The 17th Annual Global LambaGrid Workshop was held on 25-27 September 2017 at the University of Sydney and was hosted by AARNet. 70 participants from 16 countries came together to hear about the recent developments in Australia and the Pacific region that are supporting high-bandwidth research applications such the Square Kilometre Array, and to discuss how global R&E networks should evolve over the next 5 years. Here are some of the highlights:
The opening keynote was provided by Dr. Shaun Amy (CSIRO) who discussed the data challenges posed by the Square Kilometre Array (SKA). This is a multinational radio telescope initiative that is primarily sited in the Southern Hemisphere (in remote sites in the deserts of Western Australia and South Africa), because it faces the galactic centre and is therefore better placed for observations.
The SKA requires the provision of long-haul, high bandwidth networks to very remote locations, as well as establishing high-performance computing and storage centres for handling and processing the data; expected to be in the order of 300 petabytes per year. This will in turn typically require 100-200 Gb/s connections from each telescope to localised processing facilities, and then onwards to Europe and North America.
Garret Yoshimi (University of Hawaii) then discussed the initiatives expanding R&E networking in the Pacific. This constituted a huge area of scattered islands, and whilst Hawaii is fortunate to have multiple 100 Gb/s circuits to the US and Australia/NZ, much of the rest of the Pacific has limited connectivity. The Pacific Islands Research and Education Network (PIREN) is, therefore, establishing 100 Gb/s links to Guam and onwards to Singapore (SingAREN), with possible future links from Guam to Japan and Australia facilitated by new cable builds in the region. This connectivity is needed to support the Mauna Kea observatories, SKA, coral reef monitoring networks, and research visualisation amongst other applications.
Rommel Hidalgo added some further information about Guam Open Research & Education Exchange (GOREX) that has been established by the University of Hawaii, AARNet, CENIC and Pacific Wave, with the University of Guam hosting and operating the facility and NSRC providing campus network design capacity building. This aims to take advantage of the strategic location of Guam, and to improve access to global R&E networks from Pacific Island nations whilst improving resilience in the region.
The participants then heard about other specific applications taking advantage of the GLIF infrastructure, including from David Abramson (University of Queensland) on the MeDIiCI infrastructure that extends data caching across the Pacific, and from Joe Mambretti (Northwestern University) on the Global Research Platform which is using SDN to create a distributed scientific compute and storage cloud.
This was followed by an interesting talk from Tomohiro Kudoh (University of Tokyo) on how energy consumption of conventional communication networks is becoming difficult to meet, despite the improvements in the energy efficiency of equipment. One solution may be Dynamic Optical Path Networking offering all-optical switching, and the VICTORIES project supported by the Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture and Sports in collaboration with AIST has developed a testbed offering much lower energy consumption combined with lower latency and the potential to support quantum networking in the future.
The Global Lambda Integrated Facility (GLIF) is an international virtual organisation of NRENs, consortia and institutions that promotes lambda networking. GLIF provides lambdas internationally as an integrated facility to support data-intensive scientific research, and supports middleware development for lambda networking. It brings together some of the world’s premier networking engineers to develop an international infrastructure by identifying equipment, connection requirements, and necessary engineering functions and services.
More information is available on the GLIF website
Featured Map acknowledgements:
The Global Lambda Integrated Facility (GLIF) Map 2017 visualization was created by Robert Patterson of the Advanced Visualization Laboratory (AVL) at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC), using an Earth image provided by NASA with texture retouching by Jeff Carpenter, NCSA. Data was compiled by Maxine D. Brown of the Electronic Visualization Laboratory (EVL) at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). Support was provided by GLIF, NCSA/UIUC, and the State of Illinois.
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