Data sent at 339 gigabits per second (Gbps) – equal to downloading 1 million full-length movies per day

[Ottawa, ON | 13 December 2012] CANARIE, operator of Canada’s Advanced Research and Innovation Network, and BCNET today announced their participation in another record-breaking data-transfer enabled over their high-speed research and education networks.


At the SuperComputing Conference in Salt Lake City, Utah, November 12-16, 2012, a team of high- energy physicists led by the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), University of Victoria and University of Michigan brought a powerful combination of intelligence and technology together and succeeded in almost doubling the record for data transfer, which had been set at 186 Gbps in November 2011.

The team reached a record transfer rate of 339 Gbps between Caltech, the University of Victoria Computing Center in British Columbia, the University of Michigan, and the Salt Palace Convention Center in Utah. This nearly doubled last year’s overall record, and eclipsed the record for a bidirectional transfer on a single link with a data flow of 187 Gbps between Victoria and Salt Lake.

As with the previous record-breaking data transfer, CANARIE provided the backbone ultra-high-speed fibre-optic network connection between Canada and the United States, while BCNET provided the connection from the University of Victoria in British Columbia to CANARIE.

Increasing network speeds have a transformative effect on how data is stored and retrieved. With an ultra-fast network, enormous data sets don’t have to be stored in a central location, but may be retrieved from the cloud or from other users. Demonstrations like the one at the SuperComputing Conference are exciting for researchers because they open the door to new opportunities to leverage and benefit from the glut of data available.

And the amount of data being created is increasing exponentially. Researchers today collect, analyze, and share data from thousands of sensors, satellites, and advanced instruments, work with colleagues near and far, and use advanced tools to mine and process data to create new knowledge.

For example, last summer’s discovery at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) in Switzerland of a new particle that may be the long-sought Higgs boson was made possible by a global network of computational and data-storage facilities that transferred more than 100 petabytes (100 million gigabytes) of data in the past year alone. As the LHC continues to slam protons together at higher rates and with more energy, the experiments will produce an even larger flood of data — reaching the exabyte range (a billion gigabytes).

Another “big data” example is the Square-Kilometer Array (SKA) project, involving participants from twenty countries, which will enable scientists to determine, among other things, how the first stars were formed, if Einstein’s theory of relativity is correct, and if we are alone in the universe. The SKA will be 50 times more sensitive and 10,000 times faster for imaging the sky than the most powerful existing radio telescope arrays. It will produce a volume of data that will dwarf current astronomical research data – too much for commonly-used software tools and networks to capture, curate, manage, and process within a reasonable timeframe. CANARIE, BCNET and other research and education networks will be critical partners in distributing and leveraging the data that will be created by the SKA.


“Research networks like CANARIE are on the cutting-edge of network technology because users who depend on us are on the cutting-edge of innovation and discovery,” says Jim Roche, President and CEO of CANARIE. “The potential to solve our most pressing problems and expand our knowledge using the vast amounts of data available increasingly depends on our ability to effectively collaborate – and advanced networks make that happen.”

“At SC12 we showed that it is possible to move data reliably and efficiently between two distant sites at speeds of 100 Gbps. Collectively we were able to move data at speeds in excess of 300 Gbps and within a few years it may be possible to reach 1 Terabit/second,” notes Dr. Randall Sobie, Adjunct Professor at University of Victoria’s Institute of Particle Physics. “These achievements are critical to projects such as ATLAS on the LHC, which includes physicists from Canada. The network makes it possible to exploit the computational resources in a country that is distant from CERN, enables Canada to play a leading role in leading-edge global research and become a magnet for highly qualified personnel.”

“BCNET is proud to support the demonstration at SC2012,” claims Michael Hrybyk, President and CEO of BCNET. “Our leading-edge, advanced networking technology is a platform for network experimentation, invention and discovery.”


The University of Victoria (UVic) with network partners CANARIE, BCNET and Internet2 established a 100G link between University of Victoria Data Centre and the Salt Palace Convention centre in Salt Lake City Utah. UVic focused on producing maximum disk read-and-write performance using the smallest amount of hardware possible. UVic was able to produce disk reads above 95 Gbps using only 4 IBM x3650 M4 servers each populated with 16 OCZ Vertex 4 SSDs. An individual IBM server was to read from disk at 38 Gbps and write stably at 24 Gbps. Each machine used a single Mellanox Connect- X3 Ethernet card connected to a Juniper MX 480 with QSFP+ optics.

The connection was carried out of the MX 480 via 100G LR4 CFP Optic to Ciena 6500 Packet Optical Platform with Wavelogic Coherent Technology over CANARIE and BCNET to Seattle. From Seattle the circuit was transported over the Internet 2 100G SDN Infrastructure to Salt Lake City. The established circuit was flawless with zero packet drops allowing for very high sustained throughput.


More information is available at http://supercomputing.caltech.edu/ and http://supercomputing.uvic.ca/

YouTube video about Canadian participation.

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For more information, please contact:
Wynn Anne Sibbald
Communications Manager
(613) 943-5432


CANARIE designs, delivers, and drives the adoption of digital infrastructure for Canada’s research and education communities. CANARIE keeps Canada at the forefront of digital research and innovation, fundamental to a vibrant digital economy.

CANARIE’s roots are in advanced networking, and CANARIE continues to evolve the national ultra- high-speed backbone network that enables data-intensive, leading-edge research and big science across Canada and around the world. One million researchers, scientists and students at over 1,100 Canadian institutions, including universities, colleges, research institutes, hospitals, and government laboratories have access to the CANARIE Network.

CANARIE also leads the development of research software tools that enable researchers to more quickly and easily access research data, tools, and peers. In support of Canada’s high-tech entrepreneurs, CANARIE offers cloud-computing services to help them accelerate product development and gain a competitive edge in the marketplace.

Twelve provincial and territorial network partners, together with CANARIE, form Canada’s advanced network alliance. This powerful digital infrastructure connects Canada’s researchers and innovators provincially, nationally, and globally to the data, tools, colleagues, and classrooms that are at the heart of prosperity in the digital economy.

Established in 1993, CANARIE is a non-profit corporation, with the major investment in its programs and activities provided by the Government of Canada.

For more information, please visit: www.canarie.ca .

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