Advanced Application Topics
- Advanced Application Demonstrations and Showcases
iCAIR has facilities that provide for proof-of-concept advanced network based services, for example, to allow for early deployment of advanced applications over next generation networks. These facilities can be used by research communities and others interested in early access to advanced technology capabilities and services. iCAIR also showcases advanced technologies at various local, national, and international forums, such as the iGRID events, international supercomputing conferences, networking conferences, technology workshops, organizational forums, and other venues.
- iGRID Conferences
The primary showcase of the world's most advanced network based applications are the biannual iGRID conferences, events that demonstrate the power and potential of the "international Grid." Many excellent next generation applications have been demonstrated at the iGrid international applications and technology showcases. These iGRID demonstrations are organized by the Electronic Visualization Lab at the University of Illinois at Chicago along with other organizational partners. The goal of iGRID is to showcase the evolution and importance of global research community networking, especially by demonstrating applications being prototyped on the Global Grid. iGrid highlights achievements in Grid architecture development and the advancements enabled in science, engineering, cultural heritage, distance education, media communications, and art and architecture. Recently, such demonstrations have been showcases the potential for the "Global Lambda Grid," distributed infrastructure based on dynamic lightpath provisioning.
iCAIR was one of the organizing partners of (iGRID2005), which was designed to showcase next generation applications applications based on leading edge optical networking. With its research partners, iCAIR developed several demonstrations for this conference. One demonstrated a new method for supporting computational astrophysics modeling, using adaptive mesh refinement techniques, on a distributed infrastructure based on dynamic lightpath provisioning. In September 2002, EVL at UIC and its partners in the Netherlands led the organization of iGRID2002, which took place in Amsterdam. iCAIR was also one of the organizing partners of iGRID2002 and demonstrated several applications that involved its OMNInet testbed . The applications demonstrated at the iGRID conferences are particularly bandwidth intensive and most are based on Grid computing infrastructure. During the iGRID2000 in Yokahama, Japan, 24 demonstrations were shown, featuring technical innovations and application advancements, including those requiring Teleimmersion, large datasets, distributed computing, remote instrumentation, collaboration, human/computer interfaces, streaming media, digital video and high-definition television. During that conference, 14 countries participated: Canada, CERN, Germany, Greece, Japan, Korea, Mexico, The Netherlands, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan, United Kingdom, USA. iCAIR demonstrated the world's first International Global Digital Video Network. At this showcase, iCAIR and its research partners provided a series of digital media demonstrations. In 1998, during the national Supercomputing conference in Orlando, a variety of iGRID science demonstrations were shown that required high performance networking and computing. iCAIR, in partnership with NASA, demonstrated network based 3D scientific visualizations of astrophysics modeling.
- GLIF Conferences
iCAIR demonstrates advanced technology at the annual Global Lambda Integrated Facility (GLIF) conferences. iCAIR is a founding participant of the international GLIF organization. GLIF promotes advanced concepts in dynamic optical networking. Also, GLIF provides optical fiber based lightpaths internationally as an integrated facility to support data-intensive scientific research, and advanced middleware development for lightpath based networking. GLIF participants include the world's premier networking engineers, who are working together to develop an international infrastructure by identifying new services, connection requirements, and the necessary engineering functions and operational processes required to support those services. GLIF participants include National Research and Education Networks (NRENs) and consortia and institutions with active projects related to lightpath provisioning. Administrative support is provided by TERENA.
- SC Conferences
iCAIR demonstrates advanced technology each year at the major international supercomputing conference, the SC Conference. The SC Conference is the premier international conference for high performance computing (HPC), networking, storage, and analysis. Recently, iCAIR with one of its partners, the National Center for Data Mining won several awards at SC Conferences, including the Bandwidth Challenge. Recent demonstrations have showcased novel protocols, dynamic inter and intra domain lightpath provisioning, high performance data transport and new techniques for optical multicast.
