With the rise of high-speed networks, today's researchers have unprecedented opportunities to collaborate across institutions. These networks allow rapid communication and data transferring, so scientists working at research institutions in different states, or even different countries, can work on the same project together in real time.
While multi-disciplinary and multi-institutional research now takes place frequently as more facilities gain access to high-speed networks, limitations still exist. Only a certain number of users can access a network at a time, and multiple users create bottlenecks, which slow the overall speed. Researchers also cannot easily modify a network's capabilities to suit their individual needs without creating problems for other research projects on that network. And, the overall research community lacks applications that operate consistently across network connections.
Louisiana State University Professor Seung-Jong "Jay" Park will address these limitations through two projects he is leading at LSU to make research across high-speed networks, which can transport 10 gigabits of data per second (Gbps), more efficient and available to more users.
Park, an assistant professor in the LSU Department of Computer Science who holds a joint appointment with the LSU Center for Computation & Technology (CCT), has received $1 million in total funding from the National Science Foundation to support this work.
Park's two projects are Development of a Cyberinfrastructure of Reconfigurable Optical Networks, or CRON, for Large-Scale Multidisciplinary Scientific Research, funded through the foundation's Major Research Instrumentation Program, and Global Environment for Network Innovations, or GENI.
CRON and GENI are overlapping projects. Through CRON, Park will work with a research team including Professors Thomas Sterling, Department of Computer Science and CCT, Sitharama Iyengar, Department of Computer Science and CCT, Rajgopal Kannan, Department of Computer Science and CCT, and Daniel S. Katz, Computation Institute at University of Chicago and affiliated faculty member with CCT and the LSU Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, to develop new hardware and software components for 10 Gbps high-speed networking. These tools will allow 10 Gbps networks to accommodate more users at a time without reducing speed or processing power.
The GENI project will integrate the developing CRON testbed with other testbeds around the country, moving toward a more integrated, worldwide environment to aid research for future Internet activity. Through GENI, networks will connect and share applications more efficiently, making it easier for researchers working through different networks to adapt this technology to suit their specific needs without disrupting other users.
"Through this research, we are improving on existing high-speed networking technology to create a collaborative and exploratory virtual laboratory that allows academia, industry and the public to work more effectively toward groundbreaking discoveries and innovation," Park said. "We hope the applications we develop will provide a prototype for what next-generation Internet and networking capabilities should be."
The CRON project began in August 2008, and the GENI project began this month. The National Science Foundation has funded CRON and GENI for three years.