Columbus, OH – With state-of-the-art resources, leveraged through successful academic, industrial and economic collaboration, Ohio is leading the Midwest's transformation from “Rust Belt” to “Innovation Belt,” The Ohio State University's head of research observed during a keynote presentation at the Internet2 Spring Meeting.

Internet2, whose network is owned by U.S. research universities, is one of the world?s most advanced networking consortium for global researchers and scientists. The biannual conference, recently held in Alexandria, Va., represented more than 800 technology leaders from throughout the Unites States and the world.

“The Ohio State University, the State of Ohio and others in the Midwest are creating powerful technology engines that are changing how universities, industry and government work together to fuel our nation's economy,” said Dr. Caroline Whitacre, vice president for research at Ohio State. Her presentation followed a video welcome by Ohio Board of Regents Chancellor Jim Petro and a brief overview from Ohio Academic Resources Network (OARnet) Executive Director Pankaj Shah.

Ohio, Whitacre said, is driving this robust technology economy because of the state's success in four vital areas: supercomputers, industrial outreach, workforce development, and networks. The state's most recent commitment to building the necessary technology infrastructure – upgrading the1,850 mile OARnet network to 100 Gigabits per second – will be in place by the end of 2012. (See box for more details.)

Additionally, Ohio is creating a 100-Gigabit Innovation Center, which is being developed in cooperation with public and private partners, including The Ohio State University, Case Western Reserve University and the University of Cincinnati. This center will address research and innovation opportunities within the 100 Gig network.

“The Internet we know today and the new global markets it created are largely the result of early investments by university network leaders,” Dave Lambert, Internet2 president and CEO, said in a statement. “Getting these revolutionary technologies in the hands of Internet2 community members will have positive and fundamentally transformative effects on research and education – the lynchpins of the global economy.”


Ohio also is quickly catching the eye of other states that are seeking similar means of leveraging technology for economic revitalization. In a recent Milwaukee Journal Sentinel editorial, Tom Still, president of the Wisconsin Technology Council and the Wisconsin Innovation Network, wrote:

“[The] Buckeye State's most ambitious economic growth strategy involves building a high-speed electronic data network that can serve researchers, businesses and communities alike. It's an undertaking that business leaders, researchers and policy-makers in Wisconsin would be wise to follow - especially if they want the Badger State to compete for companies and jobs ... Much like Wisconsin, Ohio is a manufacturing and agricultural state. However, its leaders recognize it must be an “information state,” as well, to compete with the East and West coasts – let alone the world. It's an initiative worth tracking.”

“Together, through public-private partnerships and a nexus between technology and higher education Ohio can collaboratively provide the resources and the opportunities to tackle the world's greatest challenges with an approach that is problem-based, multidisciplinary and global,” Whitacre concluded. “This is what a research university does. Together, we are working to create the high-tech conditions that will spur Ohio's economic future and the next generation of business applications.”

The Ohio Technology Consortium (OH-TECH) was established in 2011 to serve as the research and technology arm of the Ohio Board of Regents (OBR), offering innovative technology resources and services for Ohio higher education, K-12 schools and state and local government. OH-TECH, comprised of the Ohio Academic Resources Network (OARnet), the Ohio Supercomputer Center (OSC) and eStudent Services, leverages the strengths and increases operational efficiency of each organization. For more, visit