Georgia State University High-Speed Connection to the Internet and vBNS

NSF Grant 9710442 National Science Foundation, Directorate for Computer Information Science and Engineering, Division of Networking and Communications Research and Infrastructure, Connections To The Internet Program

Principal Investigator:

Reid Christenberry, Associate Provost, Information Systems & Technology


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Project Summary ( NSF award NCR-9710442 )

The vBNS Addition to the GCATT Broadband Internet project establishes a connection to the very high-speed Backbone Network System (vBNS) that would make vBNS connectivity available to Georgia State University and the Georgia Institute of Technology. By building on the GCATT Broadband Internet project (NCR-9613986) directed by the Georgia Center for Advanced Telecommunications Technology (GCATT) and currently deployed between Georgia State and Georgia Tech, the vBNS connectivity can be supplied effectively and can potentially be expanded to other institutions in the region. The availability of the high bandwidth and the ensured service that is provided by this connection improves the quality and effectiveness of many meritorious applications at both institutions and facilitates collaboration between these institutions and others on the vBNS. Connectivity to the vBNS is supplied via a DS3 link from the MCI vBNS point-of-presence (POP) to the ATM network at Georgia Tech. The connectivity between Georgia Tech and Georgia State utilizes the OC-12c connection supported by the GCATT project.

This proposal establishes the vBNS network in the Southeast, providing research institutions in the region with access to high speed data connections to other research institutions in the country. This connectivity will advance research and collaboration of meritorious applications at both institutions by permitting real-time functionality that is not currently available on the commodity networks. For example, expansion of parallel computing facilities to other facilities across the country is possible given the vBNS bandwidth.

By leveraging the connectivity established by the Georgia Broadband Internet project, the investigators in this proposal are in a unique position to explore the management issues involved in building a shared telecommunications facility which connects the local networks of two large institutions. Research involves determining the best routing protocols, given the need for ease of management in a mixed ownership environment.

Through collaboration and implementation with multiple vendors, the investigators will examine and implement IP quality of service. They can refine and quantify various quality of service issues for distribution of non-traditional IP applications, such as video, by mapping RSVP to ATM quality of service protocols and other technologies.

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Project Introduction

The purpose of this NSF Connections to the Internet, High Performance Connections for Research and Education Institutions and Facilities, grant request is to propose a connection to the very high-speed Backbone Network System (vBNS) that would make vBNS connectivity available to Georgia State University and Georgia Institute of Technology. This project will use the GCATT Broadband Internet that is currently deployed under NSF Connections to the Internet project number NCR-9613986 [COPE].

The goal of this project is to provide a network infrastructure to support high speed connectivity between researchers at each of the participating universities and the Internet. This project will be installed, managed, and operated by Georgia State University.

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Contact Information

For more information regarding the Georgia State University High-Speed Connection to the Internet and vBNS contact:

Reid Christenberry
, Associate Provost, Information Systems & Technology
Mary Jane Casto, Acting Assistant Director for University Computer and Network Services of Information Systems & Technology

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Participating Universities

Georgia State University

The mission of Information Systems and Technology (IS&T) at Georgia State is to provide high quality, reliable, and responsive information and instructional technology support services to the university community. This is accomplished through the delivery of efficient, enhanced, and collaborative support and services. Also, the unit fosters the development of both innovative and pro-active information technology expertise and assists the university in planning for effective use of both current and future technologies. With reorganization in April 1995, IS&T's university computing support and services have become more focused on dependability and productivity.

Access to centralized computing is one of the major support services provided by IS&T. The Amdahl 5995, an IBM 370 compatible computer system and the Unisys 2200/520, an Enterprise Server, are the two major mainframe systems supported by University Computing and Networking Systems. A general access UNIX computer, called Panther, provides the university community with access to information services such as E-mail, Usenet news, and the World Wide Web. Panther is a Sun Sparc Server 1000 with 4 CPUs, and 384 MB of memory, supported by an NFS server with approximately 42 GB of disk space. The Silicon Graphics (SGI) Power Challenge L is a multi-processing system designed to handle computation-intensive jobs. This system primarily serves Georgia State University researchers with extensive computational needs, and provides a platform for instructional computing.

