GlobalNOC engineers play key role in SCinet network development

SCinet is the world’s fastest network, designed and built every year to support the revolutionary applications and experiments at the annual Supercomputing Conference (SC). Two engineers from the GlobalNOC at Indiana University mastered new technologies to help make this network possible at SC12 in Salt Lake City.

Andrew Lee and Tom Johnson joined almost 70 other computing experts to develop and install SCinet. The volunteers worked throughout the year to prepare for the conference and spent three weeks on site in Salt Lake City. SCinet linked the Salt Palace Convention Center to research and commercial networks around the world, including the Department of Energy’s ESnet, Internet2, and the National LambdaRail.

“The experience is intense and wearing, but vastly rewarding,” said Lee.

As a seven-year member of the SCinet team, Lee served as the co-chair for the SC12 Research Sandbox, which provides access to a 10 Gigabits per second (Gbps) OpenFlow testbed and a 100 Gigabit Ethernet national testbed. This allowed researchers to experimentally demonstrate their ideas in a live environment and be published in the SC Technical Program.

Not only do GlobalNOC volunteers work with pioneering technology, they also develop relationships with industry leaders from around the world.

“SCinet is a very fun community to be a part of and it brings together a lot of very skilled professionals from the international R&E community,” added Lee. “I’ve become friends with many from the community and continue to maintain contact with those who haven't participated in SC in the last few years.”

GlobalNOC engineer Tom Johnson participated in SCinet for the first time this year. As a member of the routing team, Johnson helped develop and monitor the core network infrastructure, including commodity Internet access and high bandwidth connectivity. Despite early morning wake-up calls, Johnson enjoyed the work and felt as though he made a valuable contribution to the team.

“I was in awe of the scale of work needed to provide a successful conference, and inspired by the way everyone simply attacked the problems and worked towards the completion,” Johnson said. “The conference went by so quickly, and I can't wait to be a part of the team again next year.”

GlobalNOC engineers and other IU computing experts will return to the SCinet team for SC13 in Denver.