The HPCC Program provides network connectivity among advanced computing resources, scientific instruments, and members of the research and education communities. The Program has successfully accommodated the phenomenal growth in the number of network users and their demands for significantly higher and ever increasing speeds while maintaining operational stability. R&D in advanced networking technologies is guiding the development of a commercial communications infrastructure for the Nation. The development and deployment of this new technology is jointly funded and conducted by the HPCC Program, state and local governments, the computer and telecommunications industries, and academia.
1.1. The Internet
One illustration of the global reach of HPCC technologies is that the Internet now extends across the country and around much of the world. Initially the domain of government scientists and U.S. academics, by the beginning of FY 1994:
The HPCC Programs Internet investment primarily supports the high speed "backbone" networks linking Federally-funded high performance computing centers.
1.2. The Interagency Internet
The Interagency Internet, that portion of the Internet funded by HPCC, is a system of value-added services carried on the Nation's existing telecommunications infrastructure for use in federally-funded research and education. Its three-level architecture consists of high speed backbone networks (such as NSFNET) that link mid-level or regional networks, which in turn connect networks at individual institutions. At the beginning of the HPCC Program in FY 1992, most of the backbones were running at T1 speeds (1.5 Mb/s megabits per second or millions of bits per second), and international connections had been established. Peak monthly traffic on NSFNET had reached 10 billion packets (of widely varying size). In FY 1992, NSFNET speed was upgraded to T3 (45 Mb/s) and NSF made awards to industry for network registration, information, and database services and for a Clearinghouse for Networked Information Discovery and Retrieval. By the beginning of FY 1994:
Advanced Communications Technology Satellite (ACTS) deployed by the Space Shuttle.
Projected FY 1994 Accomplishments
Proposed FY 1995 Activities
1.3. Gigabit Speed Networking R&D
New technologies are needed for the new breed of applications that require high performance computers and that are demanded by users across the U.S. These technologies must move more information faster in a shared environment of perhaps tens of thousands of networks with millions of users. Huge files of data, images, and videos must be broken into small pieces and moved to their destinations without error, on time, and in order. These technologies must manage a users interaction with applications. For example, a researcher needs to continuously display on a local workstation output from a simulation model running on a remote high performance system in order to use that information to modify simulation parameters.
As these gigabit speed networks are deployed, the current barriers to more widespread use of high performance computers will be surmounted. At the same time, high speed workstations and small and mid-size scalable parallel systems will gain wider use.
A teraflops (a trillion floating point operations per second) computing technology base needs gigabit speed networking technologies.
HPCC-supported gigabit testbeds funded jointly by NSF and ARPA test high speed networking technologies and their application in the real world.
The HPCC Program is developing a suite of complementary networking technologies to take fullest advantage of this increased computational power. R&D focuses on increasing the speed of the underlying network technologies as well as developing innovative ways of delivering bits to end users and systems. These include satellite, broadcast, optical, and affordable local area designs.
The HPCC Program's gigabit testbeds are putting these technologies to the test in resource-demanding applications in the real world. These testbeds provide working models of the emerging commercial communications infrastructure, and accelerate the development and deployment of gigabit speed networks.
In FY 1994-1995, HPCC-funded research is addressing the following:
1.4. Network Security
Network data security is vital to HPCC agencies and to many other users such as the medical and financial communities. FY 1994-1995 research is directed at incorporating security in the management of current and future networks by protecting network trunks and individual systems. Examples include:
NSA is addressing the compatibility of DOD private networks with commercial public networks.
The rapid growth of networks and of the number of computers connected to those networks has prompted the establishment of incident response teams that monitor and react to unauthorized activities, potential network intrusions, and potential system vulnerabilities. Each team serves a specific constituency such as an organization or a network. One of the first such teams was CERT, the Computer Emergency Response Team, based at the Software Engineering Institute in Pittsburgh, PA. CERT was established in 1989 by ARPA in response to increasing Internet security concerns, and serves as a response team for much of the Internet. FIRST, the Forum of Incident Response and Security Teams, was formed under DOD, DOE, NASA, NIST, and CERT leadership. FIRST is a growing global coalition of response teams that alert each other about actual or potential security problems, coordinate responses to such problems, and share information and develop tools in order to improve the overall level of network security.