Click to edit Master text styles
Second level
Third level
Fourth level
Fifth level
What I'd like to do today is to whet your appetites and perhaps get your minds spinning on the sorts of things that could be done, given that you have the great network connectivity of the type  that is provided by Canada's advanced research networks.
We'll do that by taking doing a quick review of how we at CANARIE tries to facilitate the building of new an innovative applications.  I’ll punctuate that with a quick tour of some of the (real) projects and applications that we've been involved in over the last year or so, outlining some of the areas for future work.
The projects cover many application areas including
  music and performance arts
  medicine and accommodating physical disabilities
I’ll do a little some speculation about where the funding for future applications may come from.
And finally invite you (again) to CANARIE’s upcoming workshop in Montreal.
CANARIE funds networks and projects with its federal funding. Many of the projects that we’ll be describing today are part of the ANAST funding that was part of the NGN (Next Generation Networks).  These were projects that were oriented toward using the high-speed R&E networks.
The network spans the country with drop-off points in every province and soon in 2 out of the 3 territories will have relatively high-speed and always-on connections. In each province and territory there is a provincial network (which shows up in green on this map) that connect from the national network to actual institutions in the province.  Almost all Canadian universities are connected and there’s a growing number of community colleges, schools and research institutions that also have excellent connectivity. Tyypically a large university is connected at at least 1Gb/s but there are multi-gigabit connections to some sites..
The national links are made up of multiple 1Gigabit connections – with more added as required, but one of the unique aspects of the CA*net4 network is that is can also be dynamically configured to provide private-point-to-point links between points (where the application justifies it).  More on Lightpaths a little later.
CA*net4 also includes excellent connectivity internationally to the USA, Europe, Asia and Australia (via Seattle, Chicago and New York).  When you’re connected to CA*net4 you’re connected to a world-wide community of Research and Education networks.
One of the characteristics of the network that makes CA*net4 special is the provision of “Lightpaths” .  Lightpaths allow users to set up and control dedicated connections between points on the network.  Software is still being developed to streamline this process, but there have been a number of high visability uses of this service.  Probably the most visible have been the connections between various sites in Western Canada and the CERN colliders in Switzerland. Here 10Gb/s links are setup to gather data from the experiments, the results are partially processed in large computing clusters here and then the results shipped back to Switzerland for storage and further analysis. All this is done in near real-time with massive amounts of data.
There are three ways of looking at research and education networks like Orion, CA*net4, Internet2:  One is as a cheaper alternative to a commercial service.  Where the activities of the Internet go on as usual allbeit with a smaller universe of players.  The second is as a place for experiment to get a glimpse of what a possible future would look like. It becomes a experiment with new ways to use the network with the hope that the understanding thus obtained will help shape the future of the real and universal Internet. Of couse the third way of looking at the network is as a research entity in and of itself.  Are there interesting ways to move bits around, faster, more predictably and in greater volumes.
Looking at the R&E networks as a cheaper and better alternative to commercial networks has some built in limitations.  The major one is the limited reach of the network.  While organizations like ORION and CANARIE keep on touting the great reach of their networks, when compared with the commercial Internet the reach is paultry.  Even as 100s of schools are added we have the government claiming that all (100s of thousands) schools are connected to the Internet.  Of course the commercial Internet is often too slow or variable to do things like video conferencing or other time sensitive operations.  I think that Skype is showing otherwise.  I regularly use VC from home and I've seen commercial connections into the PCO that are better than we often get over the R&E networks.  And if you really want good audio and video just rent 3 to 6 ISDN lines and you'll probably do much better than any H.323 video connection.  So in this scenerio are we just claiming to be cheaper? (and perhaps a little easier -- it is a real pain to get those ISDN lines).  Consider the subsidies that have gone into making those lines cheaper.  $110M for CANARIE over 5 years, ??? for ORION, ??? for the internet2.  Are they really that much cheaper?
When we view the network as a testing place for new applications we pull further away from the existing commodity network.  This is ideal for projects that include only a few end-points but lots of time-sensitive data.  Due to the limited connectivity of the R&E networks it is a harder sell for an application that is stressed by having millions of users of relatively small portions of the network.  So when physicists need to work out how to efficiently send huge amounts of data from a collider in Switzerland to a computational farm in Calgary and then back to storage in France, the R&E networks are the obvious first choice.  When a researcher in Edmonton is trying to work out just how rooms that are sensitive to and react to their occupants located in rooms Edmonton and Victoria and then write a development language for making such scenerios, again the R&E networks are perfect.  If you want to stress test a new Voice-over-IP system by providing a free trial version to millions of users, you've probably come to the wrong place.
The last view abstracts the applications into entities that need to move bits of data from one place to another (or multiple places to multiple places) within certain time contraints and variability.  This is often a "crash and burn" network that carries no "production" traffic.  It is research into the ways that networks could work differently from how they do today.  Some of this occurs in the existing R&E networks and you can see some of it with the experiments in setting up "light-paths" between two points or between two cooperating networks. Typically the applications are secondary here and may be only glimpsed at since it isn't quite clear yet what the opportunities are that will be enabled by the new networking technologies that are being deployed.
