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Letter to the editors - SC10's other hot topics

Attendees watch a presentation about NOAA' Science On a Sphere® on the SC10 exhibit hall floor. Photo by Will von Dauster. Image courtesy of NOAA.

Dear Editors,

I noticed that your article about hot topics at SC10 did not mention the network aspects of grids or touch upon the events in the exhibit hall.

Where the “rubber meets the road” at SuperComputing is in the Exhibit hall. There many labs and universities show their involvement in their science programs, and/or state of the art developments, intermingled by design with vendor exhibits, large and small. There were also live feeds from the LHC, for example at the Caltech + partners’ [*] booth (next to Intel), and state of the art network demonstrations at this and other booths, including use of a 100 Gbps link set up by Internet2 between Chicago and New Orleans.

A major theme that was not in the iSGTW article, although covered in previous articles over the last few years, is that grids are increasingly network-centric. In fact, networks are as much a part of grid infrastructure as computing and storage, and the community is only beginning to understand and react to this longstanding fact. This is particularly true now, as the LHC computing models are evolving away from the original “hierarchical” model developed by the MONARC project that I led in 1998-2000, to more opportunistic models with a more complex and extensive set of data flows among Tier 2 and Tier 3 centers around the world.

Preparations for the new LHC models, and a new worldwide architecture being developed to serve the needs, were related to the emergence of the next generation of network and server technologies, supporting speeds of 40 and 100 Gbps in metropolitan and long range optical networks, in the data center, and also in individual servers. Several examples of this on the exhibit floor represented the leading edge of what will be the norm in LHC data analysis operations within the next three to five years. This will also have a fundamental impact on grids, in all corners of the globe.


Harvey Newman[*] Caltech HEP and CACR, together with CERN, Michigan, UCSD, Fermilab, BNL, U. Florida, FIU, Vanderbilt, Brazil (Sao Paulo and Rio), Korea (KISTI and KNU), Estonia (Tallinn); also network partners: US LHCNet, Internet2, ESnet, NLR, GEANT, RNP, Gloriad, FLR, MiLR, Starlight, MANLAN; and vendor partners: CIENA, Cisco, Dell, Force10, Mellanox, Myricom.

Dear Harvey,

Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us and with our other readers. Here at iSGTW, we’re always pleased to hear from our readers. Although it isn’t possible for us to mention all the interesting and important developments highlighted at a conference as large as SuperComputing, we do agree that there is exciting work in the area of grids and networks. Thanks for telling us about some of them!


The Editors

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