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Cyberinfrastructure Glossary*

  • * authentication - A mechanism whereby systems securely identify their users.  Common forms of authentication include identification cards, PIN numbers, passwords, and fingerprints.
  • * authorization - A mechanism by which a system determines what level of access a particular authenticated user should have to secured resources controlled by the system.  Authorization schemes may be based on organizational role, individual attributes such as security clearance, location, time of day, payment of fees, and other factors.
  • * bandwidth - The amount of data that can be transmitted over a network in a fixed amount of time.  Bandwidth is the fundamental networking parameter, and is usually measured in kilobits, megabits, or gigabits per second (Kbps, Mbps, or Gbps).
  • * CASC (Coalition for Academic Scientific Computation) - A non-profit consortium of 53 institutions,including Clemson, that advocates for use of advanced computing technology to accelerate scientific discovery, increase national competitiveness, improve workforce training, advance economic development, and enhance education.  See http://www.casc.org/
  • CCIT (Clemson Computing & Information Technology) - The University's primary provider of computing and information technology resources, services, and support; CCIT also provides telecommunications services to the University and maintains several enterprise applications and databases for the state of South Carolina.  See http://www.clemson.edu/ccit/
  • CITI (Cyberinfrastructure Technology Integration) - The unit of CCIT that provides high performance computing capabilities and other cyberinfrastructure resources.  See http://citi.clemson.edu/
  • C-Light - Clemson's new, high-capacity fiber optic backbone network extending between Atlanta and Charlotte, which provides access to Internet2, National LambdRail (NLR), and other research and education networks.  See http://www.clemson.edu/ccit/systems_networks/network_services/network_services/c_light.html
  • * CNI (Coalition for Networked Information) - an organization dedicated to supporting the transformative promise of networked information technology for the advancement of scholarly communication and the enrichment of intellectual productivity.  Some 200 institutions representing higher education, publishing, network and telecommunications, information technologies, and libraries and library organizations make up CNI's Members.  Clemson is a member.  See http://www.cni.org
  • Condo Cluster - A collection of pooled computing resources with multiple owners providing high-performance computing.  At Clemson, the condo cluster, known as Palmetto, is managed by CCIT and includes resources contributed by several researchers as well.  As of June 2008 Palmetto contained 512 Dell PowerEdge 1950 dual processor, quad-core nodes, with a peak benchmark rating of 20 TFLOPS.
  • * Condor - A system developed at the University of Wisconsin-Madison to support high-throughput computing on large collections of distributively-owned computing resources.  Condor can be used to manage a cluster of dedicated compute nodes and to harness wasted processing power from otherwise idle desktop workstations.  See http://www.cs.wisc.edu/condor
  • * Cyberinfrastructure (CI) - A comparatively new and vague term describing environments that support advanced data acquisition, data storage, data management, data integration, data mining, data visualization, and other computing and information processing services over the internet.  Originally conceived as an approach for connecting data, computers, and people to enable advanced science and engineering, the technical and collaborative potential of CI is now being explored across numerous disciplines in support of research, instruction, and university outreach.
  • * EDUCAUSE - A nonprofit association of over 2,000 colleges and universities whose mission is to advance higher education by promoting the intelligent use of information technology.  Long-standing EDUCAUSE foci include instructional technology, advanced networking, and enterprise information systems.  Recent initiatives include IT policies, information security, and campus cyberinfrastructure.  Clemson is a member.  See http://www.educause.edu
  • * GENI - Global Environment for Networking Innovations.  An NSF initiative to create new network architectures.  See http://www.nsf.gov/cise/cns/geni/
  • * grid - A system for large-scale wide-area distributed computing.  Making the software to make grids work is one of the main challenges facing designers of advanced networks.  Globus (http://www.globus.org/) and the Open Grid Forum (http://www.gridforum.org/) are among the principal organizations for grid development.
  • * HPC (High-Performance Computing) - Computing applications on supercomputers and computer clusters.  As technology advanced, the definition of "high-performance" evolves, with current advanced systems rated in tens and hundreds of TFLOPS.
  • * InCommon - A formal federation of organizations focused on creating a common framework for trust to facilitate educational and research collaboration through the sharing of protected network-accessible resources by means of an agreed-upon common trust fabric.  See http://www.incommonfederation.org/
  • * Internet2 Network - An advanced hybrid optical and packet network for the U.S. research and education community, which replaced the Abilene backbone network, in operation from 1999 to 2007.  See http://www.internet2.edu/network/
  • * Internet2 - A university-led effort to develop advanced network applications and the network technologies needed to support them.  The 200+ US universities that lead the project work closely with partners in the industry and government, and with advanced networks around the world.  See http://www.internet2.edu/
  • * lambda - A wavelength of light (named after the Greek letter used to represent it in engineering calculations).
