THE FEDERAL SERVER of THE IIII: tele-cooperation without bareers

A.Bogdanov, T.Gavrilova, Yu.Gorbachev, S.Yeremenko

e-mail: bogdanov@iiii.spb.su, gorbachev@iiii.spb.su,
siy@c1.csa.ru, gavr@limtu.spb.su

International Institute for Interphase Interactions (IIII)
P.O. Box 71, 194291 St.-Petersburg, Russia

SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT: Strategic Cooperation in High Performance
Computing for Image Processing and Multi-Media Databases

Anno Jordan, I. Cechowicz
email: jordan@parsytec.de
Parsytec Computer GmbH, Auf der Huels 183, 52068 Aachen

A. Bogdanov, Yu. Gorbachev
International Institute for Interphase Interactions (IIII)



1. INTRODUCTION

Russia is step by step integrated into world's economy. One of the necessary steps that should be done on this way is joining the world's information space. Russia is solving this problem fastly by creating its own networks and informational servers and by providing the links to the world's networks.

One of the attempts in this direction is based on the supercomputing, server and communication facilities of the International Institute for Interphase Interactions (IIII).

By the moment, on the basis of these facilities, a positive experience have been accumulated in the field of education and retraining mainly [1]. The computer and communication resources of the IIII allow:

2. THE IIII.

The International Institute for Interphase Interactions (IIII) was founded in St.Petersburg, Russia, in September 1991 as a nongovernmental non-profit-making scientific and research institution, and headed from the very beginning by professor Alexander V. Bogdanov.

The necessity of deep interdisciplinary integration of various separated groups in different areas of science and technology is now widely recognized. That's why the main goal of this Institute establishment was to integrate the scientific abilities of highly skilled Russian scientists and experts dealing with informational systems as well as with physics, mathematics, mechanics, chemistry and ecology. In particular, the most important problem is to coordinate their activities addressed to the resolution of fundamental and applied problems of physical and mathematical modeling for interphase interactions as well as for the application of obtained results.

Besides, the IIII committed itself to organize the retraining courses for specialists engaged in the above mentioned areas of industry, to provide them with the advanced training and education for the high skilled specialists through the exchange of postgraduate and postdoctoral programs for both Russian and foreign residents.

For the successful development of such a complex and vast program the IIII was based on the new principles of the science organization in Russia. Some of them concist in preventing the creation a gigantic institutions, and in refusal to maintain a non-flexible internal structures.

The IIII Education and Retraining Centre was registered by the EEC COMNET program authorities. Recently the Institute has become the Corresponding member and the Pilot Centre for Eastern Europe guided by the ERCOFTAC organization in Lausanne, Switzerland.

The above mentioned principles make it possible to carry out the fundamental researches, according to the long-term programs proposed by the IIII Scientific Council, to meet operatively current demands of both national and foreign scientific institutions, companies and firms and to create for this reason some temporal IIII research teams (laboratories) based on the contract system for solving particular fundamental and applied problems.

The continuous development of the IIII in present time, that is not a very simple one for the Russian science, is based primarily on the world famous scientific achievements of the IIII fellows in various areas. They can be found in the field of elementary processes, physical and chemical kinetics, in bulk and interfaces, in relaxation gas dynamics and computations of complex gasdynamical flows with different physical processes, including combustion, catalytic reactions, kinetic DSMC calculations and mathematical modeling of film growth processes, as well as in computer simulation and in the artificial intelligence system design and also in various fields of programming. The IIII also supports reliable sci entific collaboration with the leading scientific and training centres of Russia as well as with a number of foreign scientific centres, to say nothing about the broad individual contacts inside the world scientific community. Aspects mentioned above provide for the IIII the unique position of being the new wave research centre trying to promote international scientific cooperation.

The IIII is equipped with the most powerful supercomputer cluster in Russia consisting of three high-performance computers from CONVEX: C120, C3820 and C3440. Computer centre is a quickly developing structure having now the Ethernet network, that unites supercomputers and links them with Unix stations (Sun, HP, MicroVax). C3820 supercomputer is used as a regional fileserver in the framework of the RUNNet network and is planned to be used as one for the future RBnet network.

The IIII long-term research programs are conformed with the last years activities of its fellows, having represented different results and products. They were demonstrated in the framework of various conferences, workshops, seminars, published reports, articles, books, computer simulation software, etc.

