Scientists Reveal at SC11 Conference Advancements in 100 Gbps Networks Needed For Next Generation Research and Discovery

November 17, 2011

SEATTLE -- Nov. 17, 2011-- At the 24th annual SC Conference (SC11), the foremost international high-performance computing conference, researchers today demonstrated advancements in developing 100 Gbps networks within the U.S. and internationallythat are necessary for the next generation of research and discovery.

”Next generation science increasingly requires investigations based on extremely large volumes of data that must be transported across wide distances with exceptionally high performance,” said Bill Fink, advanced technology researcher at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. “For example, NASA is developing a next generation network platform to support a wide range of strategic research projects, in such areas of advanced networking, climate science, earth science and astrophysics.”

Many new high-performance data-intensive research investigations, called petascale science, will be increasingly applied to discovery domains, including weather and climate simulation, nuclear simulations, cosmology, quantum chemistry, lower-level organism brain simulation, and fusion science. Current networks provisioned for 10 Gbps do not provide sufficient rate, time and volume performance for many emerging applications. Petascale science involves not only the creation of massive datasets generated at supercomputer, instrumentation, and experimental facilities, but also subsequent analysis of that data by a user community that may be distributed across many laboratories and universities, across the U.S. and across the world. Exceptionally time-efficient data flows for petascale science over wide areas are persistent requirements for many advanced research disciplines. These projects are developing techniques to optimize WAN file transfer at 100 Gbps in part by designing data-transfer utilities, protocols, and techniques that enable extremely high sustained end-to-end flows, including disk-to-disk and memory-to-memory.

The NASA Center for Climate Simulation is using high-performance computing to flow 100’s of terabytes of high-resolution climate forecasts from its Goddard Institute for Space Studies as well as its Global Modeling and Assimilation Office groups. These high-resolution climate forecasts will be major contributors to the next United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Assessment Report, which will be published in 2013.

NASA also has established a partnership with the International Center for Advanced Internet Research at Northwestern University (iCAIR) and the Laboratory for Advanced Computing (LAC) at the University of Chicago (LAC) to investigate novel architecture, technology (including new protocols), and techniques for data-intensive scientific investigation based on 100 Gbps capabilities. As part of this research, iCAIR and LAC are conducting experimental investigations, using novel cloud technology for data-intensive science on a national Open Science Data Cloud testbed, which is supported by the Open Cloud Consortium.

NASA has had an ongoing collaborative relationship with the Mid-Atlantic Exchange (MAX) for over 15 years experimenting with and implementing new network technologies. The MAX also provides NASA Goddard Space Flight Center's (GSFC) High End Computer Networking (HECN) group with connectivity to high-speed research and educational networks.

Background Information

The SC11 network demonstrations were provisioned on a 100 Gbps testbed extending from the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, through the MidAtlantic Crossroads Exchange (MAX) near Washington DC to the StarLight International/National Communications Exchange in Chicago to the SC11 network (SCinet) at the conference center in Seattle. In Chicago, the Metropolitan Research and Education Network (MREN) is supporting the demonstrations with StarWave, a multi 100 Gbps exchange facility. Internet2 supports the 100 Gbps path between MAX and StarLight, and the Department of Energy’s Energy Sciences network (ESnet) supports the 100 Gbps path between StarLight and Seattle. These demonstrations were established in partnership with multiple corporations, including Ciena, Alcatel, Fujitsu, Brocade, Force10, and Juniper, which provided the wide range of advanced 100 Gbps technology used at the SC11 conference to establish the conference’s 100 Gbps network and to support the national 100 Gbps testbed. The conference demonstrations were part of the SCinet Research Sandbox, an activity that supports advanced networking collaborations, including a partnership with the SC Technical Program.

About NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center is home to the nation's largest organization of combined scientists, engineers and technologists that build spacecraft, instruments and new technology to study the Earth, the sun, our solar system, and the universe. (

About the International Center for Advanced Internet Research (iCAIR) at Northwestern University

The International Center for Advanced Internet Research (iCAIR) at Northwestern University accelerates leading-edge innovation and enhanced global communications through advanced technologies, in partnership with numerous international community, and national partners. iCAIR partners with the Electronic Visualization Laboratory (EVL) at University of Illinois at Chicago, Argonne National Laboratory, and Calit2/UCSD, in collaboration with Canada's CANARIE and the Netherlands' SURFnet, to manage and grow the StarLight optical network exchange. (

