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SCinet conference network

High-performance confab runs super-fast network, temporarily

When you think of Utah, lots of things probably come to mind. Beautiful, open country, copper mining, cowboys and the Great Salt Lake probably begin most lists. But no matter how far down that list you go, the world’s fastest computer network probably doesn’t normally make the cut. But for this week, it should probably be on there.

That’s because SC12,  the international conference for high-performance computer networking, storage and analysis, is in Salt Lake this week. There are engineers from government, industry and academia presenting their findings on major computing projects that will affect the world in big ways in the near future.

But being a hands-on kind of conference, the presenters needed some way to show off their cool new findings to the world. As such, SCinet was born. The product of work donated by more than 100 people and $28 million in equipment, the network will support over 10,000 attendees at the show, making SCinet itself a bit of a showcase achievement.

The network, a collaborative effort of volunteers from government, universities and industry, provides more than 100-gigabits/sec capacity, linking the convention to many of the world’s top research networks, including the Energy Department’s ESnet, Internet2, LambdaRail and others, which donated bandwidth to the conference.

“In addition to supporting the extreme demands of the HPC [high-performance computing] -based demonstrations that have become the trademark of the conference, SCinet also seeks to foster and highlight developments in network research that will be necessary to support the next-generation of science applications,” said Brian Tierney, SCinet Research Sandbox (SRS) co-chair for SC12 and head of ESnet’s Advanced Network Technologies Group. “Both 100 [gigabits/sec] networking and OpenFlow have become some of the most influential networking technologies of this decade. SRS allows the community to showcase innovations on these platforms while in their infancy to demonstrate the impact they may have on the entire HPC community in the future.”

The SC12 conference itself  is showing off everything from Hadoop over WAN to security methods for terabit cloud computing, though I’m most impressed with SCinet itself.

You know, when you say it real fast, it sounds a lot like Skynet, the evil computer network that took over the world in the Terminator movies. Probably just a coincidence. Right?

Posted by John Breeden II on Nov 15, 2012 at 9:39 AM


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