101 Excellent Reasons to Send in your SCiNet Research Sandbox Proposal by June 5

As co-chair of the SCinet11 Research Sandbox (SRS), I’d like to remind you that research proposals are due this Sunday, June 5.  The SRS Sandbox is a great way for researchers to play with and test ideas for innovative network architectures, applications, tools and protocols in the high-powered live environment of the SCinet network. This year is notable, as the SRS will provide researchers with access to over 100 Gigabits per second of capacity and the flexibility of a software-programmable testbed network on the SCinet infrastructure.

Digging into 100Gbps and OpenFlow too

At SC11, SRS plans a 10 Gigabit per second (Gbps), multi-vendor OpenFlow network testbed connecting the Washington State Convention Center in Seattle to several national research networks to provide wide area OpenFlow capabilities. OpenFlow allows the implementation of software-defined network policy. While originally conceived to allow researchers to implement new protocols without entirely new hardware, OpenFlow has begun to allow innovation and optimization with current protocols.  SRS is highlighting OpenFlow because it can potentially revolutionize the networking environment and in turn its ability to support HPC applications. OpenFlow allows an HPC data center to easily reconfigure the network on the fly, separating bulk data flows from other flows, for example. Openflow will also provide virtualization of the data center network to support cloud environments, allowing resource allocation to individual virtual machines, or providing multiple clouds from the same infrastructure.

This year, for the first time, submissions to the Disruptive Technologies (DT) program can also demonstrate their research as part of the SRS.  Disruptive Technologies, which has taken place as part of the SC technical program since 2006, examines new computing and networking architectures and interfaces that will significantly impact the high-performance computing field throughout the next five to 15 years, but have not yet emerged in current systems. Submissions to Disruptive Technologies should indicate their interest in demonstrating their research as part of SRS where indicated in the DT online submissions form.

How to submit

SRS submissions should describe the nature of the experiments, desired outcomes, the relevance to the HPC community, as well as a description of the network requirements and vendor collaborations (if appropriate). Submissions do not have to utilize OpenFlow to be considered for SRS. Submissions may be up to 3 pages long, and must address the approach and what will be learned or demonstrated by the effort.

Those whose submissions are accepted will be able to present their experiment in a technical panel session, and submissions will be included in the SC11 proceedings. In addition, accepted projects are expected to write up the results obtained during SC11, and all SRS write-ups will be assembled for journal submission. SCinet may provide additional fiber to a booth to support an SRS experiment as well. Submissions are due by June 5, 2011.  To submit to the SRS, visit:  https://submissions.supercomputing.org/

— Brian Tierney, group lead for the Advanced Network Technologies Group, ESnet.