The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, working in partnership with The Enterprise Center and US Ignite, has acquired and activated a GENI rack. The GENI rack (i.e., Global Environment for Network Innovations) is linked with similar racks in 60 other leading universities in smart cities in the U.S. and internationally. The racks act collectively as a programmable nervous system for researching and deploying the next generation of the Internet and cloud computing.
UTC joined an elite group of universities with the installation of the Chattanooga GENI Rack, which allows for a high-speed, distributed, virtual environment for development and research of next generation technologies. UTC is the only non-research one campus in the country to house a GENI system.
The cutting-edge computing resource will benefit both campus researchers and subscribers to the EPB Fiber Optics network. The Chattanooga rack is unique in that it will be able to connect to Chattanooga homes and small businesses with gigabit Internet service from EPB Fiber Optics. This arrangement will enable Chattanoogans the opportunity to develop, test and provide feedback on advanced next-generation Internet applications in education, healthcare and public safety.
As a catalyst for the national movement to create and deploy such applications, US Ignite has been working with Chattanooga and EPB since US Ignite’s formation, and the GENI rack and its connections will now enable Chattanoogans to be among the first to experience them. Chattanooga’s 2015 GIGTANK accelerator will include an emphasis on leveraging this advanced infrastructure.
“We look forward to connecting other cities to Chattanooga and research universities via the GENI network so that new public-benefit applications can be developed collaboratively and shared for the benefit of many of the current set of US Ignite cities,” says William Wallace, executive director of US Ignite.
Some gigabit-enabled applications are currently being developed in Chattanooga through the Mozilla Gigabit Community Fund. Adagio, created by local musician Jonathan Susman, is a cloud-based audio remixing tool that will reach national and international audiences thanks to the GENI rack and its connections to other leading universities and smart cities. Viditor is a collaborative video-editing tool created by two entrepreneurial students at UTC.
Other smart gigabit cities are developing applications in virtual reality (e.g., to immerse students in the Gettysburg battlefield or perhaps explore the biological structure of living cells). More than 200 faculty members worldwide are engaged in this work on the next-generation Internet and its applications. The GENI rack is the resource needed to add Chattanooga to this prestigious list.
“We expect this capability to accelerate our efforts to match UTC researchers with those at the best research universities in the country,” says Steve Angle, chancellor of UTC.
One of the next-generation capabilities provided by the GENI racks is the ability to wall-off or isolate sensitive traffic. For example, the network could be configured to provide secure gigabit channels for telemedicine. Chattanooga was one of the first cities to demonstrate gigabit telemedicine by showing that gigabyte medical images could be examined by radiologists from their homes in the middle of the night in emergency cases.
Dr. Ashish Gupta, Big Data and Analytics Research Center (BDARC) Director and Associate Professor of Analytics and Information Systems at the UTC College of Business, plans to take advantage of the GENI system. “The Geni Rack is an extremely valuable resource to have at any University such as UTC that is seeking to engage in conducting high impact research with community engagement and leveraging the potential of networks of the future,” said Gupta. “Having a GENI rack will provide the platform to conduct transformative research by our group at UTC and expose students to a cutting edge technology.”
Areas of research that could use the GENI rack network include healthcare, network analytics, big data, and simulation and computing.
Ken Hays, president and CEO of The Enterprise Center, confirms that, “We are receiving many inquiries from leading-edge researchers who seek a critical mass of gigabit users. With the GENI connection, we will be working with such researchers across the country focusing initially on smart grid, additive manufacturing and healthcare services.”
Engage 3D and EPB used an early prototype of the GENI network to conduct the first city-to-city demonstration of student-controlled 3D television. Using the Ranger Rick program at the Tennessee Aquarium, a special camera captured not only video images, but also a representation of the 3D shapes of Ranger Rick, his animals and their surroundings. Because a digitized description of all of the objects in the scene was being sent, students watching the transmission in Chicago could control their vantage point, looking up, down and around the animal being shown. Each student could view the same or different vantage points simultaneously. Sending a complete description of the scene 30 times per second required nearly a gigabit of bandwidth to the aquarium, the Chattanooga Public Library and the local STEM high school.
Launched with support from the National Science Foundation, GENI supports next-generation architectures for sharing advanced applications that require symmetric gigabit speeds, advanced local cloud computing (locavore computing) and/or software-defined networking.
“This GENI system brings a whole new level of research possibilities to our campus and our community,” said Tom Hoover, UTC associate vice chancellor and chief information officer. “Our faculty and students can conduct research in an environment that allows them to create next-generation computing and networking technologies.”
The Chattanooga GENI Rack hardware consists of a small “super” cluster of physical servers connected to a complex networking switch. This switch provides a high speed connection—10 Gbps—from UTC to other GENI racks hosted around the world, creating a geographically distributed computing environment.
The computing power of multiple GENI racks can also be harnessed to create a vast “meta” cluster that provides intensive “number crunching” capabilities. The high speed connectivity, combined with the distributed architecture, provides GENI with the flexibility and scalability to be the proving ground for technologies that will help create the next generation of Internet.
“This will allow UTC faculty and students to compete for far more grant dollars in the areas of technology and innovation—which again goes hand in hand with efforts in the city,” said Hoover.
About the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga
The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga is a national model for community engaged universities. In collaboration with many regional partners, it offers students an experiential learning environment graced with outstanding teaching scholars in bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral programs.
About the Enterprise Center
The Enterprise Center is a non-profit organization whose mission is to establish Chattanooga as a hub of innovation, improving people’s lives by leveraging the city’s digital technology to create, demonstrate, test, and apply solutions for the 21st century.
About US Ignite
US Ignite is a non-profit, public-private partnership that fosters the creation of next-generation Internet applications that provide transformative public benefit in health care, clean energy, public safety, transportation, education, and advanced manufacturing. It was established in 2012 with initial inspiration from the National Science Foundation and the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.