Launch Ceremony, January 12, 2004

Scientists and networkers from the USA, Russia and China, meeting in Beijing, formally launched a new advanced network linking the three countries on January 12, 2004. A substantial step forward in science and education cooperation between the three countries, the “Little” Global Ring Network for Advanced Applications Development (Little GLORIAD) represents a first step towards a much larger initiative the three countries are planning for a late-2004 start.

The follow-on GLORIAD network will provide a 10 Gbps “wavelength” network circling the northern hemisphere. Its hybrid circuit-switched and routed architecture will enable the new network to continue servicing broad S&E; community applications while dedicating special services to those users with particularly heavy or unique requirements – i.e., high energy physicists, the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) program, astronomers, atmospheric scientists and others. Little GLORIAD’s point of presence in the US is at the National Science Foundation (NSF)-supported StarLight facility in Chicago where US high performance S&E; networks exchange traffic. From Chicago, the network reaches both east to Moscow and west to Beijing with OC3 (155 Mbps) circuits. Even before the larger GLORIAD network begins operation, two substantial improvements will be made to Little GLORIAD in mid- 2004: the network will add a European exchange point in Amsterdam at the Netherlight facility in March 2004; and the network will provide a new OC3 circuit from Khabarovsk to Beijing (across the Russia-China border), completing an OC3 ring around the northern hemisphere by summer 2004. Primary network centers for both Little GLORIAD and its larger follow-on will include Chicago, Amsterdam, Moscow, Novosibirsk, Khabarovsk, Beijing and Hong Kong.
(click above to view animation)Little GLORIAD continues current levels of service between the U.S. and Russia, which have jointly built and managed the US-Russia NaukaNet network (upon which GLORIAD is built) for five years. But it greatly increases the capacity between US and Russian scientists and their colleagues throughout the Chinese Academy of Sciences. The network already facilitates many new applications – including communication through high quality video-conferencing, high volume data transfer, shared access to unique science instruments and facilities, etc. For example, Little GLORIAD already facilitates data transfers measured in gigabytes; the larger GLORIAD network will handle transfers measured in terabytes. The global ring topology of the network will provide both increased reliability and flexibility for new applications. For example, it will be possible to temporarily commit the entire US-China circuit to a special application while routing China traffic across the US-Russia circuit.

The long list of science collaborations supported by the new GLORIAD program includes joint responses to natural and man-made disasters, safeguards of nuclear materials, better understanding of the human genome, joint exploration of space, distributed monitoring of seismic events, astronomical observation, global cooperation on the International Thermonuclear Fusion Reactor (ITER), fusion energy sciences, high energy physics collaborations and atmospheric and other environmental studies and simulations. The network will also enable broad education collaborations between universities and local schools – including shared seminars, distance learning programs, multi-national science fairs, etc.

The program is rooted in a 10-year old US-Russia community networking program called “Friends and Partners” and directly builds on an existing five year advanced networking program funded by the US and Russian governments called “NaukaNet” (“Science Net” in the Russian language) (see http://www.naukanet.org/). “Little GLORIAD” is funded from the US NSF as the final year of the three year, $2.8 million NaukaNet grant to the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, for US-Russia high performance networking. When the Russia-China circuit is complete in summer 2004, the network will provide a new connection for the US science community into science facilities in the Far East of Russia via the Chinese Academy of Sciences network – i.e., US and Russian scholars connected via China’s network – an historic step in itself in cooperation between the three countries.

Russian leadership of the program is provided by the Russian Research Center “Kurchatov Institute” and the Russian Academy of Science (http://www.kiae.ru/ and http://www.ras.ru/). Financial support is provided by a consortium of Russian Ministries and science organizations coordinated by the Russian Ministry of Industry, Science and Technology. Chinese leadership and financial support is provided by the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) and through the Computer Network Information Center, which coordinates China-wide networking for the CAS.

An important partner in the design and operation of GLORIAD is Tyco Global Neworks (TGN). Tyco is providing protected circuits across both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans; with its global network footprint and extensive network research facilities, it is both an important service provider and a strong research partner.

GLORIAD represents only one of many programs and activities proposed by NCSA, the Kurchatov Institute and the Chinese Academy of Sciences to better integrate the three science and education communities through development of shared and jointly managed “cyberinfrastructure”. By connecting Russia and China to the U.S. through the Chicago-based StarLight optical access point (http://www.startap.net/starlight/), the GLORIAD network also provides Chinese and Russian scientists, educators and students direct connectivity to an important common interconnection point for global research and education networks. GLORIAD is expected to provide for broader S&E; traffic exchange through network exchange points in Europe and Asia; it will also provide the first terrestrial advanced network directly connecting Europe and Asia – across the territory of Russia.

In speaking of the importance of the new three-nation effort, former National Science Foundation Director Rita Colwell stated in a recent press release (http://www.nsf.gov/od/lpa/news/03/pr03151.htm): “As part of the international community of science, we share common concerns that reach across national borders. As we all aim to strengthen our nations’ capabilities in research, we also aim to contribute to the cumulative knowledge that lifts the prospects of people everywhere. This new network serves as both a physical and symbolic reminder of our common goal of solving problems and building a world of peace and prosperity.”

For more information, please contact the GLORIAD program leadership. In Russia, contact Evgeny Velikhov, President, Russian Research Center “Kurchatov Institute” (epv@kiae.ru). In China, contact Yan Baoping, Director, Computer Network Information Center, Chinese Academy of Sciences (ybp@cnic.ac.cn). In the US, contact Greg Cole and Natasha Bulashova, National Center for Supercomputing Applications, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign ({gcole,natasha} @ gloriad.org).