Apply for the 2022 Women in IT Networking at SC program and help build SCInet!

The Women in IT Networking at SC (WINS) program is now accepting applications from US-based early- to mid-career women for their 2022 program. Those selected for the program will be given full travel funding to attend the Supercomputing Conference (SC) in Dallas, TX from November 13-18, 2022, where they’ll have a chance to help construct SCinet, a unique multi-terabit-per-second network built annually to support demonstrations by SC attendees.

The WINS program was developed in 2015 to combat the gender gap in the network engineering and high performance computing fields.  WINS is a joint effort between the Department of Energy’s Energy Sciences Network (ESnet), the Keystone Initiative for Network Based Education and Research (KINBER), and the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR) and works collaboratively with the SC program committee.

What the program entails

If selected for the program, you’ll be matched with a SCinet team and a high-profile mentor based on your interests and background. You’ll also get to dive in and work side-by-side with top engineers building SCinet.

Those selected for the program will also receive: 

  • Travel funds for attending staging, setup, and live support of the SC conference as a SCinet volunteer.
  • Complimentary conference registration
  • Professional development support before, during, and after the conference

Who should apply

Early- and mid-career engineers and technologists who: 

  • Want to work side-by-side with the world’s leading network, software, and systems engineers and top network technology vendors.
  • Identify as women at the time of application.
  • Are able to travel to Dallas, TX during the following dates (assuming COVID doesn’t interfere):
    • SCinet Staging: Oct. 20-28, 2022
    • SCinet Setup: Nov. 7-13, 2022
    • SCinet Live Operations/SC22 Conference and SCinet teardown: Nov 13-19, 2022

WINS is especially interested in applications from historically underrepresented groups in the Information Technology field, including Black or African-American, American Indian or Alaska Native, Hispanic or Latinx women. 

Learn more and submit your application here. Applications are due by January 21, 2022, at 11:59 pm. If you want to participate in SCinet but don’t fit the above criteria, you can contact SCinet to learn more about other volunteer opportunities 

ESnet Highlights from ZeekWeek’21

Fatema Bannat Wala presenting at ZeekWeek21

Slides and videos from ZeekWeek have just been made available — here are links to ESnet highlights.


ZeekWeek, an annual Fall conference organized by the Zeek Project, took place online from October 13-15 this year. The conference had over 2000 registered participants from the open source user community this year, who got together to share the latest and greatest about this cyber-security and network monitoring software tool.

Berkeley Lab staff member Vern Paxson developed the precursor to the Zeek intrusion detection software, then called Bro, in 1994. As an early adopter, ESnet’s cybersecurity team has strong relationships with the Zeek community, and this ZeekWeek was an opportunity to showcase advances and uses made by the software by ESnet and the entire Research and Educational Networking Community.


The talk “DNS and Spoofed traffic investigation with Zeek,” presented by Fatema Bannat Wala, discussed how Zeek is being used to do network traffic analysis/investigations at ESnet by triaging abnormal activities when these occur on our network.

The talks “A Better Way to Capture Packets with DPDK” and “Details for DPDK plugin development and performance measurement presented by Vlad Grigorescu and Scott Campbell, detailed the development process of the plugin and the performance enhancements it brings to the network packet capture technology.

Fatema Bannat Wala also did a training session on “Introduction to Zeek,” which provided hands-on experience with Zeek tools and information about how to get involved with the collaboration.

ESnet’s cybersecurity team looks forward to continued collaboration with the Zeek community, attending next year’s ZeekWeek, and to contributing future code enhancements to this great software ecosystem.

3 Questions with Michael Haberman

Michael comes to ESnet’s Cybersecurity group after working as a software engineer at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA), and in the Automated Learning Group at the University of Illinois, Champaign/Urbana (UIUC). Recently, he has also been an instructor for a data science and machine learning course within the School of Informatics (iSchool).

Michael Haberman
Michael Haberman

What brought you to ESnet?
The classes I taught at UIUC were designed around mastery-based learning and evidence-based teaching. I built a framework that instrumented the assignments (similar to observability) so that I could get a good pulse on where students were struggling and where they weren’t. Creating the end-to-end workflows for the students made me realize how much I missed architecting (and building) software. I knew several great ESnet people and it was just perfect timing that the security group had an opening where they were receptive to bringing on someone with a software design background and also enthusiastic about letting me continue climbing the data analytics and machine learning mountain (I’m at the base). I also love that ESnet’s mission enables science.

What’s the most exciting thing happening in your field?
There’s a lot going on and staying current is a challenge. If I had to pick a topic that is ripe for potential (or hype) it’s using blockchain “decentralized ledger” technology (now being used for databases, voting, and electronic currencies), to create applications in digital identity, and remove unnecessary intermediaries from transactions. It seems like there are new application ideas for blockchain every day.

