UK's first optical network gives boost to e-Science

The UK's first dedicated optical network for research will be put to the test at SC05 (SuperComputing 2005) by e-Science projects in astronomy, particle physics and molecular biology. SC05, the premier international conference on high performance computing, networking and storage, takes place from 12-18 November 2005 in Seattle, Washington State, US.

UKLight, the UK's high bandwidth (1Gbit/sec) optical network, linked to similar networks around the world, enables researchers to transfer far greater amounts of data directly from one remote location to another than would be feasible with conventional, packet-switched networks. Installation of the first phase was completed this summer when the final three of nine UK academic sites were connected.

Some of the demonstrations at SC05 will push data transfer rates beyond their present limits, whereas others will show how UKLight's enhanced quality of service is enabling researchers to tackle challenging scientific problems that have remained out of reach until now.

  • Bandwidth challenge UKLight will take part in an international bandwidth challenge that aims to transfer data at a higher rate than ever before. Using a 10Gbit/sec Trans Atlantic dedicated optical channel, researchers will attempt to achieve 6Gbit/sec when sending data from the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center in the US to the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory in the UK.
  • Radio astronomy Radio astronomers from three European observatories will use UKLight to transfer real time data picked up from the same radio object to the Haystack Observatory at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Together with two observatories in the US and one in Japan, they will demonstrate how optical networks could transform major radio telescopes, widely dispersed across the globe, into the equivalent of one vast telescope by enabling them to send data collected from the same region of sky at the same time for immedia

Contact: Jane Reck
Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council

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