Network of Networks
Biology, finance, weather prediction, physics-for every field of human endeavor, there are projects and networks. Yet the ability to crunch data on a truly global basis is still in its infancy. Today, we have our DSL or cable modems to the home, courtesy of our ISP and its backbone. A few larger operators circle the globe with 10Gbps and even 40Gbps links. But all of this, compared to what’s coming, is amateur hour.So, for those of you who might think you’re not good at math, I have some bad news. In the Petabyte Age, where we are rapidly sailing, you’re going to need to apply a mathematician’s mind. In fact, a couple months ago, Wired had a fascinating article on this, saying,”It forces us to view data mathematically first and establish a context for it later.” The focus was on the evolving approach to solving scientific problems-and crunching petabytes of data (by the way, there is also a book on this-Super Crunchers). Interesting stuff. So when I think about all this, I can’t help wondering what types of networks are required to connect the various universities, supercomputer centers, and data centers addressing these ‘big problems.’ And, what role do we play? Probably the best example of this in the news is the Large Hadron Collider Computing Grid (LCG), a network designed to handle 15 petabytes of data every year. A decade from now, this network will probably seem quaint. These networks are doing our heavy lifting and enabling new discoveries at a staggering rate. And when I think about it, I can’t help but be proud to be in this business.