The OptIPuter's mission is to enable collaborating scientists to interactively
explore massive amounts of previously uncorrelated data by developing
a radical new architecture for a number of this decade's e-Science shared
information technology facilities. Observing that the exponential growth
rates in bandwidth and storage are now much higher than Moore's Law,
this research exploits a new world in which the central architectural
element is optical networking, not computers. This transition is caused
by the use of parallelism, as in supercomputing a decade ago. However,
this time the parallelism is in multiple wavelengths of light, or lambdas,
on single optical fibers, creating "supernetworks."
The OptIPuter project
aims at the re-optimization of the entire Grid stack of software abstractions,
learning how to "waste" bandwidth and storage in order to conserve "scarce"
computing in this new world of inverted values. Essentially, the OptIPuter
is a "virtual" parallel computer in which the individual "processors"
are widely distributed clusters; the "memory" is in the form of large
distributed data repositories; "peripherals" are very-large scientific
instruments, visualization displays and/or sensor arrays; and the "motherboard"
uses standard IP delivered over multiple dedicated lambdas. The southern
California-based and Chicago-based research teams are prototyping the
OptIPuter initially on campus, metropolitan and state-wide optical fiber
the scientific and engineering research communities, the OptIPuter can
be an enabling technology for broader societal needs, including emergency
response, homeland security, health services, and science education.