Although I do not know much about cryptocurrency (or its future), the idea of using their decentralized ‘bookkeeping’ architecture for secure transactions with provenance seems intriguing.

What book would you recommend?
I remember reading The Cuckoo’s Egg in high school and it’s one of the books that got me interested in both computer science and security. When I saw this question I remembered that the main character is from LBL! Perhaps the security group will want me to look into an accounting discrepancy?

ESnet Machine Learning Researchers Win Best Paper at MLN ‘2021!

MLN '2021 Best Paper Award Notification

Sheng Shen, Mariam Kiran, and Bashir Mohammed have just been awarded the Best Paper award at the International Conference on Machine Learning for Networking (MLN). Sponsored by the Conservatoire National des Arts et Métiers (CNAM), the École Supérieure d’Ingénieurs en Électrotechnique et Électronique (ESIEE), and Laboratoire d’Informatique Gaspard-Monge (LIGM), MLN is being held virtually 1-3 December 2021.

The paper, “DynamicDeepFlow: An Approach for Identifying Changes in Network Traffic Flow Using Unsupervised Clustering,” uses a hybrid of deep learning variational autoencoder model and a shallow learning k-means to help identify unique traffic patterns across ESnet. These unique patterns can help identify if a new experiment has started or whether current network bandwidth is changing.

DynamicDeepFlow (DDF) model structure

“We’re very excited to receive this recognition and the conference was a wonderful opportunity to exchange thoughts and ideas with peers in France. MLN is a conference dedicated to discussing machine learning applications in networks. Our next task is to integrate DynamicDeepflow with Netpredict to show real-time information in ESnet data” — Mariam Kiran

Papers from MLN will be published as post-proceedings in Springer’s Lecture Notes in Computer Science (LNCS).

ESnet Scientists awarded best paper at SC21 INDIS!

A combined team from ESnet and Lehigh University was awarded the best paper for Exploring the BBRv2 Congestion Control Algorithm for use on Data Transfer Nodes at the 8th IEEE/ACM International Workshop on Innovating the Network for Data-Intensive Science (INDIS 2021), which was held in conjunction with the 2021 IEEE/ACM International Conference for High Performance Computing, Networking, Storage and Analysis (SC21) on Monday, November 15, 2021.

The team was comprised of:

  • Brian Tierney, Energy Sciences Network (ESnet)
  • Eli Dart, Energy Sciences Network (ESnet)
  • Ezra Kissel, Energy Sciences Network (ESnet)
  • Eashan Adhikarla, Lehigh University

The paper can be found here. Slides from the presentation are here. In this Q+A, ESnet spoke with the award-winning team about their research — answers are from the team as a whole.

INDIS 21 Best Paper Certificate

The paper is based on extensive testing and controlled experiments with the BBR (Bottleneck Bandwidth and Round-trip propagation time), BBRv2 and the Cubic Function Binary Increase Congestion Control (CUBIC) Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) Internet congestion algorithms. What was the biggest lesson from this testing?

BBRv2 represents a fundamentally different approach to TCP congestion control. CUBIC (as well as Hamilton, Reno, and many others) are loss-based, meaning that they interpret packet loss as congestion and therefore require significant network engineering effort to achieve high performance. BBRv2 is different in that it measures the network path and builds a model of the path – it then paces itself to avoid loss and queueing. In practical terms, this means that BBRv2 is resilient to packet loss in a way that CUBIC is not. This comes through loud and clear in our data.

What part of the testing was the most difficult and/or interesting?

We ran a large number of tests in a wide range of scenarios. It can be difficult to keep track of all the test configurations, so we wrote a “test harness” in python that allowed us to keep track of all the testing parameters and resulting data sets.

The harness also allowed us to better compare results collected over real-world paths to those in our testbed environments. Managing the deployment of the testing environment though containers also allowed for rapid setup and improved reproducibility. 

You provide readers with links to great resources so they can do their own testing and learn more about BBRv2. What do you hope readers will learn?

We hope others will test BBRv2 in high-performance research and education environments. There are still some things that we don’t fully understand, for example there are some cases where CUBIC outperforms BBRv2 on paths with very large buffers. It would be great for this to be better characterized, especially in R&E network environments.

What’s the next step for ESnet research into BBRv2? How will you top things next year?

We want to further explore how well BBRv2 performs at 100G and 400G. We would also like to spend additional time performing a deeper analysis of the current (and newly generated) results to gain insights into how BBRv2 performs compared to other algorithms across varied networking infrastructure. Ideally we would like to provide strongly substantiated recommendations on where it makes sense to deploy BBRv2 in the context of research and educational network applications.

Arecibo Support Wins SC21 HPCwire Readers’ Choice Award!

