December 1997 meant the start for the second phase of an Esprit funded project with ambitious aims for the support of dynamically changing network configurations. The 18 month project Arches II will try to expand the potential range of market applications through continuous refinement and consolidation of Heterogeneous InterConnect (HIC) technologies, and exploit standards, based on the IEEE 1355 international standard network technology. Partners from six different European countries participate in the initiative to ensure a broad take-up of the HIC know how. The Lübeck Medical University is one of the involved parties as an end-user for medical image and simulation applications.
The project team particularly will concentrate on the deployment of four major activities. The first one constitutes the development of both component and network technology in order to meet the urgent customers' demands for faster and cheaper connectivity as well as higher bandwidth capacities. The second task consists in promoting the compatibility of the IEEE 1355 interconnection standards with the alternative interfacing and communications standards, such as PCI, SCI, Asynchronous Transfer Mode, Fibre Channel, Token Ring and Ethernet.
Next follows demonstration on a large scale test-bed of the optimized HIC technology, in order to transmit both feedback to the technology providers and exploitation experience to possible end-users of the various applications. In fourth place, the Arches team will provide a forum for potential customers to directly engage them in the process of information exchange between the different implementation projects and the technology providers. The forum will also serve as a guidance to both optimize the component design and enhance the effectiveness of the extensive applications development.
Secondary but likewise important goals of Arches II are the production of macrocells, algorithms for dynamic network support, and toolset software to introduce requirements input for further product developments. By 1999, a number of concrete products should be made available. For this purpose, NetWiz, a GBit-Ethernet switch vendor, has been asked to join the project consortium to materialize the exploitation of the GBit-Ethernet switching technology during and after the Arches project.
Two end-users will benefit from this innovative technology in commercially relevant application areas for high performance computing (HPC). Both the University of Amsterdam and the University of Lübeck will prove the functionality of the GBit-Ethernet communication technology in conjunction with the German Parsytec HPC clusters. In May 1999, a medical application demonstration will take place at Lübeck Medical University. For more technical information, we refer to the Arches II Web site.