Speed Daemons
A TEAM OF computer wizards from the USC School of Engineering’s Information Sciences Institute, Microsoft, Qwest and the University of Washington have set the first Internet2 Land Speed Record. The team transferred 8.4 gigabytes of data from Redmond, Wash., to ISI’s East Coast office in Arlington, Va., in about 81 seconds. Using off-the-shelf Windows 2000 and standard TCP/IP stacks, and routing data along high-bandwidth lines of the Next Generation Internet (also known as Internet2), the team achieved a rate of 749 gigabits per second with a single stream of data and 957 gigabits per second with a multi-stream.
To the average computer user, transfer speeds may seem like a force of nature, random and chaotic. Not so, says ISI computer scientist Terry Gibbons. “It’s a real challenge to deliver a high-bandwidth stream to a user’s work-station,” he says, but it’s not impossible. To maximize speeds, “many diverse components – from local workstation parameters to backbone router configurations – need to work together,” he adds.
The team shared a trophy and a $10,000 prize, awarded at the spring 2000 Internet2 Member Meeting in Washington, D.C. “We hope this competition gets people thinking about enabling really revolutionary Internet applications,” says Microsoft-based computer pioneer Jim Gray, the race’s co-creator. The next trial is planned for November, when the reigning champs will try to hold on to their title with a double cross-country route that zips through Seattle, San Francisco, New York, Washington, D.C., Houston, Los Angeles and then back again.




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Illustration by Michael Klein

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