Bringing Optical Networking to the World

By By Stephanie Sides, Director of Communications, Calit2

September 19, 2005

Some call it “guerilla networking,” which it is in spades. Networking experts and applications scientists are showing up this week — several days before “showtime,” as they call it — to port their codes to machines in San Diego and connect to colleagues around the globe with more bandwidth than is likely to be available at their home institutions. They want to put on their best faces, of course, because the world is watching. We're talking about iGrid 2005, the biennial “Woodstock of Networking” workshop taking place Sept. 26-30 at at Calit2 in San Diego.

But some demos might not work the first time. The reason is because the scientists are pushing the limits to solve more complex problems at faster rates (100 Gbps to the rest of the world) over greater distances, assisted by the planet's most knowledgeable and daring networking engineers and computer scientists.

iGrid is a workshop, not a professional conference, so participants are not afraid of public failure. In fact, it's just the opposite, as many go on to win Land Speed and Bandwidth Challenge awards at subsequent conferences such as the annual Supercomputing conference. The point is: this is where the networking action is. That's why it's research. That's why it's called “state of the art.” But that's also why it's incredibly exciting.

Meanwhile, the lead iGrid network engineers are beyond busy, architecting and putting in place complicated network links across international domains to enable each demo to function at its highest capacity. They need to be mentioned by name because they are the magicians of the ether: Linda Winkler from Argonne National Laboratory and Alan Verlo from the Electronic Visualization Lab at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Larry Smarr, director of the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology (Calit2) and official host of the event, calls iGrid the “Woodstock of Networking.” That might date him somewhat, he says, which is ironic for this visionary, but it does underscore the watershed impact this event is having.

Maxine Brown and Tom DeFanti, co-chairs of this event, conceived iGrid in 1998 after the U.S. National Science Foundation funded them to create STAR TAP, a persistent infrastructure to connect the world's research and education networks, and wanted to determine which meritorious applications used it. So, having spent years organizing the ACM SIGGRAPH conference, they turned their attention and skills to help shape the advanced networking community.

Over the last 10 years, Brown and DeFanti have been drawing together the international advanced networking community. Countries such as the Netherlands, Canada, Japan, China and Korea are key among the 20 countries planning to participate. While still small in absolute numbers, this community is growing.

The pioneers who saw the benefits of optical networking started meeting in 2001 in Amsterdam. At its 2003 meeting in Reykjavik, Iceland, this group gave itself a name — the Global Lambda Integrated Facility.

GLIF is a virtual organization of 100 institutions and organizations architecting a globally interconnected optical networking infrastructure to advance scientific research. Today's science is primarily computer-based (“e-science”) and is not restricted to geographical boundaries: researchers want to collaborate with worldwide colleagues, access data and share expensive instruments as though they were in the next room. Because of the intellectual communion between iGrid and GLIF, the latter will meet Sept. 29-30, overlapping iGrid.

So, what is it that compels hundreds of the world's networking and applications experts to do so much legwork on top of their “day jobs,” and then spend entire days and nights prior to the event preparing to demonstrate their work?

My guess is that they all love belonging to this community. After several years, they know and respect each other — and they see the exciting progress they're making, both individually and communally. It's an opportunity to work with the best and the brightest — their counterparts in other countries — to make a difference in a technical specialty that fascinates them. Who wouldn't want to be a part of that? Of course, the adrenaline they get every couple of years at iGrid isn't bad either. And then they sleep for days.

Nearly 50 demonstrations are planned that can be classified broadly into services of the following types: e-science, data, lambdas, remote instrumentation, supercomputing, video streaming and visualization. Most involve participation by multiple countries. These activities will be complemented by a parallel schedule of keynotes, panels and master classes.

At last count, more than 400 people were planning to attend. What they experience — including some of the unusual capabilities of the futuristic Calit2 building, such as a 100-million-pixel display wall, virtual reality environments and streaming high-definition video — should give them plenty to talk about.

Subscribe to HPCwire's Weekly Update!

Be the most informed person in the room! Stay ahead of the tech trends with industy updates delivered to you every week!