Networking Services is responsible for providing university-wide data communications. Georgia State's network consists of approximately 5,000 nodes, including a mixture of IBM compatible PCs, Apple Macintoshes and Unix workstations. Georgia State's network is comprised of over 150 network segments consisting of an FDDI backbone, Ethernet, Fast Ethernet, and Token-Ring local area networks. Primary dial-up service is provided by contracted accounts via a Peachnet agreement with MCI for state wide dial-up support. This is supplemented with 96 dial-up lines which are used by faculty and staff for university support roles. The network provides access to all host administrative and academic systems, and provides support for on campus state-wide initiatives, including the state Union Library Catalog, the GALILEO (GeorgiA LIbrary LEarning Online) Library Project, and the Georgia Career Information System. These systems are accessed by users from all over the state and world. Access to the Internet from Georgia State's network is provided via three T1 circuits supplied by the University System Peachnet Network System.

IS&T operates extensive open access computer labs and computer equipped classrooms. The total number of microcomputers at these locations is over 400, all tied to the campus network and capable of providing access to centralized computing facilities and the Internet.

Georgia Institute of Technology

The Office of Information Technology (OIT) of the Georgia Institute of Technology has the primary mission of providing technology leadership and support to Georgia Tech students, educators, researchers, administrators, and staff. Restructured in 1995, OIT places renewed emphasis on several critical areas including customer service and educational technologies.

OIT issues computer accounts to all students, faculty, and staff for Institute-related activities such as Internet access, electronic mail, electronic publishing, information and database storage and retrieval, class assignments, and research needing high performance and parallel computing.

Georgia Tech is the Network Operations Center South (NOCSouth) for the Southeastern Research Association Network (SURAnet) and is the primary node on the National Science Foundation Network (NSFnet) for the southeastern United States. OIT is also responsible for the design and implementation of the FutureNet program which consists of a series of initiatives to install or significantly upgrade the high bandwidth campus backbone network, internal building wiring, an analog (CATV), and digital video distribution system.

OIT provides 357 public seats in 11 clusters throughout the campus. OIT central computing facilities consist of 1 CDC Cyber990, IBM ES9000 models 260, 1 Sun SparcCenter 2000 (12 CPUs), 2 Sun SparcServer 1000s (6 CPUs), and the distributed parallel computing system which includes a CRAY YMP/EL (2 processors), a SGI PowerChallenge 10000 (24 nodes), an IBM SP/2 (8 nodes), a cluster of IBM RS/6000s, and other parallel systems in specialized laboratories around campus. OIT publishes a quarterly newsletter, OIT UPDATE, a "Guide to Georgia Tech Computing Services, and a guide to the High Performance Computing Consortium. All publications are available on the World Wide Web.

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Research Applications

This proposed project will provide vBNS connectivity to support advanced, telecommunications intensive applications. These applications described below are only examples. It is expected that other applications and network users will become apparent over the life of the project.


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The Center for High Angular Resolution Astronomy , Georgia State University

The Center for High Angular Resolution Astronomy (CHARA) is constructing a revolutionary new kind of telescope that will exceed the resolving power of the Hubble Space Telescope by a factor of 100. This project was initiated in 1994 with a $5.6 million award to CHARA from the National Science Foundation (NSF Grant 94-14449) towards the construction of a five-telescope Ainterferometric array, the ACHARA Array. Georgia State University is committed to raising the additional $5.8 million required to complete the facility by 1999. The Array is being constructed on Mt. Wilson, near Pasadena, California, a high elevation site with twice as many clear nights per year as any Georgia location. The five telescopes in the Array will be distributed within a circle some 1300 feet in diameter, and the light from each telescope will be brought through vacuum pipes to a central station where the beams will be combined under conditions of extremely high precision. In terms of its ability to see fine details in astronomical objects, the result will be equivalent to a single telescope approximately 1800 feet in diameter. The scientific program of the Array will concentrate on determining the fundamental properties of stars through measurement of their masses, distances, luminosities, temperatures and diameters as well as through the imaging of features on their surfaces. The facility, which will be used by Georgia State faculty, staff, and students, will provide the University with a truly world-class scientific capability. No other university in the United States has a competing capability for high resolution studies of astronomical objects.