Arecibo dish after the collapse

As part of a team spanning 15 government, academic, and industrial partners, the Engagement and Performance Operations Center (EPOC) – a collaboration between Indiana University and ESnet – was awarded the “Best HPC Collaboration (Academia/Government/Industry)” HPCwire Readers’ Choice award on Tuesday, Nov. 16. The award, which was made at the High Performance Computing, Networking, Storage and Analysis (SC21) conference, recognizes the effort and collaboration required to move and safeguard irreplaceable data (over 50 years of astronomical observations) from the Arecibo observatory following the structural collapse of this scientific resource in 2016.

At ESnet, Ken Miller, George Robb, and Jason Zurawski supported these efforts as both full members of EPOC and ESnet staff. Both Jason and Ken divide their time between ESnet’s Science Engagement Team, while George is with ESnet’s Infrastructure Systems group. LightBytes looped up with Jason Zurawski to get his thoughts on the project and award, and an update on the Arecibo effort since our post in April 2021 on this project.


Now that data from Arecibo has been migrated to the Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC), what happens now, and how will this data be used?

The team at the University of Central Florida has been engaged with TACC on several ways to build up the capabilities for their data analysis and sharing requirements. They are working to deploy a portal that will allow researchers access to the data, as well as build workflows to investigate and process using computation provided by TACC.

The team at Arecibo is also still going to process much older data that still resides on tape. Due to the delicate state of the media, it is carefully being read and transferred to on-island storage before being transmitted to TACC for archiving. This work will take several more months to complete.

What do you think the lessons from this effort are in terms of getting so many different organizations to work together to support this very challenging problem?

The collapse that Arecibo experienced sent ripples through the R&E community because researchers and technology professionals alike knew there was a limited window to act on replicating important observations gathered over the years. The partners in this effort were motivated to act, and that removed many barriers to putting some solutions in place. Everyone collaborated efficiently with their core competencies, and we continue to work together as the next steps for the scientific collaboration are planned.

Plans are starting to emerge for a “next generation” Arecibo based on the loss of this instrument, how might the next generation of data management resources be shaped by this collaboration?

Now that there has been some time to evaluate the work, it has also spurred UCF and Arecibo to plan for the future with respect to computation, storage, and network connectivity both in Puerto Rico and in Florida.  With these improvements planned, they will be well-positioned to serve the scientific data for years to come.  New instruments will no doubt increase the data demands by many orders of magnitude – addressing all aspects of the data pipeline now, and then gradually increasing the capabilities over time, will help to prepare for these emerging challenges. 

Congratulations to all of the organizations and staff who helped prevent the loss of this data!

Making the Research and Educational Community SAFER: Adam Slagell on the creation of a new global collaboration to combat cyberthreats.

Adam Slagell is ESnet’s Chief Security Officer and a founding member of the newly formed Security Assistance For Education & Research (SAFER) trust group.

SAFER is an operational security entity focused on fighting computer misuse and defending the academic, research, and education (R&E) mission globally.  SAFER brings together expertise and resources from organizations across the Research and Educational cybersecurity community, including CERN, DFN-CERT, ESET, ESnet, LBNL, STFC, and WLCG.

More information can be found here https://www.safer-trust.org/.


What motivates the creation of SAFER and what do you think success will look like for the community?

There are many cybersecurity trust groups out there, some even dedicated to R&E like REN-ISAC or XSEDE’s trust group consisting of current and former Teragrid and XSEDE site  members. However, there really isn’t anything like this—both permanent and truly international— even though attacks are almost always transnational. So each time there is a new, major campaign, an international group connecting all these regional responders must be created again. What we are trying to do is create that permanent backbone with a core set of highly connected individuals who are a part of these regional and project-specific trust groups around the world.

If we are successful, we will see several things. First, I believe we will see more international cooperation and information sharing, leading to an earlier notice of new attack campaigns. Second, we will be able to activate a response more quickly, pulling in the expertise needed from a broad pool of SAFER members and their trusted colleagues. Finally, it is our hope that we can provide surge capabilities when a member is under attack. Many R&E organizations have limited resources and small teams. It is a tremendous asset if they can get help from their peers, maybe with unique expertise as they are facing a disruptive attack.

What kind of security resources will SAFER provide?

I alluded to some of the services when discussing what success will look like. But ultimately, our security resources will be determined by community needs. The founding members will serve as the steering committee for the first year until we elect the next steering committee. 

One of our  first-steps is  setting up a Malware Information Sharing Platform (MISP) instance to share Indicators of Compromise, e.g., IP addresses, file hashes, domain names, etc. Usually, there is no requirement for members to share such data as the rules and regulations differ so much across organizations. But even on day one, we will have enough organizations that can contribute to making this service useful.

There is also a secure messaging and chat service using decentralized cryptography that all of our members can participate in. These ad hoc conversations about what people are seeing on their networks will hopefully help detect trends early.

Finally, many of the founding members have more resources from these large institutions, and I believe we can quickly help those projects and institutions that might struggle with an attack by providing our expertise while helping to train the next generation of security professionals.

