NSF awards $1.8 million for experimental grid infrastructure on UCSD campus

August 29, 2003

San Diego, August 29, 2003 -- The Computer Science and Engineering (CSE) building now under construction on the campus of the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) will be equipped with one of the most advanced computer and telecommunications networks anywhere. Effective September 1, the National Science Foundation (NSF) is awarding a $1.8 million Research Infrastructure grant over five years to UCSD to outfit the building with a Fast Wired and Wireless Grid (FWGrid). "Experimental computer science requires extensive equipment infrastructure to perform large-scale and leading-edge studies," said Andrew Chien, FWGrid principal investigator and professor of computer science and engineering in the Jacobs School of Engineering. "With the FWGrid, our new building will represent a microcosm of what Grid computing will look like five years into the future."

FWGrid's high-speed wireless, wired, computing, and data capabilities will be distributed throughout the building. The research infrastructure will be comprised of teraflops* of computing power, terabytes* of memory, and petabytes* of storage. Researchers will also access and exchange data at astonishingly high speeds. "Untethered" wireless communication will happen at speeds as high as 1 Gigabit per second (Gbps), and wired communication will top 100 Gbps. "Those speeds and computing resources will enable innovative next-generation systems and applications," said Chien, who noted that the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology [Cal-(IT)²] is also involved in the project. "The faster communication will enable radical new ways to distribute applications, and give us the opportunity to manipulate and process terabytes of data as easily as we handle megabytes today."

Three other members of the Jacobs School's computer-science faculty will participate in the FWGrid project. David Kriegman leads the graphics and image processing efforts, while Joseph Pasquale and Stefan Savage are responsible, respectively, for the efforts in distributed middleware and network measurement.

Key aspects of this infrastructure include: mobile image/video capture and display devices; high-bandwidth wireless to link the mobile devices to the rest of the network; "rich" wired networks of 10-100 Gbps to move and aggregate data and computation without limit; and distributed clusters with large processing (teraflops) and data (tens of terabytes) capabilities (to power the infrastructure). "We see FWGrid as three concentric circles," explained Chien. "At the center will be super-high-bandwidth networks, large compute servers, and data storage centers. The middle circle includes wired high bandwidth, desktop compute platforms, and fixed cameras. And at the mobile periphery will be wireless high bandwidth, mobile devices with large computing and data capabilities, and arrays of small devices such as PDAs, cell phones, and sensors."

Because FWGrid will be a 'living laboratory,' the researchers will gain access to real users and actual workloads. "This new infrastructure will have a deep impact on undergraduate and graduate education," said CSE chair Ramamohan Paturi. "It will support experimental research, especially cross-disciplinary research. It will also provide an opportunity for our undergraduates to develop experimental applications." Research areas to be supported by FWGrid include low-level network measurement and analysis; grid middleware and modeling; application-oriented middleware; new distributed application architectures; and higher-level applications using rich image and video, e.g., enabling mobile users to capture and display rich, 3-D information in a fashion that interleaves digital information with reality.
* Definitions:
1 teraflop = 1 trillion floating-point operations per second = 10^12 flops
1 terabyte = 1 trillion bytes = roughly 10^12 bytes.
1 petabyte = 1,024 trillion bytes = roughly 10^15 bytes

Media Contact: Doug Ramsey 858-822-5825 dramsey@ucsd.edu

University of California - San Diego

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