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SDSC Selected as a National Internet2 Technology Evaluation Center

Published 02/12/2003

The San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC) at UCSD has been selected by Internet2 as a national Internet2 Technology Evaluation Center (ITEC). The mission of the center will be to test and evaluate leading-edge technologies for high-performance Internet2 networks-working with developers to test and refine network hardware and software for optimal end-to-end network performance up to 10 gigabits per second. Internet2 is a consortium led by more than 200 U.S. universities, working with industry and government to develop and deploy advanced Internet applications and technologies.

The ITEC program was created by the University Corporation for Advanced Internet Development (UCAID), the coordinator of the Internet2 program, to establish national network-testing laboratories for users of the nationwide high-performance Internet2 network infrastructure. The three ITEC sites are located at SDSC, ITEC-Ohio at The Ohio State University, and NC-ITEC at North Carolina State University's Centennial Campus.

The point of coordination for the California ITEC will be SDSC's Network Performance Reference Lab (NPRL), which evaluates networking technology, including 10-gigabit Ethernet, QoS (quality of service), and RMON (remote monitoring). The NPRL also studies application performance profiling technologies. Internet2 members deploy advanced applications in these and other areas on a regular basis. As a result of industry partnerships and support from such companies as Spirent Communications, Cisco Systems, Force10 Networks, Foundry Networks, Hewlett-Packard, NetIQ, NetOptics, NetScout Systems, and others, the NPRL is capable of testing network technologies at data rates ranging from 10 megabits per second to 10 gigabits per second.

One area for investigation by the California ITEC will be the end-to-end network performance between computers using Abilene and other high-performance networks, which serve academic, government, and diverse research institutions across the United States. The ITEC will work to eliminate network problems, software conflicts, and interrupted or degraded service. The center will address those difficulties by testing new network hardware, network components, and new software packages and updates before they are deployed.

"The California ITEC is especially interested in contributing to the Internet2 End-to-End Initiative," said Kevin Walsh, director of the California ITEC and the NPRL. Walsh is a network engineer at SDSC, the lead site of the National Partnership for Advanced Computational Infrastructure (NPACI), a nationwide consortium of 41 research institutions that provide open computational resources for scientific discoveries. "The capabilities we have developed within the NPRL can be leveraged to support the initiative, which in turn benefits our NPACI partners. All of the NPACI university partners use the Abilene network to access SDSC and other NPACI partner sites," said Walsh.

Although advanced networks such as Abilene provide raw bandwidth several orders of magnitude beyond today's commercial Internet, users still experience problems with the overall transfer of information from point to point. The Internet2 End-to-End Performance Initiative was created to help solve the "Wizard Gap," which refers to the difference in experiences between people with specialized technical know-how, who can use a system to its full potential, versus average users who often endure unreliable service, unnecessarily slow data transfers, and other problems because they don't how to "tune" the system optimally. The goal of the initiative is to create a well supported environment in which Internet2 campus network users can routinely expect successful experiences in their development and use of an advanced Internet by focusing resources and efforts on improving performance-problem detection and resolution throughout campus, regional, and national networking infrastructures.

"The new Internet2 Test and Evaluation Center at SDSC establishes for the Internet2 community an important focal point for pushing the envelope of high-performance, end-to-end networking," said Cheryl Munn-Fremon, director of the Internet2 End-To-End Performance Initiative. "The efforts of the ITEC at SDSC will help us understand how to provide advanced applications with the reliable high-performance networking they require, but don't always get today."

  1. About Internet2
    Internet2 is a collaborative effort by more than 200 U.S. research universities, in partnership with industry leaders and federal agencies, to develop a new family of advanced networking applications to meet new academic requirements in research, teaching, and learning. A project of the University Corporation for Advanced Internet Development (UCAID), Internet2 provides leadership and direction for advanced networking development within the U.S. university community. Its programs are devoted to network research, technology transfer, and collaborative activities in related fields such as distance learning and educational technology. For more information, see

  2. About the San Diego Supercomputer Center
    SDSC is a national laboratory whose mission is to develop and apply high-performance information technologies for science and society. A research unit of the University of California, San Diego, SDSC provides leadership both nationally and internationally in high-performance computing, networking, data management, and numerous scientific fields that depend on advanced simulations and data analyses. SDSC is one of the original nodes of the National Science Foundation's new TeraGrid, the world's largest, fastest, distributed infrastructure for open scientific research, which will be distributed at five sites across the United States and linked by ultra-high-speed networks to function as a unified system. SDSC also is home to several other nationally known networking research groups, including the Cooperative Association for Internet Data Analysis (CAIDA), the National Laboratory for Applied Network research (NLANR), and the Pacific Institute for Computer Security. UCSD is home to the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology [Cal-(IT)2], and the Center for Wireless Communications. SDSC is funded by the National Science Foundation, other government agencies, the state of California, the University of California, and private organizations. For more information, see

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