Glimmerglass and EVL Join Forces to Develop New LambdaGrid Applications


Phoenix, Arizona

Glimmerglass and University of Illinois at Chicago Join Forces to Develop New LambdaGrid Applications

Streaming computing applied to lambda multicasting to improve application richness for Grid computing

Hayward, Calif., and Chicago, Ill - Glimmerglass, a supplier of Transparent Connectivity solutions, and the Electronic Visualization Laboratory (EVL) at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) today announced a partnership to support the development of a new class of compute-intensive applications running on high-performance computers configured into grids that are interconnected with fiber-optic links. Glimmerglass is providing a System 300E Layer 1 Fiber Switch configured with Photonic Multicasting™ to EVL, and the partners are collaborating on grid related application research, proofs of concept, technical publications, and presentations. Additionally, the partners will demonstrate applications of transparent connectivity and Glimmerglass Photonic Multicasting™ technology at the SC 2003 conference, in the National Center for Data Mining at UIC booth (#R2935), to be held in Phoenix Arizona, November 15-21, 2003.

The partnership recognizes the potential associated with the convergence of two new technologies, grid middleware and affordable lambda networks, which is leading to the creation of LambdaGrids. Lambdas are wavelengths of laser light used to send parallel streams of data over a single optical fiber. These links are the superhighways, over which information between Grid computing nodes flows.

The Glimmerglass System 300E enables “streaming computing,” the streaming of information, whether high-resolution imagery or massive databases, among the elements of the LambdaGrid with little or no latency. Grid developers, such as EVL, will experiment with the Glimmerglass system to dynamically offload large data-communications flows over optical networking test-beds. Because the Glimmerglass system switches lambdas transparently without detection and signal regeneration, it is “future-proof,” able to support any transmission speed or protocol, such as Gigabit Ethernet, 10 Gigabit Ethernet and beyond, including standards not yet available today.

Lambda Multicasting is a Key Innovation
Using streaming computing, Glimmerglass and EVL will investigate the potential benefits of the System 300’s Photonic Multicasting™, in which the Glimmerglass system replicates and transmits a lambda-stream carrying data to multiple computing resources on the LambdaGrid network. Separate, correlated operations can thus be simultaneously performed on each lambda-stream copy, such as a stereo rendering of image data. The Glimmerglass system can efficiently generate and transmit exact, synchronized copies of any lambda-stream without relying on higher layer protocols, such as TCP / IP or SONET.

“We are excited to partner with Glimmerglass on developing new Transparent Connectivity applications,” said Tom DeFanti, Director of EVL. “The use of the System 300E with Photonic Multicasting will enable new levels of scalability and flexibility, and keep the control of the network applications-centric. In addition to costing one to two orders of magnitude more than a Glimmerglass system, traditional network elements such as routers are not appropriate to our application, as they introduce latency and are inherently nondeterministic in data transmission.”

Immersive Collaboration Applications and Database Intrusion Detection
EVL expects a paradigm shift in high-performance networks as applications move to new Grid-based system architectures, such as the OptIPuter, where the optical network acts like an enormous systems bus, connecting various data, computing, and visualization components that are distributed globally. “The functional richness of elements like the Glimmerglass system is increasing all the time,” said Jason Leigh, Associate Professor of Computer Science at EVL. Features such as Glimmerglass Photonic Multicasting technology should make it easier to advance my research on Amplified Collaborative Environments (ACEs), which are “war rooms” for distributed teams that share high-resolution immersive data visualizations.

“Streaming computing’s lambda multicasting capability being developed by the EVL / Glimmerglass partnership have strong implications for my work on petabyte databases,” said Robert Grossman, an EVL collaborator and Director of the National Center for Data Mining at the University of Illinois at Chicago. “With this technology, we can create virtual data warehouses on the fly from distributed databases by using lambda-streaming to do ‘streaming joins.’ As a first application, we will use streaming joins to improve distributed intrusion detection systems. This could be very important since distributed intrusion detection systems today produce so much data that a centralized data warehouse is no longer practical for real-time intrusion detection.”

Interoperability and Application Control
EVL and Glimmerglass will collaborate to integrate their proof-of-concept investigations into applications-centric network middleware, enabling application developers to access advanced transparent connectivity capabilities of future LambdaGrids, thereby facilitating the adoption of these advanced micro-photonics products. “Our Glimmerglass System 300 was designed to be an easy-to-deploy solution for information-intensive applications such as those running on the LambdaGrid,” said Mark Housley, President and CEO of Glimmerglass. “We are committed to accelerating the Grid’s growth, and believe our virtues of simplicity, transparency, reliability, and openness are important for its success.”

About Glimmerglass
Glimmerglass develops and manufactures the smallest, highest performing, and most reliable transparent connectivity solutions that manage light at the physical fiber, waveband, and individual wavelength levels. Glimmerglass delivers transparent connectivity technologies to the defense, intelligence, super-computing, test & measurement, Internet infrastructure, enterprise, video production, cable and telecommunications industries. Founded by a team of micro-photonics veterans in 2000, and headquartered in Hayward, California, Glimmerglass is funded by top venture capital firms including Mobius Venture Capital, Onset Ventures, CDP Capital-Technology Ventures, Applied Materials Ventures, Ashford Capital Management, Inc. and Anthem Venture Partners. See:, send email to info @, or call +1 510-780-1800.

About the Electronic Visualization Laboratory
The Electronic Visualization Laboratory (EVL) at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) is a graduate research laboratory specializing in virtual reality and real-time interactive computer graphics over advanced optical networks; it is a joint effort of UIC’s College of Engineering and School of Art and Design, and represents the oldest formal collaboration between engineering and art in the country offering graduate degrees to those specializing in visualization. Having received recognition for developing the CAVE® and ImmersaDesk® virtual-reality systems, EVL’s current research focus is tele-immersion - having users in different locations around the world collaborate over high-speed networks in shared, virtual environments as if they were together in the same room. Major funding is provided by the National Science Foundation.

Glimmerglass and Photonic Multicasting are trademarks of Glimmerglass Networks, Inc. CAVE and ImmersaDesk are registered trademarks of the University of Illinois’ Board of Trustees. All other trademarks and service marks are the property of their respective holders.

Date: November 15, 2003 - November 21, 2003
Graham Kent

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