Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Major boost for Algerian scientists

EUMEDCONNECT3
Thursday 18 October 12

Algeria has recently upgraded the international connectivity available for its scientists and academicians to 622 Mbps through its participation in EUMEDCONNECT3, the regional high-capacity Internet network serving the research and education (R&E) communities across Northern Africa and the Middle East. Algeria is a long-term partner in the EC-funded EUMEDCONNECT project and has seen its research networking capacity increase by a factor of 15 - from an initial 45 Mbps in 2004 to the current 622 Mbps to meet researchers’ growing demands for high-speed international connectivity…

Algeria has recently upgraded the international connectivity available for its scientists and academicians to 622 Mbps through its participation in EUMEDCONNECT3, the regional high-capacity Internet network serving the research and education (R&E) communities across Northern Africa and the Middle East. Algeria is a long-term partner in the EC-funded EUMEDCONNECT project and has seen its research networking capacity increase by a factor of 15 - from an initial 45 Mbps in 2004 to the current 622 Mbps to meet researchers’ growing demands for high-speed international connectivity.

CERIST (Research Centre on Scientific and Technical Information), the organisation that manages Algeria’s national R&E network, ARN, has been at the forefront of meeting the networking needs of its growing user base since its inception in 1994. Through its interconnection to EUMEDCONNECT3, ARN enables researchers, academics and students in the country to participate in world-class international research and educational activities. Co-founded by the European Union, EUMEDCONNECT3 connects universities and research centres in North Africa and the Middle East and enables them to collaborate with over 4,000 institutions across Europe through its interconnection to GÉANT, the pan-European R&E network.

Aouaouche El-Maouhab, ARN Manager at CERIST, underlines the importance of being part of EUMEDCONNECT: “Over the last decade the connectivity needs of academic and research institutions in Algeria have increased significantly, and so have their opportunities to collaborate with peers in Europe and other parts of the world. We therefore welcome the upgrade as it puts ARN in a position to fulfil those needs. Our participation in the EUMEDCONNECT project has given our universities valuable advanced network services. The plan is to continue increasing our network capacity and efficiency and to work closely with NRENs in Europe and the wider Arab world”.

ARN currently interconnects over 600,000 users at 120 research and academic institutions across the country, increases of 20% and 40% respectively since the start of the previous phase of EUMEDCONNECT in 2008. Algerian institutions are actively participating in a substantial number of EC-funded higher-education TEMPUS and FP7 research projects dealing with issues particularly relevant to Algeria and the Mediterranean as a whole. NEUROMED, for example, brings together neuroscientists from both shores of the Mediterranean to exchange best practice and to jointly build up centres of excellence. EUMEDCONNECT3 facilitates this capacity-building process by providing stable, high-capacity Internet connectivity between geographically dispersed scientists and by supporting the seamless exchange of huge, bandwidth-hungry medical files, such as MRI scans.

“Data exchange and communication is crucial to our activities”, said Prof. Fares Boubakour from the University of Batna, Algerian partner of the FP7-ESTEEM project which aims to enhance transport safety in the Euro-Mediterranean region. “EUMEDCONNECT3 helps us strengthen links with our partners in the Maghreb and in South Europe. It allows us to jointly collect, exchange and analyse traffic-related data, develop tracking devices for vessel-transport and ultimately formulate recommendations for improved transport safety on both shores of the Mediterranean.”

Over the past decade, the number of Algerian Internet users has increased more than 20-fold, still the Internet penetration is relatively modest at 14% of the whole population. To increase the general ICT uptake, the Algerian government (Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research), jointly with CERIST, has recently launched a series of initiatives, including connecting high schools to ARN. Students are now able to benefit from general Internet services as well as engage in more bandwidth-hungry applications, such as videoconferencing and remote classroom participation.

Algeria is also a shareholder in ASREN, the Arab States Research and Education Network. Building on EUMEDCONNECT3, ASREN sets out to widen its geographical footprint by connecting other Arab national research and education networks (NRENs) across North Africa, the Middle East and the wider Arab region.

David West said: “This upgrade marks a great vote of confidence in EUMEDCONNECT by one of our longest serving partner countries. It shows the benefits of the programme for providing high-capacity, high-quality connectivity for 21st century scientific research in the region”.


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