The CHARA Array will benefit significantly from access to wide-bandwidth and low latency network service in several areas. First, the instrument will generate very large amounts of two-dimensional image data that must be transmitted from the California site to our Atlanta laboratories for real-time or near real-time reduction. Rapid and reliable transmission of these data are both critical issues. There is also a desire to be able to operate all or parts of the facility remotely from Atlanta for trouble-shooting and testing of new control software. Ultimately, adequate bandwidth and guaranteed service may make the remote scientific operation of the Array a possibility with a significant savings in operating costs. Finally, high bandwidth and ensured quality of service will permit bringing the facility into the classroom with students witnessing and participating in the operation of this unique telescope.

Link to Internet 2 Applications at Georgia State University

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The Atlanta High Field NMR Facility , Georgia State University

The Atlanta High Field NMR Facility, located at Georgia State University has Unity+ 500 and 600 MHz instruments. Both instruments have three channels, pulsed field gradients and full pulse programming capabilities including a waveform generator. The 600 MHz spectrometer (funded by the Georgia Research Alliance) has two pulsed field gradient triple resonance probes. The 500 MHz spectrometer (funded by the National Science Foundation) also has two pulsed field gradient probes as well as multinuclear and high temperature probes. The probes can run up to 90oC for research on thermostable proteins, protein folding pathways and DNA-intercalator melting curves. Research involves determination of the structure of proteins, nucleic acids and carbohydrates, the binding of metals to proteins, and dynamic processes of proteins and nucleic acids. Research using the instruments has been presented at a variety of national and international conferences in the last year. Both grants were awarded with the understanding that this facility would be truly available for use by all researchers in Georgia needing the capabilities of these instruments. To date, researchers from Georgia Tech, Emory, Clark Atlanta and the University of Georgia have used the instruments as have scientists from industry and from Vanderbilt University. In almost every instance, it has been necessary for the users to travel to GSU. The instruments are set up for off-site control over the Internet; after the initial sample loading and probe tuning, all spectrometers functions (including shimming) can be run from a remote location. However, the speed of the connection makes off-site control too slow to be practical on a routine basis. Guaranteed service, such as that provided by the vBNS connection would enhance the quality of usage of these instruments. Additionally, the vBNS connectivity would be of great benefit since researchers could use the instrument easily from their home institutions. This would allow them to pursue other aspects of their research and teaching while the runs (12 - 72 hours) proceed.

During the six month period beginning July 1, 1996, outside usage of the NMR instruments accounted for 328 hours. A conservative estimate is that usage by these off-site universities would increase by a factor of 2-4 given viable network connectivity. Additionally, usage by Georgia State researchers is anticipated to increase significantly, leaving smaller blocks of time available for other investigators. Due to the necessary travel time, off-site users cannot effectively make use of these smaller blocks of time. However, the addition of the vBNS connection will allow efficient use of the instruments since these two to five hours free slots can be used remotely.

Link to Internet 2 Applications at Georgia State University

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The Cineon Project, Georgia State University

The vBNS connectivity project will provide a high-speed connection between supercomputers at GSU's Digital Arts/Entertainment Laboratory (DAEL) with supercomputers at Georgia Center for Advanced Telecommunications Technology (GCATT) and Turner Entertainment, institutions that house artists and researchers collaborating with the DAEL in projects that require the manipulation and transmission of large amounts of the highest-quality full motion video. The link would allow principle investigators, Bill Evans, Gary Moss and Mike Sinclair, to explore the potentials of high speed networks with ensured quality of service and large digital video databases in film/video post-position and the collaborative computer environments that facilitate those activities. Research will focus on video storage and retrieval from remote image databases as well as the design and use of such databases.

