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Promoting Technology to Enhance Innovative Collaborations

Nov 15, 2013, by Stephen Wolff
Tags: Community-Driven Innovation, Executive Insights, Member Update, Research, Research Support

As we all get ready to attend SC13, held November 17–22, it’s a great time to remind ourselves how Internet2 has been powered since its inception by the community that created it, cultivated it, and now determines its course forward. In its seventeen years, Internet2 has evolved from network operator to technology ecosystem to promote and expand scientific collaboration and network research.

This year’s annual Supercomputing Conference, held in Denver, Colorado, offers an opportunity to recognize and celebrate our community at Booth 3701, with the theme: “Powered by Community.” The Community Showcase will highlight work involving advanced networking our members have undertaken using Internet2 resources. Beyond the booth, Internet2 also will be providing significant support for member demos, and will contribute to SCinet (the network supporting SC demos) by providing three 100GE connections from the Advanced Layer 2 and Advanced Layer 3 services (with partner ESnet providing an additional four 100G circuits).

Internet2’s 100GE capabilities support key components of next-generation network technology, which plays a critical role in enabling new areas of important member research, including multidisciplinary Big Data collaborations, initiatives that utilize Internet2 Innovation Platform (combining 100G network capabilities, SDN and a Science DMZ), major global research and education partnerships, and the convergence of computational network storage capacities. Think of the most significant recent trends in science and engineering and the major research initiatives they involve; would Big Data exist without advanced networks? Genomic research, the Large Hadron Collider, the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope—these major international partnerships rely on new network advances. The ability to generate, save, and share such large data sets has ushered in entirely new methods of scientific research that weren’t possible previously. Referred to as the Fourth Paradigm, today’s science is characterized by velocity, visualization, and unstructured data. To accommodate this, Internet2 is expanding its Innovation Platform to member campuses to increase access to high bandwidth, programmable networking campus-wide.

As research increasingly becomes more global, these capabilities also allow Internet2 to foster and enhance major international partnerships that would not otherwise be possible. Think of how many member universities are establishing remote campuses in other countries and how many campus colleagues are involved in international collaborations. All of these rely on scalable and interoperable network capabilities that can often be challenged by incompatible regionally specific standards. Internet2 is contributing to globalization efforts by coordinating NSF-funded initiatives that foster research and education collaboration between multiple campuses in the US and China, addressing ways to enhance global connectivity. For example, at a recent workshop coordinated with Chinese partners by Internet2 with NSF funding, trans-Pacific genomic big data was transferred among multiple collaborating networks in a demonstration enabled by American and Chinese network engineers. It showcased the ability to develop and deploy scientific applications that transfer massive amounts of data across multiple administrative domains, enhancing the increasing trend of global scientific collaboration.

As international research initiatives continue to grow, the trend of “Team Science” emerges—relying on exchange of ideas, data, and disciplinary perspectives. One example is the “Condo of Condos Consortium” led by Internet2 member Clemson University. This project focuses on transforming computational capacity and advancing research capabilities nationwide by expanding the aggregation of university-located NSF resources into shared systems, frequently referred to as “condominium clusters.” This multi-institutional, multidisciplinary consortium will promote implementation of Internet2’s high-performance Innovation Platform to support innovative broadband capabilities, create a community of shared knowledge, and leverage NSF investments and campus CI innovations to transform knowledge discovery and education.

The Internet2 community is also facilitating convergence of network storage capacities as challenges increase in the generation and storage of data that are derived from multiple locations worldwide. As the need increases for remote data exchange and archiving, Internet2 members are actively fostering the development of computational models as well as multicomputer, network, and storage architectures as converging disciplines. Through technical consultation for member CC-NIE initiatives, coordination and leadership of NSF-funded workshops and onsite campus visits to enhance Campus Cyberinfrastructure, Internet2 is helping members anticipate and respond to rapidly changing technology needs to accommodate advances in research.

All of these will be on display at Internet2’s SC booth, where demonstrations will include collaboration capabilities in Europe, Japan, and Korea, and where presentations will include member initiatives in High-Energy Physics, Life Sciences, Climate Research, and Computational Science. Presenters will include researchers from NOAA, Indiana University, Clemson University, and XSEDE, among others. Please be sure to visit Booth #3701 and discuss these initiatives in person.