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Lighting up the LSST Fiber Optic Network: From Summit to Base to Archive

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

April 11, 2018 - The LSST Network Engineering Team is pleased to announce the first successful transfer of digital data over LSST/AURA 100 gigabit per second fiber optic networks from the Summit Site on Cerro Pachón, Chile to the Base Site in La Serena, Chile and on to the Archive Site at NCSA in Champaign, IL. This event took place in December 2017 and demonstrated not only performance and continuity across all hardware segments of the network, but a well-coordinated effort by multiple international engineering teams in support of LSST.

This challenge, driven by the "astronomical" needs of LSST to transport data from Cerro Pachón to NCSA for processing, and to distribute data from Cerro Pachón to the rest of Chile and the world, was the motivation for this international collaboration. AURA coordinated the project in conjunction with REUNAin Chile, and in the United States with FIU/AmLightand NCSA. At the international level, the joint work with FIU/AmLight demonstrated transcontinental infrastructures that ensure the data flow to the United States is coherent and reliable.

This scientific and technological milestone marks the first stage of a project at the Chilean national level, which is part of REUNA's 2018-2021 Strategic Plan that will provide a platform for the collaborative development of science and education, suitable for transmission and analysis of real time data obtained from the Universe. It will have an impact on multiple research areas, such as computer science, mathematics, physics, and others, enabling them in the new era of Big Data Science.

In Chile, the 800 km network between Cerro Pachón, La Serena, and Santiago has an initial capacity of 10Tbps (96 optical channels of 100Gbps each) with an "unlimited" potential growth bound to technology development. For example, there are already prototypes of 400 Gbps channels, which would quadruple the capacity.

In the first data transfer carried on this new network, a set of 6 x 10 Gbps network interface cards in data transfer nodes (DTN) configured with iPerf3 software generated a sustained data rate of approximately 48 gigabits per second, during a 24-hour period. This exceeded the test objective of 40 gigabits per second.

It should be noted that this project began on December 5th, 2014, with the public announcement by AURA, REUNA, and Telefónica of the implementation of the digital infrastructure between Santiago and Cerro Pachón. The Chilean Ministry of Economy supported the announcement.

Currently, professionals from AURA (Chile and the USA), REUNA (Chile), Florida International University (USA), AmLight (USA), RNP (Brazil), and UI NCSA (USA) participate in the LSST Network Engineering Team (NET), which provides the means to engineer end-to-end network performance across multiple network domains and providers.

It is also important to mention the role played by private companies in the development of these infrastructures.  In the case of Chile, Telefónica has been a strategic partner with a vision of collaboration with the National Academic Network in the technological development of the country. In the case of the USA, Internet2 and Florida LambdaRail have been long-term collaborators, supporting FIU/AmLight and the astronomy community in Chile.

Related articles:

April 3, 2018 – LSST Ring of Fire Connectivity Completed
March 29, 2018 - AmLight Press Release 
November 16, 2017 - Preparing to Light up the LSST Network
January 13, 2017 - Fiber Optic Installation
February 4, 2016 - Fiber Optics Data Links Agreement

Financial support for Rubin Observatory comes from the National Science Foundation (NSF) through Cooperative Agreement No. 1258333, the Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science under Contract No. DE-AC02-76SF00515, and private funding raised by the LSST Corporation. The NSF-funded Rubin Observatory Project Office for construction was established as an operating center under management of the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA).  The DOE-funded effort to build the Rubin Observatory LSST Camera (LSSTCam) is managed by the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory (SLAC).
The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency created by Congress in 1950 to promote the progress of science. NSF supports basic research and people to create knowledge that transforms the future.
NSF and DOE will continue to support Rubin Observatory in its Operations phase. They will also provide support for scientific research with LSST data.   

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