Nvidia Debuts Turing Architecture, Focusing on Real-Time Ray Tracing

August 16, 2018

From the SIGGRAPH professional graphics conference in Vancouver this week, Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang unveiled Turing, the company's next-gen GPU platform that introduces new RT Cores to accelerate ray tracing and new Tenso Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

HPC Coding: The Power of L(o)osing Control

August 16, 2018

Exascale roadmaps, exascale projects and exascale lobbyists ask, on-again-off-again, for a fundamental rewrite of major code building blocks. Otherwise, so they claim, codes will not scale up. Naturally, some exascale pr Read more…

By Tobias Weinzierl

STAQ(ing) the Quantum Computing Deck

August 16, 2018

Quantum computers – at least for now – remain noisy. That’s another way of saying unreliable and in diverse ways that often depend on the specific quantum technology used. One idea is to mitigate noisiness and perh Read more…

By John Russell

HPE Extreme Performance Solutions

Introducing the First Integrated System Management Software for HPC Clusters from HPE

How do you manage your complex, growing cluster environments? Answer that big challenge with the new HPC cluster management solution: HPE Performance Cluster Manager. Read more…

IBM Accelerated Insights

Super Problem Solving

You might think that tackling the world’s toughest problems is a job only for superheroes, but at special places such as the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, supercomputers are the real heroes. Read more…

NREL ‘Eagle’ Supercomputer to Advance Energy Tech R&D

August 14, 2018

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has contracted with Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) for a new 8-petaflops (peak) supercomputer that will be used to advance early-stage R&a Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

STAQ(ing) the Quantum Computing Deck

August 16, 2018

Quantum computers – at least for now – remain noisy. That’s another way of saying unreliable and in diverse ways that often depend on the specific quantum Read more…

By John Russell

NREL ‘Eagle’ Supercomputer to Advance Energy Tech R&D

August 14, 2018

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has contracted with Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) for a new 8-petaflops (peak Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

CERN Project Sees Orders-of-Magnitude Speedup with AI Approach

August 14, 2018

An award-winning effort at CERN has demonstrated potential to significantly change how the physics based modeling and simulation communities view machine learni Read more…

By Rob Farber

Intel Announces Cooper Lake, Advances AI Strategy

August 9, 2018

Intel's chief datacenter exec Navin Shenoy kicked off the company's Data-Centric Innovation Summit Wednesday, the day-long program devoted to Intel's datacenter Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

SLATE Update: Making Math Libraries Exascale-ready

August 9, 2018

Practically-speaking, achieving exascale computing requires enabling HPC software to effectively use accelerators – mostly GPUs at present – and that remain Read more…

By John Russell

Summertime in Washington: Some Unexpected Advanced Computing News

August 8, 2018

Summertime in Washington DC is known for its heat and humidity. That is why most people get away to either the mountains or the seashore and things slow down. H Read more…

By Alex R. Larzelere

NSF Invests $15 Million in Quantum STAQ

August 7, 2018

Quantum computing development is in full ascent as global backers aim to transcend the limitations of classical computing by leveraging the magical-seeming prop Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

By the Numbers: Cray Would Like Exascale to Be the Icing on the Cake

August 1, 2018

On its earnings call held for investors yesterday, Cray gave an accounting for its latest quarterly financials, offered future guidance and provided an update o Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Leading Solution Providers

SC17 Booth Video Tours Playlist

Altair @ SC17

Altair

AMD @ SC17

AMD

ASRock Rack @ SC17

ASRock Rack

CEJN @ SC17

CEJN

DDN Storage @ SC17

DDN Storage

Huawei @ SC17

Huawei

IBM @ SC17

IBM

IBM Power Systems @ SC17

IBM Power Systems

Intel @ SC17

Intel

Lenovo @ SC17

Lenovo

Mellanox Technologies @ SC17

Mellanox Technologies

Microsoft @ SC17

Microsoft

Penguin Computing @ SC17

Penguin Computing

Pure Storage @ SC17

Pure Storage

Supericro @ SC17

Supericro

Tyan @ SC17

Tyan

Univa @ SC17

Univa

  • arrow
  • Click Here for More Headlines
  • arrow
Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!
Share This