Latest ARC grants fund old languages and new networks

1 December 2010

A facility testing the building blocks of next generation optical fibre networks and an online archive of some of the world's most endangered languages are among seven University of Sydney research projects funded in the latest round of Australian Research Council (ARC) grants.

Professor Ben Eggleton
Professor Ben Eggleton

The grants, worth almost $3 million in total, have been awarded today under the ARC's Linkage Infrastructure, Equipment and Facilities scheme.

The CUDOS Centre of Excellence headquartered at the University of Sydney's School of Physics will use its $400,000 grant to assemble a leading-edge optical communication facility to test the building blocks in next generation networks.

"This grant will allow researchers to develop and test revolutionary optical signal processes operating at data rates unimaginable a few years ago," says CUDOS Director Professor Ben Eggleton of the collaborative centre.

"Five years ago when I spoke about optical applications such as e-health people rolled their eyes but with the capabilities provided by the National Broadband Network, people now know it's a reality. Our facility is a cornerstone piece of national infrastructure to support on-going research in this area".

Eggleton says that with the new facility researchers will have access to ultrahigh bit rate (terabit per second) signals encoded with more spectrally efficient data modulations formats.

"This will give us a more energy efficient and broader bandwidth internet. Not only will you be able to move data around faster, but with less energy consumed."

The Pacific and Regional Archive for Digital Sources (PARADISEC) received $238,000 towards its work to preserve and make accessible audio visual recordings of endangered languages in the Asia-Pacific.

Its digital archive features recordings and transcriptions in more than 600 languages, many of which are no longer spoken.

"For researchers across the globe, PARADISEC is a significant focal point for the Asia Pacific's linguistic and cultural diversity," says Director of the cross institutional initiative Associate Professor Linda Barwick.

"The grant will enable us to upgrade our hardware and software, and provide other services to make the site more accessible and its data more reusable."

Other successful grants for the University of Sydney are:

The ARC's Linkage Infrastructure, Equipment and Facilities scheme principally funds large scale cooperative initiatives so their expensive overhead costs can be shared by researchers in partnered organisations. The latest round of grants totalled $30 million.

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