National LambdaRail Selects MCNC to Lead Nationwide Networking Support

MCNC and N.C. State University Lead National Network Technology Research on Unique Optical Infrastructure

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. (June 22, 2005) - National LambdaRail (NLR), a consortium of leading U.S. research universities and private sector technology companies deploying a nationwide optical networking infrastructure, today announced that MCNC, which operates the nationally-recognized leading-edge North Carolina Research and Education Network (NCREN), will operate NLR Experiment Support Services.

MCNC, with support from N.C. State University, is facilitating research and experimentation in networking technologies and applications as the nationwide provider of experiment support services for NLR, an innovative and unique national fiber optic infrastructure designed to foster the advancement of networking research and next generation network-based applications in science, engineering and medicine.

NLR's Experiment Support Services will provide a wide range of services and enable new capabilities for the increasing number of projects that leverage the unique NLR infrastructure. Services will include coordinating the deployment of experimental equipment, providing engineering support and other assistance to researchers, serving as a facilitator for the researchers and research collaboration, and establishing a set of tools that enables researchers to access the NLR infrastructure in ways not possible on other production research and education networks.

Tom West, chief executive officer of NLR said, "NLR's selection of MCNC to run NLR's Experiment Support Services will further strengthen the unique capabilities of the nationwide National LambdaRail optical infrastructure to support leading-edge research. MCNC and N.C. State University bring a long history of nationally recognized leadership in the most advanced aspects of networking."

The announcement was made as approximately 60 leaders in advanced networking across the country gathered today in the North Carolina's Research Triangle Park for the first All-Hands Meeting for NLR member organizations.

"NLR is one of the most ambitious national research and education networking initiatives of our time and a giant leap in driving the evolution of the Internet," said John Crites, MCNC's president and chief executive officer. "We are honored to have the opportunity to help researchers throughout the nation and world develop the networking infrastructure critical to advancements in every field of science and engineering."

NLR is not a single network - it is a fiber optic infrastructure supporting many networks that exist side by side. These high-speed networks, capable of transmitting 10 gigabits per second, are physically and operationally independent of each other. Scientists and network researchers are able to develop and control their own dedicated, end-to-end network testbeds.

Advances in computing technologies are enabling new frontiers of research in many fields, including earth science, high energy and nuclear physics, astrophysics, fusion energy science, molecular dynamics, nanoscience and genomics. Large-scale research projects typically involve teams of scientists and scientific equipment from multiple geographic locations. Networks linking these locations can enable the transfer of massive amounts of data, remote visualization of results and remote control of scientific equipment. The network infrastructure makes the research teams more efficient, and in some cases, is essential to the feasibility of projects. Current high-speed networks do not provide the capabilities needed for many projects.

For example, an NSF-sponsored project called CHEETAH involving the University of Virginia, NCSU, Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee, and City University of New York is being conducted to develop a next-generation network capable of supporting these types of research projects. Georgia Tech has joined in as a participant on the CHEETAH network. Through the NLR Experiments Support Services, MCNC and NCSU assisted this research by providing engineering support.

"Our goal is to develop a high-speed optical testbed to provide connection-oriented networking services. This will enable rate-guaranteed services for remote collaboration of geographically distributed scientists. Additionally, it offers new research frontiers for networking researchers and distributed systems researchers," said University of Virginia Associate Professor Malathi Veeraraghavan, who leads the CHEETAH research project and holds a joint position in the university's Computer Science and Electrical and Computer Engineering departments.

"This work conducted on NLR will create new scientific opportunities in North Carolina and beyond," said Dr. John Blondin, a professor at NCSU specializing in astrophysics and relativity and involved in the CHEETAH project. "We're excited to participate in this project leveraging the NLR infrastructure."

More information about the NLR ESS can be found at www.nlr.net/ess/ Other NLR research projects are profiled at www.nlr.net/supported.html

About MCNC
Since 1985, MCNC has developed and operated the North Carolina Research and Education Network (NCREN) in collaboration with the University of North Carolina's 16 campuses. The fiber-optic, private network is dedicated to research and education, providing a statewide network backbone to foster innovation. NCREN provides high-speed Internet, video, audio and data network services for North Carolina public universities, Duke University, Wake Forest University, other private universities and community colleges, state government and non-profit institutions. NCREN also provides access to national research networks. MCNC, founded in 1980 to be a catalyst for technology-based economic development throughout North Carolina, is located in North Carolina's Research Triangle Park. For more information, please visit www.mcnc-gcns.org.

About National LambdaRail
National LambdaRail, Inc. (NLR) is a major initiative of U.S. research universities and private sector technology companies to provide a national scale infrastructure for research and experimentation in networking technologies and applications. NLR puts the control, the power and the promise of experimental network infrastructure in the hands of our nation's scientists and researchers. Visit www.nlr.net for more information.