Global Lambda Integrated Facility

6th Annual Global LambdaGrid Workshop full of Eastern Promise

14 September 2006 -- The 6th Annual Global LambdaGrid Workshop was held on the 11th and 12th of September 2006 in Tokyo, Japan. This was the latest annual workshop organised under the auspices of the Global Lambda Integrated Facility (GLIF), which provides the opportunity for managers, engineers, researchers and developers working on global optical internetworking to come together to discuss development and operational issues.

The event continues to grow in popularity, with approximately 120 persons attending from research and education networks, universities, research institutions and industry. It was the first time that it has been held in the Asia-Pacific region, and reflected the growing involvement in GLIF by institutes in the region. A Japanese-language symposium was held immediately following the workshop, which attracted upwards of 200 attendees.

The GLIF Chair, Kees Neggers, said:

"The vibrant surroundings of the Akihabara electronic town and the excellent local organisation by NICT and the WIDE project formed a perfect basis for the fast growing GLIF community to work on the establishment of the global LambdaGrid, and resulted in a very productive meeting."

The opening plenary session of the workshop featured presentations on optical networking initiatives around the world. There were updates about existing activities in Japan, the KRLight open exchange facility in Korea, the National LambdaRail network in the US, and the GÉANT2 service activities in Europe. There then followed presentations about the new Internet2 hybrid optical backbone that was currently being rolled-out, and research developments in the context of the ONT-3 forum.

The following afternoon and morning sessions were devoted to working group meetings. There are four established GLIF working groups, which deal with governance, research and applications, control plane technologies, and technical issues, respectively.

The Technical and Control Plane Working Groups held a joint session to discuss activities of common interest, before breaking out into separate sessions. This included the establishment of a distributed repository of GLIF resources (for connection, scheduling and policy purposes) utilising the XML-based Network Description Language (NDL) being developed at the University of Amsterdam and SARA. A visualisation system that can be used to automatically generate topological diagrams from NDL descriptions was also demonstrated. The session concluded with a presentation on UCLPv2 developments, which provide networks with the ability to let customers provision their own lightpaths using web services.

The Technical Working Group, led by Erik-Jan Bos (SURFnet, the Netherlands) and René Hatem (CANARIE, Canada), discussed service contracting and fault resolution processes between optical exchanges. It also considered how to reconcile the differing requirements of static, dynamic and user-controlled lightpaths in a hybrid network. There followed a demonstration of the TL1 toolkit being developed by SARA, that provides a Perl-based interface to the cryptic TL1 command syntax used by many optical switches. This should make it much easier to develop management and accounting applications for TL1-compliant optical equipment.

The Control Plane Working Group, led by Gigi Karmous-Edwards (MCNC Grid Computing and Network Services, USA), discussed the different control plane techniques being developed and tested on the GÉANT2 (Europe), JGN-II (Japan/US), G-lambda (Japan), National LambdaRail (US) and Internet2 (US) networks. There was also a discussion about suitable control plane techniques for Ethernet WANs, and for high-performance Grid computing (in conjunction with the Open Grid Forum's GHPN research group). The group furthermore agreed to document the requirements for E-NNI interface information exchange.

The Research and Applications Working Group, led by Maxine Brown (University of Illinois at Chicago) and Larry Smarr (University of California at San Diego), identifies applications that can benefit from LambdaGrids. These include VLBI (Very Long Baseline Interferometry) using radio telescopes situated around the world, SDSS (Sloan Digital Sky Survey) for detecting celestrial objects, GLEON (Global Lake Ecological Observatory Network) and CREON (Coral Reef Environmental Observatory Network) that allow the collection and comparison of ecological data, and GLVF (Global Lambda Visualisation Facility) which provides HDTV streaming facilities. LambdaGrids are also key to exploiting the vast amounts of data produced by particle accelerators such as the Large Hadron Collider located at CERN.

Finally, the Governance Working Group agreed to extend its outreach programme in order to make the GLIF infrastructure and activities more widely known in the global research community. It also discussed the optimal timing of iGrid events which are traditionally held every 2-3 years, and welcomed the idea of combining future iGrid and GLIF events. In addition, Prague was confirmed as the venue for 7th Annual Global LambdaGrid Workshop, which will be hosted by CESNET on 17-18 September 2007.

GLIF would like to express its thanks to NICT, JGN-II, and the WIDE project for providing the local support for the workshop.

The proceedings of the workshop are available at

About GLIF -- The Global Lambda Integrated Facility is an international virtual organisation of NRENs, consortia and institutions that promotes lambda networking. GLIF provides lambdas internationally as an integrated facility to support data-intensive scientific research, and supports middleware development for lambda networking. It brings together some of the world's premier networking engineers to develop an international infrastructure by identifying equipment, connection requirements, and necessary engineering functions and services. More information is available on the GLIF website at

About TERENA -- TERENA is the association of research and education networking organisations in and around Europe. TERENA organises technical activities and provides a platform for discussion and collaboration to encourage the development of high-quality computer networking infrastructures and services for the European research community. It also operates the GLIF Secretariat, funded by donations from sponsors. For more information, see the TERENA website at