The DAEL offers a unique opportunity in educational settings for the study of collaborative post-production activities. The laboratory houses the Cineon, the highest-end, non-proprietary digital imaging system available in a university setting in North America. The system is a family of tools that includes a film scanner that reads 35mm film with a resolution of 3,000 lines and 4,096 pixels per line and converts the information into a standard computer file format, a Silicon Graphics Onyx with R10000 processors, and a recorder that permits the information to be recorded back to any format (film, video, HDTV, etc.). A companion Onyx, appropriately configured to receive data from the Cineon system, is available at GCATT. To date the DAEL and its accompanying digital video systems have been funded by Georgia Research Alliance ($2.2 million), the James M. Cox Jr. Foundation ($485,000), and the Turner Foundation ($20,000).

Link to Internet 2 Applications at Georgia State University

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Simulations of Astrophysical Hydrodynamical Flows, Georgia State University

The Astrophysical Hydrodynamical Flows research effort is directed by Dr. Paul Wiita, Professor of Physics and Astronomy. This effort is part of a pending NSF proposal AST-9616670, and was originally supported by NSF grant AST 91-02106. The current work utilizes the resources at the Pittsburgh Supercomputer Center under grant AST930007P that has been renewed for several years. The research involves 3D numerical simulations of astrophysical hydrodynamical flows to study the propagation, growth, and death of different classes of radio galaxies. The computed output parameters (density, pressure, velocity, etc.) require significant visualization, and current network conditions dictate the retrieval of the simulation output for local display at Georgia State. Significant improvements to the efficiency of the research effort can be achieved through remote visualization which would be possible due to the guaranteed service delivery available through the vBNS network.

Link to Internet 2 Applications at Georgia State University

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Geographic Information System Decision Support System, Georgia State University

The Geographic Information System Decision Support System (GISDSS) project is a collaboration between investigators from the Georgia Institute of Technology (Nickolas Faust and David Frost), Georgia State University (Zhi-Yong Zin and G. Scott Owen), plus other investigators at Clark Atlanta University, The University of Georgia, and Kennesaw State University. The initial phase of the project has been funded by the Georgia Research Alliance at a level of $1,750,000. A primary objective of this project is to develop an Internet based system to support environmental decision making. High quality images and animation would be rendered in real time at a central site and distributed, via a network, to graphics workstations at collaborating sites. These images and animations would be used in conjunction with video conferencing and other collaboration tools for decision making. It will require a very high network bandwidth to accommodate the demands of the image transfer and the video conferencing.

Link to Internet 2 Applications at Georgia State University

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Capability Maturity Model, Georgia State University

Collaboration with the safety-critical software community is planned in order to implement a new specialization of the Capability Maturity Model (CMM) that measures the maturity of the strategies for incorporating formal software specifications into the software development process. The basis for this specialized measurement model, the Formal Specifications Strategies Maturity (FSSM) model, is two recent articles that have been written on the subject (one has been published and the other has been accepted, subject to revisions, in the Communications of the ACM), an invited lecture given at the Food and Drug Administration, Center for Devices and Radiological Health, Staff College, and the publication of our FDA lecture in the course book Safety and Reliability for Medical Device Software, (D. Herrmann, Ed.), Health Industry Manufacturers Association (HIMA), 1995. The approach to this collaboration will be to hold virtual workshops on a high-speed sub-network that will allow collaborators to further develop, refine, and validate FSSM and to develop the software engineering artifacts that will enable its use by safety-critical software developers. Access to the vBNS will accomplish the necessary first step of the plan: securing a high speed sub-network that can serve as a the critical telecommunications facilities needed to conduct such virtual workshops. This approach is innovative. First, the workshops can be held multiple times for modest costs once the access to a high-speed sub-network is available. This will ensure that further work on FSSM will benefit from wide participatory interaction and collaboration. Second, these workshops will serve as prototypes for a family of similar research and development virtual workshops which in turn will define and expand the role of vBNS as a participatory research vehicle with high impact.

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The FutureNet Community Project, Georgia Institute of Technology

FutureNet has always been envisioned as a model for technology for the State of Georgia, especially in education. It was with this in mind that brainstorming discussions were begun with a self-selected group of educators and educational content providers. The most important outcome of these discussions has been that this high speed connectivity in the hands of bright, creative individuals fosters community, especially community around a theme.