- Global Grids
images, digital media, and other digital information. They also provide support for direct access to remote specialized instrumentation and unique facilities, and for new types of applications. These technologies allow global virtual organizations to be designed and implemented dynamically, supporting a wide range of basic functionality enterprise-wide that can be customized locally to meet precise needs. (Ref: The GRID: Blueprint for a New Computing Infrastructure, Ed. Foster Keselman, Ref: Grid Computing)
A number of iCAIR projects are directed at creating new methods and technologies that allow networks to be "first class" resources within Grid environments, in other words allowing them to be controlled by standard Grid middleware processes. Today almost all Grids use common routed networks as external resources, as opposed to resources integrated into the Grid environment. When network resources are fully integrated into Grid environments, many new capabilities can be implemented, nation-wide and eventually world-wide. Some large scale Grid implementations use networks not for standard communications infrastructure but as backplanes for highly distributed, high performance computational clusters, comprised of hundreds or thousands of individual compute nodes which may be located across a nation or across the globe. Several iCAIR research projects are designing new techniques and technologies for such distributed backplanes. (Ref: Grid Networks: Enabling Grids with Advanced Communication Technology, Eds. F. Travostino, J. Mambretti, G. Karmous-Edwards, Wiley, 2006)
- Data Grids
Data Grids represent class of highly distributed system resource, based on high performance networks, designed specifically to manage and exchange large volumes of data from multiple sites and to provide coordination among various related distributed resources, such as scientific instrumentation. They are termed “Data Grid” because they are more data intensive than compute intensive. New information technology infrastructures based on Data Grid concepts allow for collaboration and resource sharing among many highly distributed communities. Many current Data Grids have been developed by large-scale e-Science communities.
- Large-Scale e-Science
iCAIR is a partner in many projects related to large-scale, high performance e-Science applications, which have always been one of the primary drivers of next generation technologies. These data, bandwidth and computationally intensive applications include many that that utilizes computational Grids - high energy physics, astrophysics, bioinformatics, computational biology, computational chemistry, data mining, high resolution visualization, digital engineering, geosciences, oceanographic and atmospheric studies, advanced digital media, medical imaging, financial data management, and e-commerce. Underlying such discipline-specific applications are other, cross-cutting applications, such as digital video, remote access to scientific instruments, specialized virtual-reality such as Teleimmersion, and high-performance distributed systems.
- Photonic Empowered Applications
iCAIR's advanced networking infrastructure design and development projects are directed at a new class of applications based on extremely high performance optical communications - Photonic Empowered Applications. The term "Photonic-Empowered Applications" refers to multiple, global, next-generation applications that are being designed and developed to utilize highly distributed facilities (including those based on resources at sites world-wide). These are resource intensive applications - e.g., computationally intensive, bandwidth intensive, storage system intensive, et al. However, in addition, they are distinguished also by their utilization of advanced data communications based on dynamic multi-wavelength lightpath provisioning and supported by more flexible DWDM-based networking technology than that which is implemented in today's static point-to-point optical networks. These techniques can transport large amounts of data directly on lightpaths over global fabrics.They are also optical network "aware" - that is, they have a capability for directly discovering and signaling for use of the networking resources that they require, including signaling for the provisioning of lightpaths. In addition, some of these types of applications may be highly periodic and transient (e.g., they may exist only for a few moments at different times throughout a month or throughout a day). Consequently, they may transition instantaneously from a state requiring little or no network utilization to one requiring enormous network resources for days, hours, minutes, or moments, or even milliseconds. Many of these types of applications require a much closer integration of such resources than are currently available through existing information technology infrastructure, which tends to distinctly segment system components. Within the emerging new infrastructure, the boundaries between applications, computers, and networks truly dissolve.
- Photonic Data Services
iCAIR, National Center for Data Mining at UIC, and the Laboratory for Advanced Computing at UIC are developing new methods for integrating high performance data management techniques with advanced methods for dynamic lightwave provisioning. These techniques are termed "Photonic Data Services." These services combine data transport protocols developed at the UIC research centers with wavelength provisioning protocols developed at iCAIR, such as the Optical Dynamic Intelligent Networking protocol (ODIN). Researchers at iCAIR and NCDM have been conducting a series of tests to ensure optimal performance of a variety of network components and protocols, such as TCP and UDP, including testing methods using services for parallel TCP striping (GridFTP). Researchers at the NCDM have been using multiple testbeds, including the national TeraFlow Network, the state-wide I-WIRE network, and the metro area OMNInet, to test protocols that they developed to allow for the design of network based applications with reliable end-to-end performance and speeds that scale to multiple-Gbps. These protocols include UDT, which are open source libraries to build network applications with advanced functionality. NCDM's UDT is an innovative protocol that uses UDP as a transit protocol but provides for reliability by using TCP as a control protocol. NCDM and iCAIR have used Photonic Data Services demonstrations to set a new high performance record for trans-Atlantic data transit.