As a whole, the IIII is orientated to mutual and continuous cooperation and assistance between modern scientific, technological and educational projects around the world.

On the basis of the IIII, the new state institution was established in February 1996. This is the Institute for High-Performance Computing and Data Bases (ICB). The research work financed by the Ministry of Science and Technical Policy of Russian Federation will be carried out in this new Institute whilst the IIII will remain the coordinating centre for cooperation within the scope of national and international research programs and projects. The ICB has rapidly became the head institution on supercomputing in Russia.

The WWW-server of the IIII is under active construction nowadays. Having contacted it, one may know about the Institute, how to get access to the data and calculating resources, the CONVEX parallel vector computation technique, etc. The server is available on http://www.csa.ru.


3. SERVER FACILITIES.

The computing and communication resources of both these Institutes lay in the basis of Joint Supercomputer Centre.

Up to now one of the main limiting factor in computer networks development, data and knowledge bases development and organizing large scale work on multimedia and graphic educational programs was the absence of powerful host computers in the academic institutions. For example, the Informational network of the Union of Scientific Organizations of North-West worked on VAX VT-320 with relatively weak Motorolla 68030 processor and had only 1500 MB of Memory. Although it gave a full scale service to its users, it is quite clear that the number of users have to be limited to the headquarters of Scientific Community to provide all range of services, or the mainframe should be upgraded.

CONVEX C3820 of the IIII is the first powerful host, that makes this Institute the natural leader in organizing academic network with complete list of services available for any user. CONVEX offers access to a wide variety of connectivity standards, such as HYPERchannel, ULTRAnet, Ethernet, TCP/IP etc. CONVEX super file servers meet the needs of file operations and mass storage demands. XWindow system provides all the possibilities for distributed applications and familiar graphic user interfaces.

That makes the Joint Supercomputer Centre of the IIII and ICB available to provide to every working place wide variety of services:

and others. We feel, this Centre will be important vehicle for providing connection between Russian and European scientific and educational organizations.

The Centre is mainly aimed at serving the institutions of the Ministry of Science and Technical Politics and the Committee of High Education. On its basis, the specific both scientific and informational demands are to be satisfied, such as the support of specialized networks (HEPNet - high energy physics net, ASTRONet - astronomy net, MATHNet, etc.). Beside the communication and data base facilities, its powerful resources are successfully used for calculations, including remote ones.


4. COMMUNICATION FACILITIES.

Through the computing resources of the IIII the user may get access to the RBnet and RUNNet networks as well as the new supercomputer network.

RBnet is a large network project aimed at the whole-Russia academic net accessibility. Up to now, the national connection structure has been pretty fragmentary and mainly defined by the topology and net exchange of several large service providers (Relcom, RUNNet, etc). By the moment few big linked domains have been formed, and dealing with corresponding service-provider is required to get an access.

RBnet final purpose is an integrated media of information exchange which allows to solve efficiently the tasks like these:

To fulfill the tasks mentioned above, RBnet should satisfy to requirements as follows:

Two main network "architectures" lay in the basis of these requirements:

The net is based on the core routers (RBR) situated in the basic access points (BAP) and connected by high-speed digital data transfer channels. The use of high-reliable on-land channels is preferable.

The core router is connected to the Regional Internet eXchange (RIX) which may be certain in its architecture but is to provide the media transparent for internet exchange for:

RIX may be the part of a BAP or a regional infrastructure.

The RBnet routing policy defines that each linked domain connected to a BAP is accessible from all the linked domains connected to RBnet.

RUNNet is the federal university network which is aimed at the united information area for education and science of Russian Federation and its integration to the world information community.

RUNNet is based on principals as follows:

RUNNet federal nodes provide the connection of regional network and interact with independent service providers on the Point to Point Peering or Internet Exchange Peering schemes. RUNNet has the gate to the Internet according to the agreement with the Scandinavian united academician network NORDUnet.

Beside RBnet and RUNNet common facilities, the user of the IIII computing resources may have an access to the supercomputer network which is being built now. This network is to unite 7 supercomputer clusters all in all (2 in St.-Petersburg and 5 in Moscow) which are planned to be connected by the 150 Mbits channel.


