Initially the network will connect the three Energy Department unclassified supercomputing centers: the National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC) at Berkeley Lab, Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility (OLCF), and Argonne Leadership Computing Facility (ALCF), as well as the Manhattan Landing International Exchange Point (MANLAN).
A new prototype network built by the Energy Department’s Energy Sciences Network (ESnet), will allow scientists to share, analyze and visualize complex information quicker than ever before. The Advanced Networking Initiative (ANI) transmits at about 100 Gigabits per second (Gbps), which is about 10 times faster than most commercial Internet providers, and approximately 50,000 times faster than scientists (or anyone else) can send information via their iPhones.
It won’t make for conversations that are 50,000 times faster than normal, but it will provide the opportunity for greater insight into scientific and societal challenges. Today’s complex scientific experiments produce vast amounts of information. Therefore, the need for new capacity and for greater connectivity to transmit this information is very real.
The ANI gives National Laboratory scientists the ability to pull information from specialized research centers, and then analyze it using the Energy Department’s supercomputers, which are some of the most powerful in the world. The ability to further leverage these resources will lead to more scientific discoveries, from understanding of the most basic building blocks of matter to investigating the genetic causes of diseases and searching for more effective treatments.
The 100 Gbps network – which was funded with $62 million from the 2009 economic stimulus law – is an upgrade to ESnet, which is managed by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and allows thousands of Energy Department researchers to work with colleagues and partners all around the world.
However, the ultrafast new network promises to be much more than a simple upgrade. It will begin by connecting the Office of Science’s three supercomputing centers at Argonne, Lawrence Berkeley, and Oak Ridge National Laboratories. By the end of next year, the new network will connect all of the Office of Science’s national research sites and will extend these ultra-high speed connections between Energy Department labs and facilities all over the world.
The new network will keep the Office of Science on the cutting edge of connections capability, and help keep the country on the leading edge of innovation. That’s essential, not simply for scientific discovery, but for economic prosperity.
You can find more information on the Energy Department’s Office of Science website.