April 28, 2000
Cisco Funds Network Research at Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center
PITTSBURGH The Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center has received $100,000 from Cisco Systems to support a research project called Web100, the objective of which is to facilitate network transmission rates of 100 megabits per second. The gift provides initial funding for research into software that can "tune" computer operating systems to fully exploit available network bandwidth.
Connections across networks are managed by Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) software and research has shown that, in many cases, operating systems are configured in ways that can inhibit optimum TCP performance.
"For the evolution of the Internet on both the gigabit to terabit scale, it is very important that applications are able to make optimal use of TCP to enhance their performance," said Robert Aiken, manager of Cisco's University Research Program which funds academic research in support of advancing Internet technologies. "The enhanced TCP network management instrumentation of the Web100 project is an essential and crucial first step towards this goal."
Web100 engineers at PSC and other participant research centers will develop software that works with the operating system and user applications to automatically tune the performance of TCP. By adjusting how TCP handles network connections, applications will be able to make full use of the available network bandwidth. Researchers will initially work with the Linux operating system but plan to assist all operating system vendors with incorporating their improvements.
"The goal of Web100 is to enable ordinary users to attain full appropriate network data rate without help from network experts," said Matt Mathis, PSC network research coordinator and one of the principal investigators of Web100. "This would be done in part by embedding appropriate diagnostics and automatic controls in the end systems, freeing the end user from needing a detailed understanding of the network." The Cisco gift will directly support Mathis' TCP tuning research.
The Web100 Project is a joint venture of the National Center for Atmospheric Research, Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center and the National Center for Supercomputing Applications.
More information on the Web100 Project can be found on the WWW: http://www.web100.org/
The Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center is a joint effort of Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh together with the Westinghouse Electric Company. It was established in 1986 and is supported by several federal agencies, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and private industry.