Ohio researcher garners $287k DOE grant to devise better techniques for measuring, managing network traffic Research seeks to improve service for users of next-generation networks

Columbus, Ohio (October 6, 2009) – The U.S. Department of Energy has awarded $287,000 to the Ohio Supercomputer Center and the Ohio Academic Resources Network to devise new, more effective techniques that will improve the performance of the next generation of computer networks.

Prasad Calyam, Ph.D., a senior systems developer and engineer for OSC/OARnet, will serve as the principal investigator of the two-year project, titled “Sampling Approaches for Multi-domain Internet Performance Measurement Infrastructures to Better Serve Network Control and Management.” The award, made through the Department of Energy’s Office of Advanced Scientific Computing Research, will focus on better data traffic management of “high-performance networks for distributed petascale science.”

“The next generation of computer networks will be crucial for transmitting the huge amounts of research data generated for and processed by sophisticated applications in projects such as the Large Hadron Collider on high performance computers at universities, DOE labs and businesses,” said Calyam.

“This project will involve developing novel research methods to measure and analyze network health status. The research findings will be incorporated to extend the “ActiveMon” network health monitoring software that was created earlier at OSC/OARnet through seed funding from the Ohio Board of Regents. Other related network health monitoring software frameworks being deployed on DOE’s ESnet network could also benefit from the software extensions. The research findings and software will dynamically measure and analyze network performance at each critical point across multiple network federations, identifying network bottlenecks and directing large amounts of data traffic along the most efficient path.”

Currently, Internet service providers (ISPs) do not have the ability to measure and control network data traffic at the speeds required by researchers conducting intensive computation and visualization projects over the Internet. This gap between the needs of the researchers and the limitations of ISPs “threatens the prevalence of existing and emerging end-applications on the Internet,” according to the grant proposal.

The research staff at OSC and OARnet has a well-regarded reputation for nationally significant network and computational innovation, working on vital research projects funded by agencies such as the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health and the Department of Defense. To meet its goal, the project staff will leverage OSC’s flagship IBM Cluster 1350 supercomputer, as well as OARnet’s nationally leading statewide, fiber-optic network backbone.

The Ohio Supercomputer Center is a catalytic partner of Ohio universities and industries that provides a reliable high performance computing infrastructure for a diverse statewide/regional community. Funded by the Ohio Board of Regents, OSC promotes and stimulates computational research and education in order to act as a key enabler for the state's aspirations in advanced technology, information systems, and advanced industries. For additional information, visit http://www.osc.edu.