High performance computing and communications technology is an essential enabling component of NIST's mission to promote U.S. industrial leadership and international competitiveness and to provide measurement, calibration, and quality assurance techniques to support U.S. commercial and technological progress. The objectives of NIST's HPCC program are: to accelerate the development and deployment of high performance computing and networking technologies required for the National Information Infrastructure; to apply and test these technologies in a manufacturing environment; and to serve as coordinating agency for the manufacturing component of the Federal Program.
Specific goals of NIST's program are:
NIST participates in four components of the HPCC Program:
NIST develops instrumentation and methodology for performance measurement of high performance networks and massively parallel computer systems. Emphasis is on the use of low-perturbation data capture hardware and simplified software-based approaches to performance characterization.
NIST's MultiKron chip provides low perturbation measurements for performance evaluation of computer and communication systems.
NIST supports and coordinates the development of standards within the Federal government to provide interoperability, common user interfaces to systems, and enhanced security. NIST works with other agencies to promote open system standards to aid in the commercialization of technology by U.S. industry. NIST promotes the development of communications infrastructure and the use of the Internet through information technology research, development, and related activities to enhance basic communications capabilities.
NIST develops algorithms and generic software for advanced scientific, engineering, and manufacturing applications. Common elements and techniques are encapsulated in software libraries to promote ease of use and application portability. NIST's Guide to Available Mathematical Software (GAMS) provides industry and the public with improved electronic access to reusable software.
NIST will build upon its experience in information technology and manufacturing engineering to accelerate the application of high performance computing and communications technology to manufacturing environments. NIST will support expanded programs in advanced manufacturing systems integration technologies; development and testing of prototype components and interface specifications for manufacturing systems; application of high performance computing and networking technologies to integrate design and production processes; and testbeds for achieving cost- effective application of advanced manufacturing systems and networks.
A computer-controlled coordinate measuring machine determines the exact dimensions of a precision-machined stainless steel part. NIST researchers use this and similar instruments to devise ways to improve machine tool performance.
Beginning in FY 1994, NIST will establish an Advanced Manufacturing Systems and Networking Testbed to support research and development in high performance manufacturing systems and to test high performance computer and networking hardware and software in a manufacturing environment. The testbed will serve as a demonstration site for use by industrial technology suppliers and users, and to assist industry in the development and implementation of voluntary consensus standards. Research and testing will be conducted at the NIST testbed as well as at testbeds funded through the NIST Advanced Technology Program. A manufacturing systems environment will be developed to support the integration of advanced manufacturing systems and networking software and products. A standards-based data exchange effort for computer integrated manufacturing will focus on improving data exchange among computer aided design, process, and manufacturing activities. Prototype systems and interface specifications will be communicated to appropriate standards organizations. Results will be made available to U.S. industry through workshops, training materials, electronic data repositories, and pre-commercial prototype systems that can be installed by potential vendors for test and evaluation. One role of advanced computing technology in manufacturing process modeling and simulation is described in the Case Studies section.
A machinist monitors a machine tool retrofitted with a personal computer controller. The machine is located in NIST's Shop of the 90s where manufacturers can learn how to use open system integration technology and low-cost automation techniques to improve productivity and product quality.
NIST performance evaluation activities include measurement and characterization of the impact of software protocols on communication performance in order to minimize communication bottlenecks between application programs. NIST researchers have implemented a high speed communications testbed that provides a HIPPI link to a performance instrumented workstation. Testbed performance instrumentation includes a modified NIST MultiKron performance data capture chip interfaced to the test workstation. The workstation HIPPI interface was designed, implemented and obtained through a collaborative effort with the VISTANet project, one of the NREN gigabit testbeds.
In FY 1994, NIST will employ systems instrumented with the MultiKron chip to investigate the behavior and performance of communications protocols suitable for multi-gigabit/second transmission rates. For high performance networking, NIST will support transition planning and deployment of ISDN and OSI-based protocols in the Internet and undertake research and development activities to support emerging Broadband ISDN standards. NIST will continue to interact with industry by sponsoring and hosting the North American ISDN Users Forum.
NIST activities in the areas of networking and communications technology will be expanded to address applications of information infrastructure including electronic commerce, distributed multimedia environments, and adaptive systems. Support for electronic commerce will focus on enabling electronic exchange technology and protocols to support business transactions and manufacturing techniques. NIST will develop improved electronic data interchange methodology to describe, access, and update data. In FY 1994, an integration facility will be created for manufacturing applications of electronic commerce.
NIST activities in distributed multimedia environments will include the development of methodology to acquire and administer the large amounts of text and multimedia material associated with electronic libraries and the implementation of information retrieval mechanisms for easy access to information by untrained end users. NIST activities in adaptive systems will include research in wireless communication compression and encoding technology. NIST will also conduct workshops to assess network security requirements and develop network security technology suitable for Internet and other networking technologies.
Since the early 1970s, NIST has been developing cost-effective ways to help protect computerized data. NIST has devised a prototype system for controlling access to a computer system that uses a password, a smart card, a fingerprint reader, and cryptography.
NIST developed the MultiKron chip to achieve low-perturbation data capture while assessing the performance of scalable high performance computer systems. This technology was transferred to Intel Corporation for application in its Paragon systems. NIST also devised a software-based technique for portable sensitivity measurements of parallel programs. The new method is based upon statistical experimental design principles and applies to any MIMD system. A low-cost setup approach makes the technique practical, and promising preliminary results on shared-memory and distributed memory systems have been obtained.
In FY 1994, NIST will extend its hardware and software tools for system performance monitoring through the acquisition of a MultiKron instrumented scalable system. Evaluation activities will focus on the performance characterization of application programs running on this system and on other scalable systems.
Statistical analysis of video microscope images provides improved precision in determining optical fiber geometry.
The NIST Guide to Available Mathematical Software (GAMS) project develops techniques and tools to help scientists and engineers locate and use computer software to solve mathematical and statistical problems. The GAMS system has been incorporated in the Software Exchange Experiment coordinated by the NASA Goddard Space Flight center. The status of GAMS and future plans are described in the Case Studies section.
In FY 1994, NIST algorithm and software development activities will address needs for improved computational performance and visualization capability in application areas drawn from biotechnology and from chemical and materials process design and simulation.