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A 100-Gigbit Highway for Science

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (04/30/12) Linda Vu

The U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy Sciences Network (ESnet) is laying the foundation for a high-speed network that can transport an increasing amount of scientific data.  “Over the last decade, the amount of scientific data transferred over our network has increased at a rate of about 72 percent per year, and we see that trend potentially accelerating,” says ESnet director Greg Bell.  ESnet researchers worked with the Internet2 consortium to develop the Advanced Networking Initiative (ANI), which is part of a 100 Gbps national prototype network and a wide-area network testbed.  More than 25 groups have taken advantage of ESnet’s wide-area testbed, which connects the National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center, the Argonne Leadership Computing Facility, and the Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility.  “Our 100G testbed has been about 80 percent booked since it became available in January, which just goes to show that there are a lot of researchers hungry for a resource like this,” says ESnet’s Brian Tierney.  For example, Brookhaven National Laboratory researchers have used the ANI testbed to design an ultra-high-speed, end-to-end file transfer protocol tool to move science data at 100 gigabits per second across a national network.

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