A PRAGMA-OptIPlanet Collaboratory Partnership2008/04/14
The concept of Telepresence, an idea that was quite pervasive in science fiction of the 1950s and 1960s, is at least fifty years old. As early as the late 1980s, research labs in industry and academia were already developing prototypes that utilized existing telecommunications equipment. Today, the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology (Calit2), a UCSD/UCI partnership, has a variety of projects underway exploring how to enable new applications using the new cyberinfrastructure, Optical networking, Internet Protocol, computer storage, processing and visualization technologies (OptIPuter). The OptIPuter project, funded by the US’s National Science Foundation (NSF), is an envisioned cyberinfrastructure that will tightly couple people, computational resources, and experimental devices on a global scale using persistent 1-10 gigabit/s optical networks. New middleware technologies are being developed to dynamically manage those interconnected, distributed, high-performance computers, data storage devices, visualization displays, and instrumentation. With large-scale visualization walls or “OptIPortals” acting as terminal devices, scientists across different continents, some generating terabytes and even petabytes of data, can interactively visualize, analyze, and collaborate in real time.
A global-scale OptIPlanet Collaboratory will be realized once worldwide collaboration sites link up their OptIPortals over the ultra-high-speed network. The Pacific Rim Applications and Grid Middleware Assembly (PRAGMA) community meets twice annually. Trust, a precious resource for global-scale collaboration, has been fostered among PRAGMA’s multi-nation technical groups over the years. Collaborators from the OptIPuter community are likely to want to be able to have timely discussions on work progress or simply to greet each other. Implementation of OptIPlanet Collaboratory will usher the community into a new era of collaboration.
In 2008, a number of PRAGMA sites will become early OptIPuter members. These pioneering members will establish large-scale visualization walls in their institutes and uplink them through a Lambda Network to create a global-scale OptIPlanet Collaboratory. This OptIPlanet Collaboratory will be driven by the demands of application scientists, engineered by leading networking engineers, and enabled by Grid middleware developers. Early applications will include microbial metagenomics, coral reef observation, planetary science, hurricane prediction, and digital cinema. This emerging partnership between PRAGMA and OptIPlanet Collaboratory will also rapidly advance global cooperation on critical problems facing our planet.