Global Network

IN DECEMBER, THIS PAST YEAR, COMPUTER USERS at workstations around the world were treated to an on-line performance of one of the world's most popular rock and roll bands--the Rolling Stones! As part of their concert tour, the Stones allowed their performance before 50,000 fans in the Cotton Bowl in Dallas to be sent out "live" to signed-on Internet users all over the globe. The technology that made this historical event possible is called the "Multicast Backbone," or "M-Bone," and LBL computer scientists were among its principal creators. With conventional electronic correspondence, information is transmitted to a single location. With the M-Bone, the network distributes information from senders to every signed-on receiver. M-Bone is designed to dynamically construct what are called "information distribution trees" using the shortest and most efficient routes. This built-in efficiency prevents congestion that can collapse the Internet, even when the information being transmitted includes video. Though the Rolling Stones concert performance brought M-Bone to the attention of millions, it has been and continues to be used by scientists and engineers for serious research purposes. It has, for example, provided round-the-clock coverage of space shuttle flights; an opportunity for surgeons to observe a complex liver operation as it took place; and a forum for Ph.D candidates to interactively present their dissertations to committee members. M-Bone's creators see the technology as a less expensive and far more accessible replacement for teleconferencing.

LBL's World Wide Web home page is the index to an archive of electronic
information to which more than 100,000 visitors have logged on.

On the global computer network known as the World Wide Web, LBL was among the first of what are now more than 10,000 organizations to create their own on-line library of information. As with the World Wide Web itself, the number of people using the Web at LBL is mushrooming. More than 100,000 visitors have logged onto the Laboratory's home page, and during an average week some 12,000 files are retrieved by people all over the world.

News about LBL's research findings, including full text versions of Currents, the Lab's weekly newspaper, and Research Review, the quarterly magazine, can be accessed electronically via the Internet. Also accessible is a voluminous body of scientific reference material including information on life sciences, physics, chemistry and the materials sciences, energy and environmental sciences, and computing.

Anyone with access to the Internet can connect to LBL's home page using software such as Netscape, Mosaic, lynx, or gopher. The address or URL for LBL is href=""

Not all computer work is done on-line, of course. CD-ROMs have become the latest rage for users at home or on the job. To make life a little easier for nuclear science researchers and students who need to do literature searches but cannot access the on-line databases, collaborators at LBL and Lund University in Sweden have developed a CD-ROM that holds the bibliographic data for every important paper published on nuclear structure since 1910. From the early studies by Ernest Rutherford, discoverer of the atomic nucleus, to recent experiments on the transuranium elements at LBL and elsewhere, the CD-ROM, which is called "Papyrus NSR," contains all the listings found in Nuclear Structure References, the on-line physics database maintained at Brookhaven National Laboratory. Papyrus NSR is distributed free through LBL's Isotopes Project.

Return to the Table of Contents of the 1994 Regents Report