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Introduction to the Computer Network Information Center

The Computer Network Information Center (CNIC) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) is a support institution involved in constructing and operating IT infrastructure and providing IT-related services. In addition, it serves as an R&D and demonstration base for e-technology applications.


CNIC was founded in 1995 in connection with the establishment of the National Computing and Networking Facility of China (NCFC). Within the framework of the NCFC, CNIC participated in every step of the early development of China’s Internet, including China’s fully functional access to the international Internet (as the 77th country) in April 1994. One month later, China’s national-level domain “.cn” came into use with the installation of China’s first domain server.


The goal of CNIC is to lead the way in establishing and supporting “e-science” in China. By “e-science” we mean the use of IT resources in all aspects of scientific research to improve efficiency and enhance scientific achievement. CNIC is also committed to serving the management of CAS by supporting its IT needs. CNIC aims to rank among the world’s top supercomputing centers, data centers and science research networks. Realization of our goal relies on more than 700 employees and over 160 graduate students, all of whom work diligently together in an interdisciplinary manner.


CNIC has already basically established a secure and reliable cyber-infrastructure that includes a science and technology network, supercomputing environment, data resource platform, public outreach platform and CAS’s Academia Resource Planning system. Below are key data about CNIC (current as of November 2013):


  • CSTNET (China Science & Technology Network) has a nationwide network connecting 12 regional subcenters and 20 independent institutes via high-speed links, covering more than 30 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities.
  • The supercomputing environment of CAS, consists of one main center in Beijing, nine subcenters, 18 CAS institute centers and 11 GPU centers across China. The Supercomputing Center supports research on computational physics, computational chemistry, materials science, life science, drug design, geophysics, fluid dynamics, climate modeling, astronomy and agriculture.
  • The scientific data center maintains a 24-PB storage environment. The scientific database has been accessed by more than 58 million visitors with more than 610 TB of downloaded data.
  • The NSC (Network-based Science Communication) platform currently consists of four regional service centers in China with average daily page views of more than 1.88 million. Virtual Science Museums of China, a portal of the NSC platform, currently has over 230,000 page views per day.
  • The CAS ARP (Academia Resource Planning) system supports 133 on-line ARP modules and the academic website group platform sustains 688 independent websites. 


Together with partners from foreign universities, institutes and enterprises, CNIC aims to be a powerful hub in the international research community. It has established close ties with international partners, including the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA), the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), Forschungszentrum Jülich etc. Meanwhile, CNIC is actively engaged in many international cooperation projects like the Global Ring Network for Advanced Application Development (GLORIAD), the international ITER fusion project and projects of the Framework Programme funded by the European Commission. About 20 researchers and engineers at CNIC have executive positions in international science or Internet organizations, including the WDS-Steering Committee (WDS-SC), Pacific Rim Applications and Grid Middleware Assembly (PRAGMA), Asia-Pacific Network Information Centre (APNIC) and Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). CNIC is also an ICANN Engagement Center, secretariat of CODATA-China and China home for Asia Pacific Top Level Domain Association (APTLD). In the past 10 years, CNIC has hosted several influential international conferences, such as the 10th International CODATA conference, ICANN46, APNIC36, and the 9th IEEE International Conference on e-Science, all of which have contributed to shaping a better future for CNIC.





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