Contact: Jon Bashor, [email protected],
November 16, 2001
DENVER, Colo. For the second year in a row, a team led by
high-performance computing experts from the U.S. Department of Energy's
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory took top honors in a contest
to move the most data across the network built around SC, the annual
conference of high-performance computing and networking which concluded
Nov. 16. The winning application was a live visualization of a simulation
of colliding black holes.
An intercontinental collaborative performance organized by the
University of Florida's Digital Worlds Institute, featuring dancers
in Denver, Minneapolis and Florida accompanied by musicians in Brazil,
took the prize for the "Most Courageous and Creative" effort. A
team from the San Diego Supercomputer Center and the University
of California at San Diego using the network to remotely operate
an electron microscope was recognized for having the "Best Network-Enabled
SC2001, held this week in Denver, marked the second staging of
the Bandwidth Challenge in which researchers with high-bandwidth
applications were invited to push the network infrastructure's multi-gigabit
links to their limits with demonstrations of leading-edge computer
applications. During the 2001 Network Bandwidth Challenge, teams
of researchers from around the world used SCinet, the conference
fiber-optic network, to demonstrate applications using huge amounts
of distributed data.
For the conference, the SCinet team assembled a special network
infrastructure that featured a 14.5 gigabit wide-area network connection
over multiple OC-48 links to the exhibit floor and connections to
most high-speed national research networks.
"The network is often overlooked in terms of its contribution to
enabling scientific discovery in areas of interest to such research
organizations as the Department of Energy, and to advancing communication
and understanding around the world," said Walt Polansky, one of
the competition judges and acting director of DOE's Mathematical,
Information and Computational Sciences Division. "This Network Bandwidth
Challenge shines the spotlight on the network and the people who
operate and push network technologies, and provides an opportunity
to demonstrate innovative applications across all disciplines."
The Network Bandwidth Challenge was held under the theme of "Veni,
Vidi, Conexui Maxime," Latin for "I came, I saw, I connected
to the max."
The Berkeley Lab team, which included collaborators in Illinois
and Germany, created a live visualization of a simulation of colliding
black holes computed in real time at supercomputing centers in Berkeley,
Calif., and Champaign, Illinois. This required the integration of
computational tools in many disciplines. The team achieved a sustained
network performance level of 3.3 gigabits per second (3.3 billion
bits of data).
Judges commented that the team's application was a useful tool
for allowing scientists to view results from their data stored at
distant and dispersed computing sites.
The courageous and creative winner, "Dancing Beyond Boundaries,"
moved about 30 million bits of data per second. The project was
designed to "explore whether internationally distributed dancers,
musicians, graphic artists, videographers, and choreographers can
create, rehearse, and perform a new collaborative work using the
Internet2, multiple network-conferencing nodes and a select number
of high quality video and audio streams." Judges praised the ability
of participants to adapt to a new medium, overcoming logistical,
artistic and language hurdles.
The judges added a third category for the "Best Network-Enabled
Application" to recognize the "Telescience Video and Data Services"
project. The application, which achieved sustained performance of
moving 32 megabits (millions of bits) of data over the network,
sought to move data in new ways, as opposed to trying to move the
most data. The group transferred a live video stream from a high-energy
transmission electron microscope in San Diego to the demonstration
floor in Denver. One judge noted, "This application was head and
shoulders above the others in terms of using a network to integrate
and deliver an effective application."
The competition was sponsored in part by Qwest Telecommunications.
"Qwest is pleased to support the Network Bandwidth Challenge for
the second year in a row," said Wesley Kaplow, chief technology
officer for Qwest Government Systems. "The diversity of applications,
from art to physics to remote control of an electron microscope,
truly shows the power enabled by gigabit networks."
The SC2001 conference concluded its seven-day run on Friday, Nov.
16. Next year's SC conference will be held Nov. 16-22 in Baltimore.