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Navel Postgraduate School logoOn March 8, 2010, the Corporation for Network Initiatives in California (CENIC) conference attendees were treated to a change of venue from the Regency Grand Ballroom at the Hyatt Monterey to the campus of CENIC Associate the Naval Postgraduate School (NPS).

What followed was an afternoon of top-flight presentations by cutting-edge researchers, a trans-Pacific demonstration that put CENIC advanced networking into the NPS through its paces and a reception in the beautiful, historic Hermann Hall, previous home of the Hotel Del Monte.


Dr. Karl van Bibber, adresses CENIC conference attendees at the Naval Postgraduate School.Upon arriving at the NPS, conference attendees were welcomed to the Mechanical Engineering Auditorium with a plenary address from Vice President and Dean of Research in Physics, Karl van Bibber.

Dr. van Bibber's presentation expressed how advanced networks such as California Research and Education Network (CalREN) have enabled a transformation in the way that science is done by allowing computation to take its place beside theory and experiment as the triple pillars supporting modern research. Using examples ranging from deep space astronomy to molecular dynamics to the physics of fluid flow, Dr. van Bibber demonstrated that high-performance networks and the vast stores of data to which they permit access allow a new understanding of processes relating to these areas of research that would previously have been unthinkable.

Following the plenary address, Paul Sanchez presented on Data Farming, a further evolution of the concept of data mining, where large sums of data that would be unmanageable without advanced networks, are actively "farmed" to create new understanding using a host of new techniques that permit interaction within the data on a massive scale. When studying effects that rely not on one or two or even twenty or a hundred variables, such techniques mean the difference between mystery and understanding—and fruitful applications of the new understanding.

The manipulation of three-dimensional digital information has long been one of the "killer apps" for advanced networks. Jeff Weekley and Jeff Haferman showed in their presentation on the visualization performed on the Hamming Supercomputer at NPS, how they have achieved their own rendering for researchers who are currently looking for scalable, affordable solutions to their own rendering-related challenges.

A presentation on geospatial data followed, a current hot topic the boundaries of which are still being determined. Presenters Don Brutzman and Dale Tourtelotte also demonstrated a scalable, affordable way to leverage enormous amounts of geodata in a way that can be applied by other researchers. Both presentations concentrated on stable commercial tools that "played well with others," and would remain accessible to the researchers using them.

Atsushi Takahara from NTT in Japan attends the conference through a high-definition live broadcast.In the final presentation, Jeff Weekley took the podium again with Laurin Herr from Pacific Interface to discuss extremely high-definition video and the ways in which it can be used to display and better understand underwater habitats. Dr. Atsushi Takahara from NTT Labs remotely joined them from Japan as a live demonstration of the power of high-definition video. Viewers in the auditorium thousands of miles away in Monterey burst into spontaneous applause at the appearance of Dr. Takahara, literally larger than life, and so clear as to appear almost more real than the live presenters. It was a stunning display of the robustness of the optical networks, including CalREN, between the two sites, and the way in which such performance can almost be assumed as the standard in any high-bandwidth research application.

The reception that followed in Hermann Hall was accompanied by a poster session of research being done in the Monterey area at California State University, Monterey Bay, the Defense Language Institute, the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI), the Monterey Institute of International Studies, the NPS and University of California, Santa Cruz. Hosted by titanium-level sponsors Cisco Systems and Brocade. During the reception, NPS Provost, Leonard Ferrari, presented CENIC President and CEO, Jim Dolgonas with an image of the NPS campus to recognize CENIC's support.

As with the conference presentations that took place at the Hyatt Regency, the NPS segment of the conference program was also Webcast live and archived for later viewing. <>

Photos courtesy of Naval Postgraduate School and CENIC.

Janis Cortese is Manager of Publicity and Communications at CENIC.