- Photonic TeraStream
iCAIR has also demonstrated the prototype Photonic TeraStream to illustrate its potential for supporting global applications with next generation wavelength-based networking, which includes allowing those applications to utilize directly the optical network control plane. Such new applications could be based on techniques for provisioning "Global Services-on-Demand," a method that allows applications to select services used. The Photonic TeraStream was designed and developed to allow for experimentation with new techniques for provisioning for high performance composite applications. The Photonic TeraStream application was developed as a prototype "composite application" -that could potentially integrate several component applications, including high performance data transfer (based on GridFTP), digital media streaming,, high performance remote data access methods (based on iSCSI, and dynamic resource provisioning.
- High Energy Physics
iCAIR has engaged in multiple cooperative projects with the world-wide high energy physics research community. High energy physics research investigates complex topics related to the fundamental nature of matter, especially the attributes and behavior of the smallest elemental particles. These scientific investigations are undertaken by collaborative research teams world-wide that use highly sophisticated instrumentation to gather extremely large amounts of data, which then is distributed for analysis world-wide. Primary HEP reference projects include the CDF and D0 at Fermilab, BaBAR at the Stanford Linear Accelerator and the Large Hadron Collider at CERN. These project focuses on problems related to managing, transporting, and storing extremely large amounts of HEP data. iCAIR has supported the development of the international LHCnet, which has a core node at the StarLight facility. iCAIR has also cooperated with Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in designing and provisioning metro area optical networking services to support HEP, including interconnections to national and international networks.
- Materials Science
In partnership with Northwestern's Materials Science Research Center, the Center is designing and developing technologies to support new applications in materials science. One is a joint project is developing the International Virtual Institute for Materials Science, which will have all the functionality of a research and education institution, but will be in cyberspace instead of the physical world. This project is being funded by the National Science Foundation. The IVIMS requires high-performance capabilities for instantaneously discovering, gathering, integrating, and presenting for a global set of users different sets of resources from throughout the world. These resources include large-scale data streams from experimental repositories at remote locations, scientific visualizations and digital media, and computational processes. Early prototypes of the International Virtual Institute have been developed and shown at a number of conferences, in the US and internationally.
Nanotechnology is the science and technology of precisely controlling the structure of matter at the molecular level. This discipline, which is often regarded as a particularly significant technological frontier, studies materials and devices at a nanoscale (a nanometer is one billionth of one meter). Several recent iCAIR initiatives have involved investigations into technologies required by computationally intensive nanotechnology research. Northwestern has established the Institute for Nanotechnology as an umbrella organization for large-scale nanotechnology research efforts. The Institute support's major research in nanotechnology, provides state-of-the-art nanomaterials characterization facilities, and fosters individual and group research directed at resolving key problems. As part of this effort, a $34 million, 40,000 square foot state-of-the-art Center for Nanofabrication and Molecular Self-Assembly was constructed on the Evanston campus. iCAIR has established a partnership with Northwestern's Nanotech Center for Learning and Technology (NCLT) to develop, implement, and operate a large scale distributed infrastructure to support activities related to Nanotechnology science and engineering.
With its research partners, iCAIR is participating in a number of projects that are addressing infrastructure requirements of astrophysics, especially high performance networking. For example, iCAIR is assisting with developing networking capabilities to support the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, which is producing 3D digital astronomical maps. iCAIR has also implemented capabilities for supporting specialized research instruments and techniques over advanced networks. For example, one space geometric technique is very long baseline interferometry (VLBI), which allows for precise measures of the motions of the Earth. VLBI measures the earth's orientation by placing it within an inertial reference frame. VLBI is based on radio telescopes. By placing antenna in different locations around the globe, collecting radio waves from distant quasars, and measuring differences in arrival times (with picosecond precision), VLBI methods can measure various movements of the Earth. VLBI techniques require the gathering and distribution of large amounts of data. In addition, iCAIR has also been developing new methods for implementing astrophysical modeling and simulation (on distributed infrastructure based on L1/L2 communication paths on optical fiber) using techniques such as adaptive mesh refinement (AMR).
- Computational Genomics
iCAIR has been participating in several projects that are developing high performance computational and communications infrastructure for Structural Genomics, including data transport from the Advanced Photon Source at Argonne National Laboratory. It has been several years since the International Human Genome Consortium announced the successful completion of the Human Genome Project. The sequence of the human genome will be providing information for biomedical research for many decades. However, the genome data comprise only basic information. Key information is found in proteins interactions, which is increasingly a focus of major study.
