Global Lambda Integrated Facility

GENI Goes Global: The International Global Environment for Network Innovations (iGENI), a New Advanced Networking Research Initiative

28 October 2009 -- At this week's 9th Annual LambdaGrid Workshop held in South Korea, a Consortium of network researchers announced that they received a three-year grant from the U.S. Global Environment for Network Innovations (GENI) program to develop a major new national and international distributed infrastructure called 'iGENI', the 'International GENI'. GENI is an open and broadly inclusive research initiative established by National Science Foundation (NSF) to provide a virtual laboratory for exploring future internets at scale. It creates major opportunities for academia, industry and the public to understand, innovate and transform networks and their interactions for the benefit of society in the 21st-century. iGENI makes GENI truly global.

Led by the International Center for Advanced Internet Research (iCAIR) at Northwestern University, the consortium includes the Electronic Visualization Laboratory (EVL) at the University of Illinois at Chicago; the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology (Calit2) at the University of California, San Diego; Cisco Systems, Inc.; and, the BBN Technologies GENI Program Office (GPO). This project is funded by NSF through BBN Technologies to enable research at the frontiers of network science and engineering.

iGENI Consortium members partner with many of the participants of the Global Lambda Integrated Facility (GLIF), the organizers of this week's LambdaGrid Workshop. GLIF participants are National Research and Education Networks (NRENs), consortia and institutions involved in optical networking and research, and are engaged in creating and exploring prototypes of multiple, innovative communication services and technologies. "The iGENI initiative will enable our Consortium to extend and build on these partnerships in order to develop and implement a large-scale distributed environment for GENI researchers, and to make that environment available to many more research communities," explains principal investigator Joe Mambretti of iCAIR.

"One of the Consortium's major strengths has been its ability to develop teams, tools, and infrastructure on an accelerated schedule," says co-principal investigator Maxine Brown of EVL, "to enable global collaborations for complex problem solving. Each Consortium member has over a decade of experience of active involvement in international networking infrastructure, projects and community development."

iGENI will integrate multiple network resources, including those at the StarLight international communications exchange in Chicago, segments of national research and education network infrastructures, and a national wide-area private network operated by Cisco called C-Wave, as well as components of the international optical-networking GLIF fabric.

iGENI will be a unique distributed infrastructure that supports research and development for next-generation network communication services and technologies. This infrastructure will be integrated with current and planned GENI resources, and operated for use by GENI researchers conducting experiments that involve multiple aggregates (at multiple sites). The iGENI infrastructure will connect resources managed by iCAIR and EVL with current GENI national backbone transport resources, with current and planned GENI regional transport resources, and with international research networks and projects, such as the European Union's FIRE (Future Internet Research and Experimentation). In addition, the iGENI Consortium plans to integrate its global infrastructure with the Open Resource Control Architecture (ORCA) control framework, developed by GENI-funded colleagues at RENCI (Renaissance Computing Institute) and Duke University, to enable GENI researchers to dynamically control international network services, associated transport resources, and GENI aggregates.

iGENI also provides an open forum to attract new tools and technologies. Tom DeFanti, co-principal investigator from Calit2, is very interested in advancing new types of resource utilization technology. For example, DeFanti currently has NSF support to create innovative methods to measure resource requirements of modern information communication technology systems. "Using iGENI," says DeFanti, "we can demonstrate the utility of new types of measurements within the GENI environment, providing the GENI community with an important additional perspective."

This latest round of GENI funding will accelerate the prototyping of a suite of infrastructure for the GENI project with federation and shakedown experiments to guide future GENI system design. The GPO is spearheading an intensive campaign of research experimentation, which will enable it to refine and extend today's prototypes, with a particular focus on security, architecture, workflow tools, user interfaces, and thorough instrumentation.

More information:

Joe Mambretti
International Center for Advanced Internet Research (iCAIR)
Northwestern University

Maxine D. Brown
Electronic Visualization Laboratory
University of Illinois at Chicago