Through the World Wide Web, serving voice and video content, core local expertise can be shared across distance in both directions simultaneously, creating a community of teaching and learning that eclipses former methodologies for distance education. The FutureNet Community Project is an early implementer of this paradigm. The Fernbank Science Center in the Dekalb County School System, Trickum Middle School in the Gwinnett County School System, and ZooAtlanta have collaborated with several entities at Georgia Tech including the Office of Information Technology, CEISMC, CETL, Chemistry, the Graphics Visualization and Usability Center, and the Georgia Tech Research Institute to form a project based around community sharing of expertise, technology, and common interests to build a demonstration of what can be done with these tools. Several initial projects have been undertaken which revolve around this theme and require joint interaction between the groups. There is much to be gained by building community around a theme and sharing the workload to accomplish a goal. These ideas and their implementations should be seen only as a starting point for what can be realized as the technology of connectivity spreads out through the state. FutureNet has proven to be a catalyst in providing technology to enable many different aspects of community.

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The Georgia Tech High Performance Computing Consortium and the Parallel Virtual Machine, Georgia Institute of Technology

The HPC Consortium promotes the effective use of high performance parallel and distributed architectures for large scale applications. The basic scientific paradigm pursued by the HPC Consortium is that the realization of high performance for future applications on HPC machines requires the collaboration of computer scientists with domain-specific researchers. Therefore, the primary purpose of the HPC Consortium is the creation and support of such collaborations, by development of a coherent strategy for high performance computing at Georgia Tech and by fostering basic and interdisciplinary research and curriculum development in high performance computing. A secondary mission of the HPC Consortium is to ensure the availability of state of the art parallel and networking hardware supporting such efforts and to provide expertise and educational programs to end users.

The HPC Consortium is organized as a federation of individuals and domain- or architecture-specific laboratories performing HPC research located in many different academic units at Georgia Tech. The purpose of the consortium is to share knowledge and resources. The partial list of participating laboratories included in the Supplemental Information demonstrates the breadth and depth of HPC research at Georgia Tech. These laboratories are being linked together via a dedicated ATM High Performance Computing network (HPCNet.)

In essence, the HPC Consortium capitalizes on current strengths at Georgia Tech, where (1) a strong record exists of interdisciplinary research and of shared facilities, (2) significant expertise exists in many of the application domains of HPC and in the Computer Science research areas required for HPC research, (3) the College of Computing has been formed with the mission of fostering interdisciplinary research in computing disciplines, and (4) strong technical and user support organizations exist within the Office of Information Technology. Research in application domains includes parallel molecular dynamics codes, parallel numerical algorithms like those used in finite element modeling, fluid flow models, combustion modeling, atmospheric modeling, etc. In Computer Science, the current research contributions range from user interfaces, to programming support, to operating systems, to architectures and network protocols for high-performance parallel or distributed machines. Additional topics concern the visualization of scientific and engineering data, and the specialization of programming and operating system support for various target applications, like real-time systems or data-parallel scientific applications.

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Georgia Tech Lorraine - Networking-Based Operations Platform for a Geographically Distributed, Franco-American Research Center for Optics in Advanced Digital Systems

Georgia Tech has entered into partnership with the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), the French national laboratory organization, to establish a research activity called the Laboratory for Optics in Advanced Digital Systems, or LOADS. The laboratory's base will be at Georgia Tech Lorraine (GTL), the European platform of the Georgia Institute of Technology located in Metz, France.

LOADS will conduct research into the optimal integration of optics and microelectronics. It will investigate how optics can best be used to increase the capabilities of high-performance digital systems working closely with industry to bring this knowledge into the main stream.

The lab's structure is based on a small core effort at GTL, where a small, interdisciplinary team of researchers will interact with a geographically distributed network of partner labs drawn from the CNRS in France, from Georgia Tech in Atlanta, and from industry and other universities on both sides of the Atlantic. The partner labs will act as sources of specific technologies and reservoirs of expertise and specialized capability, whereas the core component will undertake activities generic to the application of optical interconnection technologies: systems-level modeling, optimization, design, and integration.

