Carnegie Mellon & Digital Equipment Corp. Collaborate In A $7.5 Million Project To Develop A New Infrastructure For High-Performance Desktop Computing

February 03, 1997

PITTSBURGH--Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University's School of Computer Science (SCS) are collaborating with Digital Equipment Corp. to create a new, high-performance infrastructure for desktop computing and communication (HPID) that includes advanced video capabilities.

This environment, involving a community of 750 computer users, will serve as one of the largest industry-standard ATM testbeds for the latest computing concepts, and foster ideas for next-generation information and communication services.

The system, based on Digital's high-performance ATM networking technology and Digital Alpha workstations, will involve about 500 state-of-the-art computers and servers interconnected through a very high bandwidth, low-latency network.

The university and the company will share the costs of the project, which are estimated at nearly $7.5 million.

"Digital is the leader in high-end workstation and server computing and a longtime innovator in networking infrastructure," said Howard D. Wactlar, SCS' vice provost for research computing. "This network will be 100 to 1,000 times more powerful than what we're delivering to the desktop in SCS today. It will help us achieve the dream of gigabit bandwidth to the desktop, leapfrog the constraints imposed by incremental growth in networking capacity and enable ubiquitous man and machine communication throughout our environment. Only ATM technology provides a scalable networking solution to reaching our goals."

"With the exponential technological advancements we see for the next several years in both networks and desktop computing, it is certain that the environment we are creating with Carnegie Mellon will be available to the computing world at large by the year 2000," said Dr. Samuel H. Fuller, vice president and chief scientist at Digital Equipment Corp. "Together with Carnegie Mellon, we will enhance this environment over time to ensure that current and future Digital customers have the best system capabilities to support their growing needs."

In addition to exploring issues related to high-bandwidth distributed computing and communication, Carnegie Mellon researchers will use the new infrastructure to develop concepts for next-generation user-level information and communication services, and to create a showcase of the kinds of new capabilities that would be available in a high-bandwidth environment.

"We'll look at applications relating to ubiquitous teleconferencing on demand, electronic hallways and highly interactive collaborations involving groups of people and visual information resources where gestures and images convey more than words can ever say," Wactlar said.

He added that the HPID infrastructure will benefit a number of leading edge research projects already underway at Carnegie Mellon. Among them are "Virtualized Reality," which involves transmission of 3D video images that combine computer graphics and scenes from the real world; transmission of video information from "Informedia," an interactive, on-line, digital video library system, and Credit Net, an ATM-based computer network running at 622 megabits per second, that incorporates credit-based flow control of switches and adapters that ease congestion and prevent collapse, no matter how great the load.

"We'll be able to do experiments we could only imagine before," said Senior Research Computer Scientist William L. Scherlis. "The new infrastructure offers an opportunity for Digital and Carnegie Mellon to study a very high-performance organizational network at a realistic scale and in a heterogeneous environment. It will let us live in the future.?

"Access to a virtually unlimited network of leading edge 64-bit Digital Alpha systems will accelerate the development of next-generation computing applications," said Gil Brezler, Digital's External Technology Group project manager for HPID. "These applications have enormous potential to change work habits and produce significant productivity increases."

At the applications level, it will be much easier to explore new kinds of multimedia services and collaborative applications that go beyond teleconferencing. For example, gigabits to the desktop enable delivery of video in a burst, giving users more options than the usual VCR controls. At the systems and services level, Carnegie Mellon researchers will be able to explore issues like the extent improved communications throughput would enable distributed computing configurations to replace supercomputers for high performance applications.

Carnegie Mellon's School of Computer Science has been at the forefront of high-performance networking research since the creation of the ARPAnet in the late 1960s, Wactlar observed.

"This track record and the university's unique combination of strong communities in science, business and the arts attuned to and eager to make use of opportunities in high-performance computing make the university an attractive partner for this kind of research," he said.
-end-


Carnegie Mellon University

Related Communication Articles from Brightsurf:

Video is not always effective in science communication
What we can learn for online public relations: - Keep the information concise so that one can go thorough it within about 1 minute.

Ultraviolet communication to transform Army networks
Of ever-increasing concern for operating a tactical communications network is the possibility that a sophisticated adversary may detect friendly transmissions.

Adding noise for completely secure communication
How can we protect communications against 'eavesdropping' if we don't trust the devices used in the process?

How serotonin balances communication within the brain
Our brain is steadily engaged in soliloquies. These internal communications are usually also bombarded with external sensory events.

Breaking the communication code
Ever wonder how mice talk to each other. We don't have a dictionary quite yet, but UD neuroscientist Josh Neunuebel and his lab have linked mice chatter (their ultrasonic vocalizations) with specific behaviors.

A new twist on quantum communication in fiber
New research done at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa, and Huazhang University of Science and Technology in Wuhan, China, has exciting implications for secure data transfer across optical fiber networks.

Study traces evolution of acoustic communication
A study tracing acoustic communication across the tree of life of land-living vertebrates reveals that the ability to vocalize goes back hundreds of millions of years, is associated with a nocturnal lifestyle and has remained stable.

Should preschool writing be more communication and less ABCs?
Writing instruction in early education should be about more than letter formation and penmanship, argue Michigan State University researchers who found preschool teachers don't often encourage writing for communication purposes.

Trump's Twitter communication style shifted over time based on varying communication goals
The linguistic and discursive style of Donald Trump's tweets varied systematically before, during, and after the 2016 presidential campaign, depending on the communicative goals of Trump and his team, according to a study published Sept.

Intercultural communication crucial for engineering education
In an increasingly connected world it helps to engage with other cultures without prejudice or assumption.

Read More: Communication News and Communication Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.