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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
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
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
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
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
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).
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
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
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
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
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.
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.
his 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 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.
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.
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
- Initial applications (to demonstrate and explore the
- 3d pong
- the virtual
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
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
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
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