Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center 

Advancing the state-of-the-art in high-performance computing,
communications and data analytics.

PSC to Build Early Warning Tool for Fixing Internet Traffic Jams

$300,000 National Science Foundation Grant Will Use Web10G Data to Warn Users, Administrators for Proactive Repair of Slow Data Flow

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

A new, $300,000 National Science Foundation (NSF) grant will enable software engineers at the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center (PSC) to build the first practical tool for warning individual users and their network administrators when their connection has developed a problem that will slow or halt data flow. The one-year project will build a tool called XSight, intended to become a standard part of the toolbox for maintaining network connections for all operating systems. XSight will build on PSC’s Web10G, a set of software tools for obtaining connection data.

“XSight will represent a proactive approach toward resolving network problems,” says PSC’s Chris Rapier, principal investigator in the project. “It’s different from other approaches to measure network performance because it takes advantage of Web10G’s ability to collect data on individual data transfers, both in the network and in an application’s interaction with the network.”

Read more: Early Warning Tool for Fixing Internet Traffic Jams

Dig, Simulations on PSC's Blacklight Suggest Extinction Refuge, Trigger for Modern Human Behavior

Thursday, Feb. 5, 2015

PSC's Blacklight supercomputer features prominently in an International Science Grid this Week story about Curtis Marean of Arizona State University, leader of an international team studying early human settlements in the Cape Floral region of South Africa. Marean is triangulating what may have been humanity's closest brush with extinction using three avenues of research. The team's archeological digs have demonstrated human habitation and life-sustaining protein and carbohydrate food sources at a point in the last glacial maximum when virtually no evidence of humans can be found elsewhere in Africa. DNA evidence points to a roughly contemporaneous genetic bottleneck in which the population crashed to 15,000 or fewer individuals. And new climate simulations of the area using Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center's Blacklight supercomputer for the first time provide enough detail to show the area was likely to be an island of moderate climate at a time when the rest of Africa was too arid to support human life. Interestingly, humans began to display modern behavior such as heat-treating stones for tools and artistic representations during this period.