We will create an operations platform based on a high-speed networking infrastructure; the services and interactions will be designed to function, to the extent possible, indifferently with respect to the physical location of their users. Our goal is to support functions such as meetings and conferences, administrative tasks, laboratory interactions, library access, and presentations and publications as effectively as if the users were all in a single location.

Finally, new modes of interaction should also be supported that are relevant only to a geographically distributed research entity. Many of these remain to be discovered. However, the need for nomadic computing support is already recognized. Means will be developed to grant LOADS participants equally convenient access to their own digital resources while on the road and visiting participating laboratory sites.

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Georgia Tech parallel applications, Georgia Institute of Technology

Faculty from the Georgia Tech have proven the quality of their HPC applications and research time and time again. For the 1995-1996 year, our faculty brought in approximately $6.3M in funding for research requiring HPC resources and for development of innovative tools for HPC systems. Support for this research has come from many federal agencies including NSF, DoD, ARPA, US Army, NASA, Office of Naval Research, FAA and private companies including Texas Instruments, Bell Communications Research, NNT Corporation, Federated Simulation Systems, Bellcore.

Researchers are already using distributed parallel systems. Through collaborations fostered by the High Performance Computing Consortium, HPCNet, and significant computing resource purchases across the campus, we expect many more projects will be taking advantage of our distributed parallel machine. The following projects are using distributed parallel computing and could take advantage of a national virtual parallel system. Other, candidates can be furnished upon request.

The understanding of the reactions involved in etching, passivation, and growth techniques for fabricating microelectronic devices is aided by the study of simpler model reactions at semiconductor surfaces. Experimental studies of these simpler reactions have at best been inconclusive because of the difficulties in interpreting the experimental results. Chemists at Georgia Tech have developed a new theoretical method to study these reactions and aid in the interpretation of the experimental results. A key feature of this new method, which combines a global geometry optimization engine based on chaotic dynamics and semi-empirical molecular orbital theory, is that it can be run in parallel to study large structures needed to adequately represent co-adsorption on semiconductor surfaces.

Designed by faculty in the College of Computing, the Falcon system addresses the construction of interactive parallel programs, even permitting programmers to 'steer' such high performance applications. Significant increases in the usefulness of parallel programs to end users and in program performance can be realized by the use of steering. Program monitoring is performed in an identical fashion for both shared and non-shared memory parallel machines. Falcon is used in the context of large-scale parallel applications being interactively steered by end users. Falcon operates on all parallel machines at Georgia Tech.

Faculty in Aerospace Engineering are simulating the combustion process in a turbulent hydrogen-air jet flame using full chemical kinetics in a 10-step, 9-species finite-rate kinetics model. The simulation model is based on a new mixing model that has shown superior capability to reproduce realistic features associated with unsteady combustion. Steady state results are also of major interest, so convergence acceleration using multi-stage, multi-grid schemes is employed. Since full kinetics calculations are expensive, a reduced reaction mechanism is used. However, since such modeling is subject to resolution errors, the present approach attempts a new method where the combustion model is implemented within each sub-grid cell, computations being carried out in parallel in each of the grid cells.

A collaboration between faculty in Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, College of Computing, and Office of Information Technology is running large scale simulations of the atmospheric chemistry which involve steering of parallel computations through a visual interface. The parallel computations are set up for distributed computing and require access to remote atmospheric databases. The steering and visualization are also set up for remote operation of the parallel computation. High bandwidth connectivity will allow fast access to massive databases and distributed computational resources. This work is supported by NASA.

Faculty in the College of Computing are working with the Naval Research Laboratory and Lockheed-Martin on shipbuilding using simulation-based design. Work centers around a virtual workbench for doing collaborative design while immersed in the shipboard environment. The high bandwidth connectivity will be especially important for the collaborative aspects of this project. The work is supported by NRL and DARPA. Faculty from the GVU Center are developing Classroom 2000, a Future Computing Environments project designed to empower professors by providing software tools for use with electronic chalkboards and empower students by providing software tools for use both during classes and study. Students use electronic notebooks and Web-based material. A project is underway with NCSA and groups from Michigan, Illinois, and Arizona to develop a collaborative environment for Classroom 2000. This project will use the high bandwidth connectivity. Classroom 2000 is supported by NSF and other agencies.

