World's fastest network

Gene Collins collins at
Mon Mar 10 10:11:20 EST 2003

Here is an interesting article I thought you all might find interesting.
 I can only imagine accessing a network with this much bandwidth.


SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING                                                HPCwire

Fiber optic links between Los Angeles and Chicago have been "lit up" to form
the cross-country network backbone for the National Science Foundation's $88
million TeraGrid project. Technicians are sending the first test data packets
racing across the network, which boasts an unprecedented bandwidth--roughly 1
million times the speed of a typical dial-up Internet connection and four
times faster than existing research networks.

At 40 gigabits per second, the new "backplane," developed in partnership with
Qwest Communications, will connect the resources of the TeraGrid, a multiyear
effort to build and deploy the world's largest, fastest, distributed computing
infrastructure for open scientific research. Scientists will use the TeraGrid
to make fundamental discoveries in fields as varied as biomedicine, global
climate, and astrophysics. The first applications will begin to use the
TeraGrid capabilities from all sites this spring.

The TeraGrid partners are the National Center for Supercomputing Applications
(NCSA); the San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC); Argonne National Laboratory
(Argonne); the Caltech Center for Advanced Computing Research (CACR); and the
Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center (PSC). When completed, the TeraGrid will
include 20 teraflops of computing power, facilities capable of managing and
storing nearly one petabyte of data, high-resolution visualization
environments, and toolkits for grid computing.

The backplane consists of four 10 Gb/s optical fiber "lambdas" (light
pipelines) running from a major Internet hub in Los Angeles to the StarLight
hub in Chicago and three 10 Gb/s lambdas to each site. Juniper Networks
provided the routers-- the first in the nation available to handle the
combined 40 Gb/s fiber traffic.

"With our network operational, the scientific research community will soon
gain access to a rich set of computing and data management resources and grid
infrastructure that will transform computational science and engineering,"
said Dan Reed, director of NCSA and chief architect of the TeraGrid project.
"This network backplane is optimized for the communication requirements of the
largest scientific applications, and it will make possible the next generation
of scientific breakthroughs."

"Our TeraGrid network will enable remote access to large-scale data
collections, nationwide backups, and other critical activities for data-
oriented computing," said Fran Berman, director of SDSC and chair of the
TeraGrid Executive Committee.

Argonne's Linda Winkler, TeraGrid network architect, led the effort to design,
select, and install the network. "A key design criterion was that all the
TeraGrid resources appear to be part of a single facility," she said. "The
vendors were selected to help us stay at the cutting edge. The design allows
new sites to be connected to the TeraGrid network in the future."

"This is an historic, major step forward for our national
cyberinfrastructure," said PSC scientific directors Michael Levine and Ralph
Roskies in a joint statement. "This unprecedented bandwidth will facilitate
work on many important projects, from biomedicine, storm forecasting, and
climate change to fundamental physics and chemistry."

Qwest Communications provided the fiber lambdas for the TeraGrid network.
"Qwest is delighted to reach this milestone in the creation of the NSF
TeraGrid," said Wesley K. Kaplow, chief technology officer for Qwest's
Government Services Division. "This is the culmination of three years of
working with these research groups, supporting their goals with financial,
conference, and network services."

Kaplow noted that Qwest was a founding supporter of the Global Grid Forum,
which unites grid researchers worldwide, and that it has provided extensive
network services for the annual Supercomputing Conference as well as support
for other networking projects. "Qwest looks forward to this continuing
relationship and the development of network and application technology that
the TeraGrid will deliver," Kaplow said.

For more information on the NSF TeraGrid project, see


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