What excites you most about this effort and what is the opportunity to do the most good?

I love the community-building aspect. In a past life, I created the Bro (now Zeek) Leadership Team and really worked hard to build a vibrant community around that software. I think this expertise is where I can be most helpful as I am less technical in my roles today.

I will also say, I am excited about getting young people involved, too. Organizations who contribute time from their teams will really benefit. There is no training for an incident response like jumping in, and I expect the variety of issues we will see will prove very useful just from a training and development perspective.

LBL has a long history supporting cybersecurity research, from the early days of Clifford Stoll and The Cuckoo’s Egg to the creation of Bro.  What does the future of cybersecurity look like, and how will that shape the REN community?

Indeed, LBL’s security team is also a SAFER founding member. One of the things I love about working here and at ESnet is that our mission is outward-focused and when we help the community we raise all boats so to speak.

Fortune telling however is a dangerous game. We have anticipated some things, like cryptocurrency mining coming to HPCs. However, the threat landscape and tools available keep changing. That is part of what makes this job interesting. The important thing that I hope we keep in mind is that security is not done for its own sake, but to enable our mission of scientific research. To me, this means that we must always work to make risk-based security decisions, even when that might challenge pushes for compliance and simple one-size-fits-all solutions. 

Next Generation ESnet6 Routers Installed and Accepted!

ESnet6 took a major step forward last week with the completed installation and acceptance of all 40 “greenfield” routers on the network backbone. These new routers will enable ESnet to operate at speeds up to 400 Gbps across our national fiber network, and provide the backbone infrastructure behind our next generation scientific data mobility capabilities.

A new ESnet6 backbone router in its native habitat.

The installation and acceptance process at each location across the continental US required careful coordination between subcontractors, colocation facility personnel, Lab site staff, and multiple teams across ESnet. Following local health regulations and access requirements, ESnet arranged physical access for the subcontractors at each location and all parties participated in a turn-up conference call as the routers were installed and brought online..

In addition to networking capabilities, the ESnet6 team implemented new software automation capabilities simplifying the installation and acceptance process.  These capabilities included enhancements to the ESnet inventory system to support bulk planning data import, automatic bill of materials generation, automatic site survey generation, and automated generation of all backbone links within the network.  In addition, the team introduced new workflow orchestration, automated provisioning, and inventory discovery capabilities to help with the installation process.

The acceptance of the ESnet6 greenfield routers is a major milestone for the ESnet6 Project and the team has already migrated a significant portion of customer traffic onto the new routers. Despite the extra challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, the project has made steady progress and is on track to finish ahead of schedule. 

Science begins as a Conversation! See how ESnet creates a world where conversations become discovery. Watch our new video now!

Ever want to know how big research data moves around the globe? ESnet plays a significant role in supporting the great scientific conversations, collaborations, and experiments underway, wherever and whenever they occur. We move Exabytes of data around the world creating a global laboratory that accelerates scientific discovery.

In order to meet these needs of scientists, we are constantly looking for opportunities to expand our capabilities with our next generation network ESnet6, intelligent edge analytics, advanced network testbeds, 5G wireless, quantum networking and more.

https://www.es.net/scienceconversation/

ESnet’s Nick Buragilio Wins Prize at the Annual LBNL IPO Pitch Competition for Hecate

Three questions with Nick Buragilio about the Pitch Competition

Nick Buragilio took third prize at the LBNL Intellectual Property Office’s Annual Pitch Competition on September 9 for his talk on “Hecate: Directing happiness to internet service provider customers.” Hecate is a software tool that leverages machine learning to automate complex network traffic engineering.  The prize includes $1000 for the Hecate team, supporting continued lab-to-market progress.


How did you develop the technology? It’s a team of three: myself, Scott Campbell, and Mariam Kiran. Scott is handling the data collection and curation and pipelining the data into AI algorithms being developed by Mariam. Mariam is also working on porting the algorithms to GPUs. I’m handling the overall technology and product strategy, plus network elements supporting large-scale traffic engineering. 

The idea came from traffic engineering and segment routing conversations; Mariam had some ideas about bringing in machine learning from the SENSE project, so we sat down over Zoom and sketched things out – it was a natural meeting of minds and very much a virtual “mapping out a project on a napkin” moment, despite the pandemic.

What was it like pulling together the pitch? I enjoy public speaking, and I like to challenge myself. The Pitch Competition seemed like a good opportunity to test the waters and experiment to see what would work and what might not. The challenge was to fit a complicated technical topic into a 5-minute elevator pitch. The Intellectual Property Office supplied coaching as well.

What’s next? We continue on with our testing, and we are looking for more opportunities to use the demonstration software on real data, especially research and educational network partners who can give access to their network data. I’m at buraglio@es.net if a reader is interested in learning more!