The Virtual Geographic Information System (VGIS) permits real-time navigation through high resolution, 3D terrain. It overlays the terrain with detailed photographic imagery and with protrusive features such as buildings and roads. Users can access information in a GIS database through interaction with the terrain visualization. Developed by a group at the GVU Center, VGIS has been put in a VR environment and ultimately will be ported into the CAVE environment in a joint project with NCSA and the Army. DIS protocols are used to get real-time updates and it will have a collaborative version. These uses require the high bandwidth connectivity. VGIS is supported by ARL, DARPA, and Philips Labs.

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Architectures for Gigabit Multimedia Delivery, Georgia State University

A proposal to study appropriate software architectures for seamless multimedia delivery to residential and nomadic users at gigabit speeds currently under review with NSF under the CAREER awards program. In this research, the principal investigator Samir Chatterjee proposes to answer several key issues related to the impact of gigabit networking on the end-to-end infrastructure. First, which of the several RAN technology can best handle and perform gigabit rates of delivery from the backbone? Second, as thousands of homes quickly come on-line, how will scalability (and resulting congestion) be handled for bursty data traffic? As the backbone evolves, how will the many flow and congestion control schemes within TCP and ATM technology interact? How can a guaranteed paradigm be built into our existing stack and what are the consequences of admission control, traffic shaping, flow setup and routing on residential customers, small businesses and mobile users? A comprehensive framework using analysis, simulation and empirical techniques along with trace-based research techniques (obtained from actual test beds) is proposed for studying these questions.

The presence of a vBNS connection at Georgia State would be a significant asset to this project. Monitoring and evaluating the effects of gigabit speeds on the current protocol architectures and networking mechanisms using a genuine network would provide very valuable data for the research effort into gigabit multimedia delivery.

Link to Internet 2 Applications at Georgia State University

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High Performance Connectivity

Network Engineering Design

This program will allow a vBNS connection from NSF via MCI to be brought into the existing NSF-funded HPCN network at Georgia Tech (NCR-9613986). This is an ongoing project at GCATT under Dr. John Copeland that initially provides ATM connectivity between Georgia Tech and Georgia State University. It will be expanded to include connections to other Georgia Research Alliance Universities within the state, and may connect via the Georgia Board of Regents Network (Peachnet) to other state educational sites.

The vBNS connection will be brought into the Georgia Tech campus to a central ATM network. In the above figure, this "network" is illustrated as a central ATM switch but may in fact expand to include multiple switches. The central switch will connect via OC12c to the Georgia Tech and Georgia State University campus networks. This extended capacity (622Mb/s) will ensure that each site has excellent access to the vBNS, plus sufficient bandwidth for j oint collaboration between the two universities for meritorious applications and QoS research. Additional sites will be connected at OC3c or DS3 depending on needs and cost. Initially, the vBNS will connect via DS3; when the business case justifies it, the connection would be upgraded to OC-3c.

Georgia Tech and Georgia State have the ability to handle IP traffic and direct ATM traffic via their own ATM network. IP traffic will be distributed between sites based on direct peering between campus boundar y routers. It is expected that all such boundary routers will peer directly by using a virtual full mesh connectivity. This will be implemented by an IP network (subnet) that is common to all routers. This will be done in a manner to allow for redundan t routers. By allowing direct peering between routers, experimental concerns such as QoS, and RSVP implementations, and other issues can be tested without affecting the core router function.

It is possible to use direct PVC's, PVC- or SVC-based Classical IP over ATM, LAN Emulation, or forthcoming protocols such as MPOA. It is expected that more than one IP over ATM transport may be active at once, and that this may change over the lifetime of the project. The ability to support direct ATM traffic via NSAP address-based SVCs will allow direct host-to-host and non-IP traffic to use ATM straight through the network. Georgia Tech and Georgia State bo th have implementations supporting this functionality. Other connecting sites may choose to initially implement an IP-only connection to reduce startup costs. The GIGApop routers provide external gateway functionality and are necessary to provide a cons olidated appearance to the service providers, and to implement routing decisions necessary to handle multiple ISPs and the vBNS connection in accordance with the NSF Acceptable Use Policy and contracts with ISPs. These routers will provide full BGP4 inte raction with the Internet community and therefore will require sufficient router capability to maintain the full Internet BGP tables. They will provide simpler protocol interfaces such as OSPF or a subset of the BGP tables to the connecting sites.

