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Networking for High Energy and Nuclear Physics

Newman, Harvey B. (2007) Networking for High Energy and Nuclear Physics. Computer Physics Communications, 177 (1-2). pp. 224-230. ISSN 0010-4655. doi:10.1016/j.cpc.2007.02.002.

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This report gives an overview of the status and outlook for the world's research networks and major international links used by the high energy physics and other scientific communities, network technology advances on which our community depends and in which we have an increasingly important role, and the problem of the Digital Divide, which is a primary focus of ICFA's Standing Committee on Inter-regional Connectivity (SCIC). Wide area networks of sufficient, and rapidly increasing end-to-end capability are vital for every phase of high energy physicists' work. Our bandwidth usage, and the typical capacity of the major national backbones and intercontinental links used by our field have progressed by a factor of more than 1000 over the past decade, and the outlook is for a similar increase over the next decade. This striking exponential growth trend, outstripping the growth rates in other areas of information technology, has continued in the past year, with many of the major national, continental and transoceanic networks supporting research and education progressing from a 10 Gigabits/sec (Gbps) backbone to multiple 10 Gbps links in their core. This is complemented by the use of point-to-point “light paths” to support the most demanding applications, including high energy physics, in a growing list of cases. As we approach the era of LHC physics, the growing need to access and transport Terabyte-scale and later 10 to 100 Terabyte datasets among more than 100 “Tier1” and “Tier2” centers at universities and laboratories spread throughout the world has brought the key role of networks, and the ongoing need for their development, sharply into focus. Bandwidth itself on an increasing scale is not enough. Realizing the scientific wealth of the LHC and our other major scientific programs depends crucially on our ability to use the bandwidth efficiently and reliably, with reliable high rates of data throughput, and effectively, where many parallel large-scale data transfers serving the community complete with high probability, often while coexisting with many other streams of network traffic. Responding to these needs, and to the scientific mission, physicists working with network engineers and computer scientists have made substantial progress in the development of protocols and systems that promise to meet these needs, placing our community among the world leaders in the development as well as use of large-scale networks. A great deal of work remains, and is continuing. As we advance in these areas, often (as in the past year) with great rapidity, there is a growing danger that we will leave behind our collaborators in regions with less-developed networks, or with regulatory frameworks or business models that put the required networks financially out of reach. This threatens to further open the Digital Divide that already exists among the regions of the world. In 2002, the SCIC recognized the threat that this Divide represents to our global scientific collaborations, and since that time has worked assiduously to reduce or eliminate it; both within our community, and more broadly in the world research community of which HEP is a part.

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Newman, Harvey B.0000-0003-0964-1480
Additional Information:© 2007 Elsevier. Available online 8 February 2007.
Subject Keywords:High-Energy Physics; Network research
Issue or Number:1-2
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20101001-122549394
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Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:20252
Deposited On:05 Oct 2010 17:25
Last Modified:08 Nov 2021 23:58

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