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December 08, 2006
A team led by researchers and technologists from Indiana University (IU) was recognized for its accomplishments in the 2006 Bandwidth Challenge held recently at the 2006 Supercomputing conference (SC06) in Tampa, Florida.
Competing against the nation's most elite supercomputing centers, the IU-led team, in partnership with the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center and Oak Ridge National Laboratory, was one of two efforts recognized with an honorable mention. The IU team, directed by Stephen Simms, included researchers from University Information Technology Services (UITS), the IU School of Informatics, and Pervasive Technology Labs.
The theme of this year's Bandwidth Challenge, "Bridging the Hero Gap," encouraged teams to show how their technology innovations allow researchers and scientists to manage and move large amounts of data without relying on "networking heroes" to help at every step. Participating teams were asked to fully use one 10 Gigabit (Gbit) path "end-to-end, disk-to-disk" from the competition venue in Tampa, Florida, back to each team's home institution using their actual production network. IU's effort titled "All in a Day's Work," emphasized how IU's advanced information technology infrastructure allows IU scientists and researchers to make use of leading edge data management and network services each and every day.
The IU team had an impressive finish, peaking at 9.2 Gbit/second, with an approximate sustained average of 5.5 Gbit/second. IU's project featured four IU research teams running real scientific analyses on IU's Data Capacitor -- a 535 TB Lustre file system serving as an intermediate buffer to store and manipulate large data sets -- and a remote Data Capacitor constructed at the competition venue.
IU's Data Capacitor was conceived by IU Professor of Computer Science Randall Bramley, and is funded in part by a grant from the National Science Foundation led by Craig Stewart, chief operating officer of Pervasive Technology Labs. The Data Capacitor creates fundamental new capabilities for IU's advanced cyberinfrastructure and facilitates the participating scientific research projects.
"IU's Data Capacitor can be mounted on multiple distributed resources, allowing it to play a role in every step of the data life cycle, from acquisition or creation, through computation and visualization, to archive stored data," said Simms. "Its ease of use allows scientists to focus on their research – so they can be the heroes in their own field, whether trying to predict a hurricane, or working to cure a disease."
"The IU Data and Search Institute is developing new tools to support data-centric science, and combined with the hardware and expert system staff support, we're able to demonstrate new breakthrough capabilities that will lead to many practical benefits, such as improved ability to predict the paths of tornadoes," said IU team member Beth Plale, associate professor of computer science and director of the Data and Search Institute.
Equipment was provided by Data Direct Networks, Advanced Clustering Technologies, and Force-10 Networks, and featured the Lustre filesystem supported by Cluster File Systems. Myricom's loan of new Myrinet-10G cards was critical to the project's success.
Teams involved in the "All in a Day's Work" project included Beth Plale, Suresh Marru, Chathura Herath, and AJ Ragusa on streaming CASA radar data for tornado prediction; Scott Teige and Stephen Simms on analysis of subatomic particles; Mookie Baik on analysis of disease-forming protein mutations; and Rick McMullen and John Huffman on capture of crystallographic data from multiple distributed sources.
The overall winner of the Bandwidth Challenge was the National Center for Data Mining at the University of Illinois at Chicago, along with partners Northwestern University and Johns Hopkins University. An honorable mention went to a team from the California Institute of Technology, CERN, the University of Florida, and the University of Michigan.
Source: Indiana University
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