Calient, a carrier-class photonic switching systems and software provider, and MCNC, a network research facility and non-profit provider of network services to North Carolina universities and state government, have partnered to integrate optical control plane and Grid computing technologies for research purposes. Working with the Center for Computation & Technology (CCT) at LSU in conjunction with the Louisiana Optical Network Initiative (LONI), MCNC and Calient are providing new optical network capabilities to drive extreme-scale scientific applications. At SC|05, CCT and LONI are demonstrating how the control of high-speed networks can be coupled to computing resources, data storage archives, and visualization services for enhancing the study of highly complex and computation intensive scientific problems such as the modelling of black holes and other sources of gravitational waves.
"Network infrastructures are no longer commodity 'plumbing' tools but integral components for 'virtual' research teams that rely on resources, both human and physical, residing in various geographic locations", stated John Crites, president and CEO of MCNC. "The combined technological expertise between MCNC and Calient together with other research partners will increase innovation from National Research & Education Networks (NRENs) and foster more scientific collaboration."
"Calient was an early pioneer in delivering optical switching and GMPLS technologies, and has developed great expertise in NRENs demonstrated by their successful involvement in the SuperSINET and JGN-2 programmes in Japan", stated Mark Johnson, chief technology officer at MCNC. "We are pleased to partner with them, having already seen positive results."
"MCNC operates the nationally-recognized North Carolina Research and Education Network (NCREN) and has a world-class team with a history of pioneering advanced network research", stated Charles Corbalis, CEO and president at Calient. "Not only are they leading the Experiment Support Services effort for the National LambdaRail but they are also involved in many other advanced network projects. We are committed to helping them achieve their goals of supporting next-generation network initiatives."
Calient's DiamondWave PXC optical switch has been deployed at MCNC's site in Raleigh, and will be the base of a new optical exchange to spur research activity throughout North Carolina universities and facilitate national and international research.
A working relationship already existed between MCNC and LONI based on shared experiences in operating regional networks dedicated to research and education. "We recognized the value of bringing Calient switches to both LONI and NCREN to enable better provisioning of our optical network resources", stated Mark Johnson. LONI has already achieved early success with integrating the Calient DiamondWave PXC product deployed in Baton Rouge with Grid middleware developed by the CCT. "The ability to dynamically allocate bandwidth, co-ordinate network intelligence, and vertically integrate Grid computing with network services is a linchpin for worldwide NREN collaboration", added Gigi Karmous-Edwards, principal scientist at MCNC and also the chair of the Control Plane and Grid Integration Middleware Working Group at the Global Lambda Integrated Facility (GLIF).
"Since our research required real-time cooperation and dynamic connectivity between supercomputer sites in Louisiana and with European collaborators we needed new transport protocols and dynamic optical network configurations", stated Ed Seidel, CCT director and research scientist. With the network and attached resources, researchers can also share huge data sets of information around the world instantly, such as complex models of storm surge or path predictions. "More accurate projections can now be realized", stated Ed Seidel. "Network provisioning allows for faster, complex real-time problem resolution."
"Despite the impact of recent hurricanes in Louisiana, together with Calient and MCNC resources and researchers, we were able to showcase this new network capability in a relatively short time period. These recent disasters proved the value of collaborative support", stated Charlie McMahon, director of LSU Office of Telecommunication. As soon as communications were re-established after the storms, MCNC and Calient personnel were in touch with LSU CCT and doubled their efforts to help LONI get ready for networked computer simulation demonstrations at the October iGRID 2005 and SC|05.