This vBNS connection will be managed by a joint effort between Georgia State, Georgia Tech, and the Georgia Center for Advanced Telecommunications Technology, the operator of the GCATT Broadband Internet. As ex pected, Georgia State will manage its internal network while Georgia Tech will do the same. The GCATT Broadband Internet connection between Georgia Tech and Georgia State will be managed by GCATT while Georgia Tech will manage the vBNS connection and the dedicated vBNS router.

Local Network Infrastructure

Georgia State University

Georgia State is currently in Phase I of the Network Redesign Project which sets the direction for the modernization of Georgia State's network infrastructure to support the University's mission and strategies f or excellence in research, instructional technologies and administrative support. Phase I is 50% complete and is providing cost estimates and other economic data to help Georgia State define the optimum relationship between economic investment and benefi t (performance), and recommending appropriate capital budget and operational funding requests. Actual construction documents for the physical layer cabling upgrades and physical connectivity at each workstation are being provided for 25 buildings on camp us. Through extensive modeling of the existing network, documentation, plans and recommendations for a network infrastructure are being derived which will be highly reliable and maintainable, allow for quick recovery, connect all users, enable future exp ansion and is scaleable. The resulting network is expected to provide desktop connectivity at switched 10BaseT, switched 100BaseT, and ATM OC-3 speeds. The provision of this level of connectivity will require a meshed backbone consisting of multiple ATM switches supplying bandwidth at OC-3 and OC-12 speeds to buildings on campus. It is anticipated that over the next several years, Georgia State will fund $3-5M for the implementation phase of the Network Redesign Project. As a result of this extensive re-engineering of the Georgia State network, the University will be postured to avail itself of the vBNS connection requested in this proposal, and improve the performance and quality of service to meritorious applications from the desktop to the Interne t.

Georgia Institute of Technology

Georgia Tech has recently completed the first phase of a major reconstruction of the campus' network infrastructure. This was accomplished in conjunction with preparation for the '96 Summer Olympic Games. Abo ut half of the major campus buildings and most of the campus classrooms have been fitted with state-of-the-art copper and fiber optic cabling. Four ATM switches plus multiple edge devices have been deployed to connect four major organizations plus all the residence halls into a dual OC-3 network mesh.

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Quality of Service (QoS) Support

The simultaneous operation of traditional Internet applications and specialized research applications over the vBNS requires the configuration and management of several Quality of Service (QoS) criteria within the network connections and the interoperability of QoS parameters between the IP and ATM networks. For example, a large file transfer cannot interfere with a constant bit rate video data stream that is being recorded, nevertheless maximum available bandwidth must be achieved for the file transfer to support cooperative work sessions. The research focus of this proposed vBNS connection will be the interoperability between ATM QoS and RSVP QoS. RSVP [RSVP] specifies admission control and QoS for flows through a flow descriptor. These RSVP QoS requests must be translated to the appropriate ATM QoS [UNI4.0] parameters at the User-to-Network Interface (UNI) and at the Network-to-Network Interface (NNI). The RSVP QoS parameters must be mapped onto ATM QoS parameters such as delay, delay variation, error rates, etc. for the various traffic types. Initially the translation will be between predefined QoS on ATM PVCs, but will migrate to translation for each connection when SVCs are available at the vBNS connection. In addition, this research will be performed on a multi-vendor network, which makes QoS particularly difficult.Other issues associated with meeting these the QoS goals of this project include;- application specific QoS requirements [LANE][RFC1577][RFC1483],- QoS aware routing [IISP][PNNI][TOM],- QoS aware signaling [UNI3.0][UNI4.0][LIN],and- vendor specific switch buffering and latency [FORE][ALLES].

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Additional Information

For the complete "Georgia State University High-Speed Connection to the Internet and vBNS" document, you may download the Microsoft Word document.

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