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NERSC's Bill Kramer Leads Networking at SC2000

November 1, 2000

DALLAS, Texas -- Many people who attend conferences say they go for the networking. But the 5,000 computing and networking experts expected to attend the SC2000 conference on Nov. 4-10 really mean it -- and will have access to one of largest, most complex communications networks in the nation, -- offering a combined capacity of more than 167,000 times faster than a typical residential Internet connection and 200 times as fast as the connections used by many universities.

And, the high-performance computing and networking demonstrations scheduled for the week-long conference are expected to use every bit of the networking capability as they showcase the latest achievements in supercomputing and computational science.

This year, SC2000, the conference of high performance networking and computing, will convene in the Dallas Convention Center for seven days of technical programs, technological demonstrations and exhibits, educational outreach and mind-boggling visualizations of computational data.

But such high speed capability isn't just for show -- many of the participants at the SC conference are suppliers or users of the world's most powerful computers, and the ability to quickly and reliably move large amounts of data across networks is essential to advancing scientific research in the United States and around the world.

Already, networking experts from around the country are working in Dallas to assemble the huge data "pipeline" consisting of three OC-48 lines, and three OC-12 lines and other network connections for the conference. The massive, albeit temporary, conference network is known as SCinet.

"Because the SC conference is centered around the latest achievements in high-performance computing, it's only fitting that we build one of the world's biggest network connections to support it," said Bill Kramer, who is heading up SCinet this year. "At last year's conference in Portland, SCinet provided more connectivity than all the combined networking resource in the states of Oregon and Washington -- and this year's version of SCinet will be even bigger, and faster and more technically complex."

Providing the main networking connections will be Qwest Communications International, Inc., which has a significant fiber optic infrastructure network in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. Qwest also installed permanent fiber for the Dallas Convention Center, enabling future events to leverage the advanced broadband capabilities of Qwest backbone.

"Qwest is pleased to provide high-speed direct local fiber-based broadband access to from our our worldwide Internetnationwide, next generation internet network to the SC2000 conference, enabling the demonstration of advanced bandwidth-intensive applications such as HDTV," said Joe Nacchio, chief executive officer of Augie Cruciotti, president of Qwest Local Broadband ServicesDenver-based Qwest Communications International. "This is a great opportunity to showcase the industry- leading broadband infrastructure that we provide on a daily basis to such technologically demanding customers as the Department of Energy, the U.S. Mint and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency."

In addition to Qwest, the roster of vendors contributing to SCinet reads like a high-tech Who's Who. Nortel Networks, Cisco Systems, Juniper Networks, Marconi Corp., Mitre Corp., Spirent Communications, Foundry Networks, Sun Microsystems, MCI and GST Telecom. SCinet will provide connectivity to the nation's leading networks, including the U.S. Department of Energy's Energy Sciences Network, Internet2/Abilene, HSCC, the National Science Foundation's vBNS, and others.

For the first time in the history of the SC conference, SCinet will also be providing wireless networking capability throughout the Dallas Convention Center. This will allow conference attendees to connect with SCinet from anywhere on the show floor or in any of the technical program areas.

To ensure that the 100 teachers participating in SC2000 Education Program also have wireless connectivity, Cisco Systems and SBC Communications have donated wireless cards for computers and NCSA and Internet2 have loaned the necessary base stations. (To learn more about the SC2000 education program, go to http://www.sc2000.org/media/releases.htm#13.)

To get an idea of the connectivity provided by SCinet, here's a comparison of with typical Internet connections. A person who uses a dialup ISP at home typically connects at best at 56 kilobits- per- second (Kbps), that's or 56,000 bps. A DSL line will usually speed things up to 256 Kbps (or perhaps 640 Kbps in some areas). A DS-3 connection, such as those serving many universities, offer speeds up to 45 megabits (45 million bits) per second. SCinet's three OC-48 (for Optical Carrier) lines will each have a capacity of 2.5 gigabits (2.5 billion) per second. Combined with three OC-12 lines (each at 622 million bits per second), SCinet will offer a combined peak speed of 9.4 gigabits per second.

This year's conference is also sponsoring a competition for high-bandwidth applications, each of which is expected to completely saturate the network's capability as data from high-performance computing applications is accessed, manipulated and visualized at the conference.

And if that isn't enough, SCinet also supports an experimental Xnet, a bleeding-edge network which showcases early access equipment that may not yet be formally supported by vendors. This year, SCinet is hoping to be able to showcase technologies such as 10-G Ethernet as part of Xneton that network.

SC2000 is sponsored by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Computer Society and the Association for Computing Machinery's Special Interest Group on Computer Architecture.

For more information about SCinet, go to http://www.sc2000.org/scinet.

For more information about SC2000, go to http://www.sc2000.org.


About NERSC and Berkeley Lab
The National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC) is a U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science User Facility that serves as the primary high-performance computing center for scientific research sponsored by the Office of Science. Located at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, the NERSC Center serves more than 7,000 scientists at national laboratories and universities researching a wide range of problems in combustion, climate modeling, fusion energy, materials science, physics, chemistry, computational biology, and other disciplines. Berkeley Lab is a DOE national laboratory located in Berkeley, California. It conducts unclassified scientific research and is managed by the University of California for the U.S. Department of Energy. »Learn more about computing sciences at Berkeley Lab.