We have in the past funded innovative uses for the network and do have a number of ongoing and projects being developed, but currently the funding is rather limited.  Check out the e-Content part on the CANARIE web site for more information.
So, we have tried to produce a fertile environment for applications using various mechanisms.  Perhaps now we can now take a quick overview of a number of interesting projects that use Canada’s research and education networks.
The whole system is based on  the sentiments displayed in this add for the Video Toaster.
Compression can add bad artifacts.
Compression increases latency and therefore interferes with collaboration possibilities.
This project is looking at three modes of using network distributed video:
1.Play-Listen – typically a concert with an audience. There’s a minimal amount of feed back – clapping, perhaps some questions at the end of the performance. Delays in the range of multiple seconds are tolerable.
2.Play-Talk: Here there is more back and forth.  This is typically the situation for a musical instrument class like a violin lesson with a master player. Short bits of music are played at each site interspersed with discussion or instruction.  This requires sub-second delays in the transmission in order for the conversation not to get too stilted.  As the latency is reduced the level of interaction (talking over the playing) is improved.
3.Play-Play: Two (or more) musicians play a single piece of music together. This is the hardest of the three and may not even be possible in the traditional sense except over very short distances due to speed of light problems and the very low tolerance for delay when creating music.
The play-play  mode continues to be improved on and experimented with.  Tomorrow, the first jazz jam fully over the CA*net4 infrastructure will take place. There’s an interesting story behind this event that illustrates the importance of keeping latency very low. When we switched to CA*net4 a strange feature of the initial network was that traffic from Montreal going to Chicago (and then across the Abilene network to Stanford) took the long route that included Boston, NYC and a torturous route in between. Turns out that approximately 30ms of extra time was added in – just enough to make the echo between Palo Alto, California and Montreal unbearable.  We temporarily reverted to a (depreciated) CA*net3 connection in NYC to fix the problem.  A recent redesign of the CA*net4 routing has not only fixed but improved on the latency between these two sites (and the traffic now goes via Chicago again). At the October 24th Jam session the two groups were really playing together with the latency dipping below 50ms at times. See http://www.cim.mcgill.ca/~jer/news/ for media coverage of these events.
This project using high-quality DV video (cheap consumer cameras) transmitted over the network to link a deaf patient to a hearing doctor with an interpreter located remotely. Two streams are delivered to the interpreter (patient and doctor) and one is delivered back to the patient (with a copy for the doctor). The software is the same base as that used by the uncompressed video of the previous slides. We’re hoping that McGill will work to turn that into a universal standard for transmitting high-speed, low-latency time-dependent streams of data over the network. There are lots of issues that they're attacking including keeping the technology physically out of the way of the examining physician (and patient), getting clear enough video for complex medical signing, sending it reliably over the IP network and dealing with the culture of the deaf community.
As you can clearly see in this photo there’s lots of signing going on (and the hands are moving quickly). If you could see both the patient’s and the interpreter’s face you’d see how the interpreter mimics the pain being felt by the patient.  A clear and precise video image is very important for this application.
The Access Grid is the implementation of a set of technologies that makes use of the power of large displays and multiple connections to bring large numbers of people together into a common working environment.  The technology is growing out of the high-energy physics and computer science community but is being adopted and improved by this social scientist oriented group. Sheridan, for example, is a leader in television production and they pioneered brining some of their expertise to the computer-literate, but video-production challenged AG community.  The torch now has been passed on to ANU in Australia but the goal of an easy to use, but enveloping collaborative environment still needs lots of work.  They’re also working on integrating improved audio, video (DV and MPEG4) and recording technologies.
Two spaces are linked with audio, video and generated graphics. Each space can sense the motion and position of multiple people. The overall system responds to the motion of all the participants in both locations. The room reacts to the participants and to the other participants in room(s) elsewhere in the network.  Also  for some applications the room itself is a participant. This is an exploration into next generation collaboration where the added component of position in 3d space is added to the mix. In some ways it could be described as a multi-user, large scale CAVE-like environment.  The inventors describe it as the “cinema” for the 21st century.
- Initial applications (to demonstrate and explore the concept):
  - 3d pong
  - the virtual distributed DJ
  - scientific mystery (interactive 3d graphics multi-user game)
Input sensors for the “feast” cover position in space, touch, messaging, voice and video.  Other sensors being explored include heart rate and breathing monitors.  In the end the system knows a lot about the participants and programs can be written to react to them.
This gives you a feel for the richness of the environment being created.
I also wanted to show you  a bit of video that illustrates the 3d Pong.
>>>cue to 5:56 cut as titles start running (about 1m) -- have it almost full   screen in the background (Alt tab to switch)
This project started in 1999 and is a service that has been available on CA*net3 and now CA*net4 since the beginning (since it was developed for CA*net2).  The National Film Board of Canada makes a rotating series of about 800 films available for streaming play using a very good quality MPEG1 encoding. The service is only available inside Canada and only after signing up with the NFB.  It is currently free to anyone connecting to CA*net4. Current plans are to look at higher quality encodings and increasing the use of the collection (perhaps even expanding out into the raw world of commodity network) and perhaps even starting to charge a fee. They’ve recently been working with CRIM in Montreal to augment the mechanisms available for indexing (and thus retrieving) the content…
Location of this presentation (by tomorrow).