iGrid2002 The International Virtual Laboratory

September 23rd, 2002

Categories: Applications, Networking, Tele-Immersion, Visualization


Brown, M.


iGrid 2002, the 3rd biennial International Grid applications-driven testbed event, challenges scientists and technologists to utilize multi-gigabit experimental optical networks, with special emphasis on e-Science, LambdaGrid and Virtual Laboratory applications. The result is an impressive, coordinated effort by 28 teams representing 16 countries, showcasing how extreme networks, combined with application advancements and middleware innovations, can advance scientific research.

As computational scientists strive to better understand very complex systems - whether biological, environmental, atmospheric, geological or physics, from the micro to the macro level, in both time and space - they will require petascale computing, exabyte storage and terabit networks. A petaflop is one-hundred-times faster than today’s largest parallel computers, which process ten-trillion floating point operations per second (10 teraflops). An exabyte is a billion gigabytes of storage, and terabit networks will eventually transmit data at one trillion bits per second - some 20 million times faster than a dialup 56K Internet connection.

Recent, major technological and cost breakthroughs in networking technology have made it possible to send scores of lambdas on a pair of customer-owned or leased optical fiber, making the terabit network of the future conceivable.(here, lambda refers to a fully dedicated wavelength of light, each capable of bandwidth speeds from 1-10 gigabits/second). Research is moving from locally-connected, processor-centric environments to distributed-computing environments that rely on optical connections, where the networks are faster than the resources they connect. Researchers are moving from grid-intensive computing to LambdaGrid-intensive computing, in which computational resources are connected by multiple lambdas. As a conference, iGrid 2002 demonstrates application demands for increased bandwidth. As a testbed, iGrid 2002 enables the world’s research community to work together briefly and intensely to advance the state of the art - by developing new network-control and traffic-engineering techniques; new middleware to bandwidth-match distributed resources; and, new collaboration and visualization tools for real-time interaction with high-definition imagery. Much of the iGrid 2002 infrastructure will persist and be available for long-term experimentation.

LambdaGrid-intensive computing will become the main enabling technology for facilitating multi-institutional and multi-disciplinary advanced collaborations, enabling researchers to share unique resources and to have uniform and ubiquitous access to these facilities. In turn, this will enable the development of Virtual Laboratories, or science portals, for distributed analysis in applied scientific research. Groups worldwide are collaborating on major research projects, creating experimental platforms upon which future e-Science and large-scale distributed computing experiments can take place. iGrid 2002 is a window into this world.

iGrid 2002 is organized by Dutch and USA organizations. Institutions in The Netherlands are: Amsterdam Science & Technology Centre, GigaPort Project, SARA Computing and Networking Services, SURFnet and Universiteit van Amsterdam / Science Faculty. Institutions in the USA are: Argonne National Laboratory / Mathematics and Computer Science Division, Indiana University / Office of the Vice President for Information Technology, Northwestern University / International Center for Advanced Internet Research, and University of Illinois at Chicago / Electronic Visualization Laboratory. Major funding for iGrid 2002 is provided by the GigaPort Project, the Amsterdam Science & Technology Centre and the USA National Science Foundation, with in-kind support by SARA Computing and Networking Services (with funding from the NWO / NCF) and the Universiteit van Amsterdam.





Brown, M., iGrid2002 The International Virtual Laboratory, Proceedings of iGrid2002, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, September 23rd, 2002. http://www.igrid2002.org