MREN Advanced Applications and Access to Remote Instrumentation

MREN has integrated advanced networking into support for the primary educational and research missions of its constituent communities, and it continues to be at the forefront of network-based applications and access to remote instrumentation.

To view a montage of images from some of the following projects, click here.

Advanced Applications

MREN is engaged in a number of cooperative activities that address specialized network requirements for a wide range of advanced applications. Advanced applications include high energy physics experimentation, advanced digital video, advanced medical imaging, astronomy and astrophysics, scientific visualization, remote access to (and integration of) virtual reality environments, including those at multiple-sites and desk-top immersive virtual reality (based on CAVE technologies), distributed and paralleled processing of large quantities of data across multiple, network accessible supercomputing (including distributed processing), populating, managing, and accessing terabyte databases.

MREN Multimedia and HPDV

The MREN high performance multimedia (HPM) and high performance digital video projects (HPDV) focus on advanced multimedia, especially digital video, including multicasting, conferencing, and store-and-forward delivery. However, these applications also include emerging technologies such as VR movies. The MREN multimedia projects are being led by the MREN Digital Video Project Manager, Larry Amiot (Argonne National Laboratory). One MREN project is a joint project with AT&T; another is a joint project undertaken with the Committee for Institutional Cooperation, another is a University of Chicago/MREN Shared University Research (SUR) project undertaken in partnership with IBM; a fourth is a related innovative research project undertaken with IBM. A demonstration of some of the capabilities of advanced digital video on high performance networks was presented at the Internet2 Forum in Washington, D.C. (October 7 - 9, 1997). By request, this application became part of the permanent exhibit at the HighwayOne Center. This demonstration was presented a second time during the 1997 EDUCOM conference in Minneapolis Minnesota, at two locations on the conference showcase floor, within the University of Minnesota booth and at the IBM booth. MREN is working with the International Center for Advanced Network Research, the Internet2 project, CIC, and IBM on developing an advanced Internet Digital Video Network.

Access to Remote Instrumentation

MREN also provides access to remote instrumentation such as special facilities used for high energy physics, for example, the key facilities at Fermilab (eg, collider detectors - D0 and CDF, high energy physics computational processors, and astronomy facilities, such as those related to the Sloan Digital Sky Survey project). MREN also provides access to the Advanced Photon Source (APS) at ANL, a 7 Gev synchrotron, as well as to the massively parallel (128 node) high performance computer at ANL's High Performance Computing Research Center. MREN is also working on projects to link advanced virtual reality environments among member institutions over high performance networks. These VR laboratories, a type of "holodeck," are based on CAVE technology developed by the EVL laboratory at UIC. Other projects involve linking terabyte mass storage facilities to high performance networks. The CATS project (Chicago-Argonne Terabyte System) is configured for 35 Terabyte and is scaleable to 180 TB. One early project used a satellite to establish digital communications to the UoC's NSF Center for Astrophysics Research in Antarctica (CARA) to create the first interactive digital video conference to the South Pole.

Global Advanced Applications

MREN continues to be involved in many types of international projects, for example, exploring options for enhanced connectivity to the large scale instrumentation on other continents, such as the European Center for Nuclear Physics (CERN) in Switzerland. MREN is involved in a number of international advanced application initiatives through its cooperative efforts with the Science, Technology and Research Transit Access Point -- STAR TAP. Also, MREN has responded to the G7 Global Information Infrastructure project "Global Interoperability of Broadband Networking" (GIBN) initiative, with the development of several proposals for that initiative. One aspect of one proposal was undertaken as a recent demonstration of international high performance connectivity. This G7 project was a broadband application presenting scientific visualization applications originating at Argonne National Laboratory and the University of Chicago and presented to an astrophysics conference in Turino, Italy. This demonstration assisted in preparing for enhanced access to remote instrumentation in part by addressing issues and challenges inherent in supporting a broadband application involving networks in many different countries.

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