October 08, 2007
MOSCOW, CHICAGO and AMSTERDAM, Oct. 3 -- Fifty years ago, the Soviet Union launched Sputnik I -- little more than a beeping metal ball -- into space. Never before had an artificial satellite orbited the Earth. Sputnik I advanced the future of space travel and, this week, its historically significant launch was marked with a global networking demonstration that advances the future of cyber-travel.
At Russia's International Forum for the 50th anniversary of Sputnik I, a five-day celebration of the historic launch being held in Moscow and St. Petersburg, guests attending a special demonstration at the Russian Academy of Sciences' (RAS) Space Research Institute (IKI) in Moscow saw high-resolution animations streamed from the United States and the Netherlands to Russia over GLORIAD research and education networks using visualization middleware called the Scalable Adaptive Graphics Environment (SAGE).
For this demonstration, scientific visualizations were streamed from data stores in Chicago and Amsterdam to a tiled display wall at the IKI. Animations of the Milky Way galaxy and a tornado, both developed by the University of Illinois' National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA), were streamed at one gigabit-per-second to Moscow's IKI from disks at the University of Illinois at Chicago's (UIC) Electronic Visualization Laboratory (EVL) in Chicago, and from the SARA Computing and Networking Services supercomputer center in Amsterdam.
This demonstration was organized by the Russia-USA GLORIAD team and by the Global Lambda Visualization Facility (GLVF), an international team of computer and application scientists, founded by EVL, which strives to create integrated tools for domain scientists, enabling them to conduct real-time, interactive visualization and distance collaboration using large-scale tiled displays over optical networks.
EVL's SAGE is used as a tool for managing multiple high-resolution data streams over these networks. And, these advanced optical networks are cooperatively shared for scientific experimentation through an organization called the Global Lambda Integrated Facility, or GLIF.
Larry Smarr, Calit2 director, OptIPuter principal investigator and GLIF Research & Applications (RAP) Working Group co-chair, congratulated the GLVF team, noting that, "The National Science Foundation (NSF)-funded OptIPuter project has produced tiled display walls running SAGE, which we call OptIPortals, that are 21st-century PCs that connect researchers with collaborators and remote data stores worldwide. In 2005, when GLVF was created, the GLIF RAP Working Group challenged GLVF to create a persistent global environment in which researchers could work with colleagues and their data. GLVF continues to attract and work with new participants to create this global environment over the GLIF fabric, and we welcome the involvement of Moscow's Space Research Institute and Russia's new optical network that connects MoscowLight to NetherLight in Amsterdam."
GLORIAD is a collaborative project to build a fiber-optic ring of networks around the northern hemisphere of the Earth. For this demonstration, the following network links and exchanges participated: the NSF-funded TransLight/StarLight link that goes from the StarLight exchange in Chicago to the NetherLight exchange in Amsterdam; the Netherlands' SURFnet network from SARA to NetherLight; and the Russian link, owned and managed by the Russian Research Centre "Kurchatov Institute" (RRC"KI") in partnership with the Russian Institute for Public Networks (RIPN), that goes from NetherLight to the MoscowLight exchange, and then to IKI. A gigabit lightpath was dedicated to the SAGE testbed from Chicago (StarLight), to Amsterdam (NetherLight) and then on to Moscow (MoscowLight).
"Fifty years have passed, and, 'as big things are seen clearly from a distance,' Oct. 4, 1957, is the beginning of the Space Age," said Dr. L. M. Zeleniy, director of IKI and associate member of RAS. "Space became accessible to humankind, and what had been previously hidden by Earth's powerful gravitational fields, atmosphere and ionosphere, was opened up for exploration. This International Forum commemorating Sputnik is stimulating many pointed and profound discussions. Among the exhibition highlights is the USA-Russia-Netherlands international demonstration of the Scalable Adaptive Graphics Environment. SAGE is one of many advanced tools that will help scientists as they try to better understand the many riddles of Space that remain to be solved."
"This anniversary program of seminars, conferences and exhibitions marks an historic date of October 4, 1957, and celebrates fifty years of modern Space exploration," said academician E.P. Velikhov, president of RRC "KI" and leader of GLORIAD/Russia. "Space and information technology has fundamentally changed the world around us, creating a bridge between the physical and virtual worlds, and making it is possible for scientists to directly participate in research collaboration across countries and around the globe. This high-resolution streaming demonstration is significant progress in the international collaboration capabilities now being made possible through the efforts of GLIF and GLVF in support of scientific discovery."
GLORIAD partners who participated in the demonstration include: GLORIAD-USA (University of Tennessee/Oak Ridge National Laboratory Joint Institute for Computational Sciences, and UIC/EVL); GLORIAD-Netherlands (SURFnet, SARA and University of Amsterdam); and, GLORIAD-Russia (RRC"KI" and RIPN, in collaboration with IKI).
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