- Medical Imaging
iCAIR has been formed a partnership to explore new mechanisms to used advanced digital media techniques, including imaging, for biomedical applications, in cooperation with Northwestern's Medical School, the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA), the Metropolitan Research and Education Network (MREN), national research and education networks, StarLight, and various international networks. Since 2002, iCAIR and MREN have provided advanced networking capabilities to the annual RSNA conference Chicago at the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority's McCormick Place, which has enabled new techniques in medical imaging to be showcased. With Northwestern's Medical School, RSNA, NIH, and the MPEA, iCAIR produced an international multicast event on the topic of image interpretation.
iCAIR has been involved in multiple bioInformatics projects, primarily those related to advanced medical imaging and high performance optical networking. As one of the partner institutions in the OptIPuter project, iCAIR is developing new techniques for supporting the BioInformatics Research Network project (BIRN), which is sponsored by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The OptIPuter project, led by Cal-IT2at UCSD and EVL at UIC, is a five-year, National Science Foundation funded project that is interconnecting distributed storage, computing and visualization resources using photonic networks. These techniques will allow scientists that are generating multi-gigabyte data objects at diverse locations to be able to locate, correlate, analyze, and visualize them. Currently, BIRN is a multiscale brain imaging federated repository. However, the project will be expanded to include other organs.
The OptIPuter project is also developing advanced optical networking techniques for supporting GeoSciences, which also requires utilization of large-scale, highly distributed 3D objects. One project for which techniques are being developed is the NSF's Earthscope, which involves the acquisition, processing, and scientific interpretation of satellite-derived remote sensing, near-real-time environmental data, and active source data. A related project is one that is developing OptIPuter architectural techniques for oceanography.
- Advanced Digital Media
iCAIR has established multiple research and development projects in advanced digital media for the next generation Internet. Digital media has become an important driver application for the next-generation Internet technology design and creation. Currently, although digital media has been identified as an important technology for many communities, Internet technology does not effectively support digital media based applications. Internet content today primarily consists of text and images - digital media applications are currently fairly restricted. iCAIR and its research partners have been advancing digital media technology through multiple initiatives that are bringing capabilities for high quality, high performance digital media to the Internet. One goal of these initiatives is not only to bring high quality digital video (full color, full motion, full screen, CD-quality audio) as a common service to the Internet but also to create whole new classes of applications based on digital media.
iCAIR has undertaken projects related to three major digital video modalities: Digital-Media-on-Demand, interactive access to repositories of digital video and related digital objects, which can be directly streamed for immediate viewing or scheduled to be transferred at specified times; Digital media streaming, direct transfer, for live transfer of digital or streaming from archived video allowing for interactivity such as pause, forward, and reverse; and Digital media conferencing, multi-way interactive high quality video and audio for collaboration among multiple sites, along with supplemental capabilities for additional transmitted materials, such as projected 3D objects. In addition, the Center has developed access methods, such as the Digital Video Portal, a research project focused on interactive, network-based digital media. Also, iCAIR established a research partnership with C-SPAN that enabled its channels to be multicast world-wide. This project has allowed C-SPAN to be multicast at high performance over national and international next generation Internets. Currently, iCAIR is participating in a consortium that is developing an international, flexible large scale digital media network, based on dedicated lightpath channels within global optical fiber. This High Performance Digital Media Network (HPDMnet) provides for exceptional quality services, including across world-wide distances. At various conferences, iCAIR has demonstrated prototypes, and showcased various advanced capabilities for digital media.
- Collaborative Environments
iCAIR has multiple project partnerships with the Electronic Visualization Laboratoryof the University of Illinois at Chicago, where the CAVE technology was invented. During an international supercomputing conference, iCAIR in partnership with MREN and the NASA NREN network showcased a demonstration of scientific visualizations based on CAVE technology. Currently, iCAIR is experimenting with integrating optical networks and tile displays, using visualization software such as SAGE.
- TeraDataNet - TeraFlow Network Applications
With the National Center for Data Mining, iCAIR is investigating new methods of using advanced optical networks to support extremely large collections of digital information. These research projects are examining new methods of using new lightpath network architecture to support extremely high performance data streaming from among multiple large scale data repositories. The national optical TeraFlow Network Testbed is being used as a platform for these research experiments.