ESnet Interim Director Inder Monga was among the many representatives from the Department of Energy’s national laboratories, the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, the Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy and the Office of Technology Transitions on hand at DOE’s “Make | ENERGY Pavilion” at the Bay Area Maker Faire held May 20-22 at the San Mateo County Event Center.
Up to 150,000 people were expected to attend the event. On the last day, the DOE pavilion received a “Best in Class” award.
In addition to answering questions about DOE’s high performance scientific network, Monga also led a hands-on demonstration of perfSONAR (PERFormance Service Oriented Network monitoring ARchitecture ). Co-developed by ESnet, perfSONAR is a network monitoring and measurement tool to help network and IT staff understand and visualize packet loss and throughput problems on network connections through active testing and publishing of the data.
The demo used Raspberry Pi computers to simulate a worldwide network of severs and participants used the free and open-source perfSONAR software to troubleshoot bottlenecks. The display was created by Sowmya Balasubramanian, a software developer in ESnet’s Advanced Network Technologies Group, and Mary Hester of ESnet’s Science Engagement Team.
“It was great chatting with so many intellectually curious kids and adults at DOE’s first official presence at the Maker Faire, the whole experience was personally very satisfying. The audience appreciated the engineering done by ESnet, DOE’s High Performance Network facility, and our solutions for dealing with big data science,” says Monga.
The Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory’s presence in the Make | Energy Pavilion was coordinated by the lab’s Innovation and Partnerships Office. DOE was one of five sponsors of the event.
Science Node, a newsletter based in the U.S. and Europe that looks at the real-world impact of advanced computing and networks, just posted an interview with Larry Smarr about the importance of Science DMZs in advancing research. Developed by ESnet, the Science DMZ is a scalable network design model for optimizing science data transfers. The model has been endorsed by the National Science Foundation, which funds programs to build Science DMZs on university campuses.
Smarr, founding director of the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology (Calit2), a UC San Diego/UC Irvine partnership, and the Harry E. Gruber professor in Computer Science and Engineering at UC San Diego, said in an ESnet article that ESnet “defined the Science DMZ and took it to the DOE science community. NSF has now cloned this approach through the CC-NIE program over the past three years. It’s been built out on over 100 campuses and these Science DMZs are all based on ESnet’s approach.”
Smarr is also the PI for the Pacific Research Platform, which will the Science DMZs of most of the research universities on the West Coast (the 10 University of California campuses, San Diego State University, Caltech, USC, Stanford, University of Washington) via three advanced networks: ESnet, CENIC’s California Research & Education Network (CalREN) and Pacific Wave.
After living for 18 years in Beirut, Lebanon, where she was director of IT infrastructure and support at the Lebanese American University in Beirut, Melissa Stockman returned to the U.S. and was looking for a new position when she saw a posting for a job with the ESnet Tools Team to develop network automation tools.
“My first thought was that it looked so interesting and was a combination of my background in machine learning and networking,” Stockman said. “I had experience in both of those areas.”
So, she applied to see what would happen. She sent her resume and was contacted the next day for a number of phone interviews, then flew out from the Princeton area for an intense day of meeting and talking with ESnet staff. It took a couple of months but she finally heard back with a job offer.
“I liked the people and was struck by how nice they are,” she said, “and the weather was so much nicer than New Jersey. I think California’s a better place for me.”
Since she joined ESnet earlier this year, she’s been developing software in two different areas, one to perform network analytics and the other to assist in network automation. Her current analytics project involves storing large amounts of router data in the cloud for later analysis. On the network automation side, she is working on a tool to check, verify and automatically update ESnet’s point-to-point router information that can become out of synch when devices are changed. Finding and fixing such problems now has to be done manually, but Stockman’s software will do the task automatically each day.