Press Archive

San Diego Supercomputer Center's Data Access Technology Named "Biggest and Fastest" at CENIC's "On The Road to Gigabit" Awards

Published 03/08/2004

San Diego, Calif. (March 8, 2004) - The San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC) today announced that its Data Access technology has received the "Biggest, Fastest in the West" award from the Corporation for Education Network Initiatives in California (CENIC).

On March 15 at CENIC's 2004 annual conference, the award will be presented to Patricia Kovatch of SDSC and Roger Haskin of IBM for their team's joint efforts in making Grid computing a practical reality. SDSC and IBM worked to together to create the award-winning technology - a shared parallel file system with high-speed data throughput to make the on-demand infrastructure possible so data can be shared efficiently, seamlessly and effectively between sites on a Grid computing system.

"Many scientific applications create large amounts of data. For example, UCLA researchers running 3-D scans of functioning human brains typically store a thousand gigabytes of data per hour," said Patricia Kovatch, high-performance computing team leader at SDSC. "To take advantage of different computational resources, scientists analyze, visualize, mine and store this data at many different Grid sites. With SDSC's on-demand infrastructure, scientists now have the ability to access and use this data anywhere on the Grid, from anywhere on the Grid, at high speed."

At the recent SC2003 supercomputing conference, the team demonstrated the power of this General Parallel File System (GPFS) technology by accessing an 80-terabyte GPFS file system located in San Diego from forty nodes in Phoenix. Using a data link that sent messages at 10 billion bits per second (10 gigabits), they showed a sustained bandwidth of more than one billion bytes per second over a 90-minute session, allowing researchers to create in real time a visualization of complex seismological data representing the spread of earthquake shock waves.

"This performance was truly remarkable by previous standards, approximately 90 percent of 'raw' wire speed, even better than that seen by specialized applications," Kovach said. "On top of that, we had a truly transparent access mechanism. IBM's GPFS allowed us to realize the dream of Grid computing by making geographically distributed resources appear local to every site. This ability to access data from anywhere on demand with a standard, easy interface revolutionizes the way that our scientists and researchers process and share data."

"Accessing storage over long distances has the potential to transform science in the same way that the Web has transformed business, since it makes data availability ubiquitous," Haskin said. "It's really exciting to accomplish this with an institution of the stature of the San Diego Supercomputer Center."

SDSC will be recognized on March 15 at the On the Road to Gigabit Awards luncheon held at The Ritz-Carlton, Marina Del Rey, California in conjunction with the CENIC 2004 annual conference. The "One Gigabit or Bust" Initiative, the nonprofit educational organization is focused on bringing one gigabit broadband - network capacity that is 1,000 times faster than today's Internet - to every school, business, and home throughout the state by 2010. CENIC and California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology (Cal-[IT]2) co-sponsor annual "On the Road to a Gigabit" awards that spotlight the efforts of industry, academia, government, and community organizations in applying ultra-high-performance network technology in innovative ways.

CENIC recognized the benefits to computing in California. "On demand" file access saves time and money by not duplicating available remote storage resources locally. And the transparent access to data and computing resources will encourage widespread acceptance of Grids by users, giving a variety of institutions equal and easy access to data to leverage California's resources efficiently.

About SDSC

The mission of the San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC) is to innovate, develop, and deploy technology to advance science. SDSC is involved in an extensive set of collaborations and activities at the intersection of technology and science whose purpose is to enable and facilitate the next generation of scientific advances. Founded in 1985 and primarily funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), SDSC is an organized research unit of the University of California, San Diego. With a staff of more than 400 scientists, software developers, and support personnel, SDSC is an international leader in data management, grid computing, biosciences, geosciences, and visualization. For more information, see


CENIC is a not-for-profit corporation serving the California Institute of Technology, California State University, Stanford University, University of California, University of Southern California, California Community Colleges and the statewide K-12 school system. CENIC's mission is to facilitate and coordinate the development, deployment and operation of a set of robust multi-tiered advanced network services for this research and education community. More information about CENIC can be found at

Media Contacts:

Greg Lund, SDSC, 858-534-8314,
Julie Van Fleet, CENIC, 619-276-0090,