About StarLight

StarLight is the world's most advanced national and international communications exchange facility. StarLight provides advanced networking services and technologies that are optimized for high-performance, large-scale metro, regional, national and global applications. With funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF), StarLight was designed and developed by researchers, for researchers. StarLight is managed by the Electronic Visualization Laboratory (EVL) at the University of Illinois at Chicago, the International Center for Advanced Internet Research (iCAIR) at Northwestern University, the Mathematics and Computer Science Division at Argonne National Laboratory, and Calit2 at University of California, San Diego, in partnership with Canada's CANARIE national networking organization and The Netherlands' SURFnet. (

About the MidAtlantic Crossroads Exchange (MAX)

The MidAtlantic Crossroads exchange (MAX) is a regional optical network consortium founded by Georgetown University, George Washington University, the University of Maryland, and Virginia Tech. MAX serves Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia region with a suite of advanced networking service capabilities, including advanced optical-based networking facilities in McLean, VA and College Park, MD. MAX is implementing 100G services, including 100G interfaces to interconnect with major national R&E networks and the NGIX-E exchange. (

About the Metropolitan Research and Education Network (MREN)

The Metropolitan Research and Education Network (MREN), an advanced research and education (R&E) network provides services among seven states in the upper Midwest, including the management of a metro-area optical networking facility located at the StarLight International/National Communications Exchange Facility. The MREN facility exclusively focuses on providing service and infrastructure support for large-scale data-intensive R&E activities. (www.mren,org)

About the Laboratory for Advanced Computing

The Laboratory of Advanced Computing (LAC) at the University of Chicago performs research in the analysis of big data, data-intensive computing, cloud computing and high-performance networking. (

About the Open Cloud Consortium (OCC)

The Open Cloud Consortium (OCC) manages cloud computing infrastructure to support scientific research, such as the Open Science Data Cloud, cloud computing testbeds, such as the Open Cloud Testbed, develops reference implementations, benchmarks and standards, such as the MalStone Benchmark, sponsors workshops and other events related to cloud computing, and provides support to advanced research projects related to cloud technology. The Open Cloud Consortium is a consortium managed by the Center for Computational Science Research, Inc., which is an Illinois based not-for-profit corporation. (

About SCinet

During the SC conferences, one of the most powerful and advanced networks in the world -- SCinet -- is implemented. Provisioned each year for the duration of the conference, SCinet brings to life a highly sophisticated, very-high-capacity networking infrastructure that supports the revolutionary applications and network experiments that are the trademark of the SC Conference. SCinet serves as the platform for exhibitors to demonstrate the advanced computing resources of their home institutions and elsewhere by supporting a wide variety of bandwidth-driven applications including supercomputing and cloud computing. SCinet is created through a unique body of volunteers that are world-class subject matter experts who have amassed an incredible breadth and depth of networking and network construction experience.

About Internet2

Internet2, whose network is owned by U.S. research universities, is one of the world’s most advanced networking consortium for global researchers and scientists who develop breakthrough Internet technologies and applications and spark tomorrow’s essential innovations. Internet2 consists of more than 350 U.S. universities; corporations; government agencies; laboratories; higher learning; and other major national, regional and state research and education networks; and organizations representing more than 50 countries. Internet2 is a registered trademark. (

About ESnet

The Energy Sciences Network (ESnet) is a high-speed network serving thousands of Department of Energy scientists and collaborators worldwide. A pioneer in providing high-bandwidth, reliable connections, ESnet enables researchers at national laboratories, universities, and other institutions to communicate with each other using the collaborative capabilities needed to address some of the world's most important scientific challenges. Managed and operated by the ESnet staff at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, ESnet provides direct high-bandwidth connections to all major DOE sites, multiple cross connections with Internet2/Abilene, and connections to Europe via GEANT and to Japan via SuperSINET, as well as fast interconnections to more than 100 other networks. Funded principally by DOE's Office of Science, ESnet services allow scientists to make effective use of unique DOE research facilities and computing resources, independent of time and geographic location. (

About SC11

SC11, sponsored by the IEEE Computer Society and the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), offers a complete technical education program and exhibition to showcase the many ways high-performance computing, networking, storage and analysis lead to advances in scientific discovery, research, education and commerce. This premier international conference includes a globally attended technical program, workshops, tutorials, a world class exhibit area, demonstrations and opportunities for hands-on learning. For more information on SC10, please visit:

Last Updated: 20 December 2011