5. TELE-COOPERATION IN SCIENCE AND EDUCATION

The new partnership programs via INTERNET will help to build an institutionalized distance cooperation facilities as well as learning programs and teach critical knowledge and skills to a wide scope of researchers and students. The partnerships among the academic teams, scientific associations, training firms and universities will be forged and cooperative arrangements with the telecommunications service providers established. Several projects will conduct courses in Russia to the target sectors by distance learning and concurrently develop links and institutionalize distance collaboration between Russia and Europe with links to the U.S.

IIII is a leader not only in High-Performance Computing and Distance Learning in Russia, but also in wider field of computer science (artificial intelligence, egs.) and theoretical physics. It has pioneered sophisticated distance learning on these topics.

All programs will be delivered to the Ministry of Science and Technical Policy as requested. In Russia IIII will provide the communications service as an extensive cluster of telecommunications courses both in basic studies, computer science and in management, policy, privatization, regulation and technology. Programs in distance learning will be addressed the various regional sites throughout Russia.

IIII works at the premises and in close contact with St.Petersburg State Technical University, which is one the oldest, largest, and most prestigious technical university in Russia. It has has special departments for Life-Long Education, for continuing education and Distance Education Center. It has cooperative agreements with 32 European and American Universities. The partnership is succesful, but tele-cooperation will serve as a great impact to it effectiveness.


6. CONCLUSIONS.

The International Institute for Interphase Interaction has become now one of the best equipped centres for wide future scientific cooperation in various research work under both Russian and EEC programs. The server facilities of the IIII allow to support the necessary information service and data bases. The communication facilities make accessible the all-Russia educational and scientific networks. The supercomputer resources may provide users with significant calculating power.




SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT: Strategic Cooperation in High Performance Computing for Image Processing and Multi-Media Databases

Anno Jordan, I. Cechowicz
email:
jordan@parsytec.de
Parsytec Computer GmbH, Auf der Huels 183, 52068 Aachen

A. Bogdanov, Yu. Gorbachev
International Institute for Interphase Interactions (IIII)


Based on the existing and expanding activities of the IIII and ICB, a strategic co-operation agreement was finalized in spring 1996 between IIII, Parsytec Computer GmbH, Aachen and Parsytec St. Petersburg.

Parsytec designs and markets very high speed image processing building blocks, based on advanced recognition software and scalable parallel processing HW based on PC technology. Main applications are document pro cessing, e.g. postal automation or reading handwritten documents, semiconductor quality control, surface inspection, explosive detection in airline baggage, medical imaging, etc.

Besides that Parsytec provides generic parallel processing platforms for research centres and universities. Parsytec is involved in more than 15 EU Projects with focus on image processing and related areas. Through its coordinating role in the ACTS Projects SICMA (Scalable Interactive Continuous Media Servers Design and Application) and SICMA-EAST (Extension to Eastern Europe), a close co-operation with the IIII/ICB has been a natural result of Parsytec St. Petersburg activities in Russia.

The further development of the SICMA server technology by Russian partners to a system which archives an huge amount (thousands) of Russian masterpieces (pictures) in digital format is the main objective of SICMA-East. The server will be able to deliver those digitized pictures to telecommunication networks using Internet/WWW standards via standard, ATM, ISDN and satellite networks in Russia and Western Europe.

During the last months staff of IIII has been trained in Germany for system handling and maintainance and the IIII will provide a testbed for the SICMA-East application for the whole Russia via RUNNet.

Currently a first high performance computer system with 16 processors and a performance of 4 GFLOPS is under installation at IIII. This installation is completely financed by Russian resources and demonstrates the willingness of IIII and the Ministry of Science and Technology to invest in advanced technology and strategic cooperation.

The co-operation has been supported by the recent BENEFIT Workshops and information days by the provision of discussion fora and round tables for the planning of EU projects and related co-operations.


LITERATURE

[1] A. Bogdanov, Y. Gorbachev. From LDE projects to joint research cooperation: some conclusions and propositions. DMM'95. Proceedings. pp. 340-345.

[2] Charlton, S. Meeting educational needs in an information society. In: G.Davies & B& Samways (eds) Teleteaching. Proceedings of the IFIO TC3 third teleteacing conference, 1993. Trondheim, Norway. Amsterdam: Elseivier Science Publishers B.V., pp. 789-795.

[3] Collis B., de Vries P. New Technologies and Learning in the European Community. T.H.E. Journal, March, 1994, pp. 23-67.

[4] Fox, G. High Performance Computing and Communications: impact on Education. NYS Sc&T conference, Rochester, NY, November 1993, pp. 152-167.


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