  • * latency - How long it takes a packet to travel from its source to its destination over a network.  Also called a delay.
  • * Layer2 - Refers to networking protocols that control how data is formatted to ensure reliable delivery over a given physical medium.  Ethernet is a Layer 2 protocol.
  • * Layer3 - Refers to networking protocols that control how data is routed.  IP is a Layer 3 protocol.
  • MessageGrid - A web-based software tool, developed at Clemson under the direction of Professor Roy Pargas, to facilitate recitation and interaction in a laptop-enhanced classroom.  See http://www.cs.clemson.edu/~pargas/messagegrid/
  • * metadata - Data about data, or information known about an object in order to provide access to the object.  Usually includes information about intellectual content, digital representation data, and security or rights management information.
  • * middleware - Roughly, a layer of software between the network and the applications.  Middleware is notoriously hard to define.  One of the most popular definitions is "the intersection of what network designers and application developers each do not want to do."  See http://middleware.internet2.edu/
  • * NCREN (North Carolina Research and Education Network) - A statewide service that provides high-speed Internet, video, audio, and data center services to universities and other institutions across the state.  See http://www.ncren.net
  • * NGI (Next Generation Internet) - A now-concluded Federal program focused on developing advanced applications and networking capabilities needed by US Government agencies such as NASA and the Department of Energy.
  • * NLR (National LambdaRail) - A major initiative of U.S. research universities and private sector technology companies to provide a national scale infrastructure for research and experimentation in networking technologies and applications.  See http://www.nlr.net
  • * NRENs (National Research and Education Networks) - Building and interconnecting NRENs is a major focus of advanced research and education networking efforts around the world.  See http://international.internet2.edu/intl_connect/NREN.html
  • * optical networking - Networking in which information is transmitted as light over optical fiber, rather than as electricity over wire or radio waves through the air.
  • * OSG (Open Science Grid) - A consortium of software, service, and resource providers and researchers from universities, national laboratories, and computing centers across the U.S., funded by the National Science Foundation and U.S. Department of Energy, to assemble computing and storage resources into a shared grid infrastructure via a common set of middleware.  See http://www.opensciencegrid.org
  • Palmetto - Clemson's Condo Cluster for high performance computing.
  • * PCAST (President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology) - Established in 1990 to enable the President to receive advice from the private sector and academic community on technology, scientific research priorities, and math and science education.  In 1995, PCAST was assigned the responsibilities of PITAC.  See http://www.ostp.gov/cs/pcast
  • * PITAC (President's Information Technology Advisory Committee) - Advised the President, Congress, and Federal agencies involved in networking and information technology research and development with expert, independent advice on such topics as high performance computing, large-scale networking, cyber security, and high assurance software and systems design.  Having produced reports from 1997 to 2005, PITAC's functions were subsequently assigned to PCAST.  See http://www.nitrd.gove/pitac/
  • * PKI (Public Key Infrastructure) - A Very promising but complex and hard-to-implement set of techniques for electronic security.  PKI is based on the exchange of electronic credentials called certificates.  See http://middleware.internet2.edu/hepki-tag/ and http://middleware.internet2.edu/pki07/
  • * Quilt - A coalition of advanced U.S. regional educational and research network organizations, where leaders from throughout the advanced network community build on the intellectual capital and best practices of network service providers worldwide.  See http://www.thequilt.net/
  • * RENCI (Renaissance Computing Institute) - A collaborative venture of Duke University, NC State University, UNC at Chapel Hill, and the state of North Carolina to foster interdisciplinary programs and enable advancements in science, education, industry, and the arts by developing and deploying world-class information technologies.  See http://www.renci.org/
  • * RON (Regional Optical Network) - A network based upon fiber optic transmission technologies to research and education in a sub-state, statewide, or multi-state region.  Many RONs are members of the Quilt.
  • * Shibboleth - Internet2's flagship federating technology.  Shibboleth enables sharing of web resources that are subject to access controls such as user IDs and passwords.  The Shibboleth architecture protects privacy by letting individual users choose which information about them can be released to each destination.  See http://shibboleth.internet2.edu/
  • * SCLR (South Carolina Light Rail) - An initiative to build and operate an advanced fiber optic network planned to interconnect Clemson, Medical University of South Carolina, and University of South Carolina as well as provide access to other regional, national, and international research and education networks.
  • * SLR (Southern Light Rail) - A Georgia Tech non-profit corporation providing access to NLR for Georgia Research Alliance and other universities in the Southeast.  See http://www.southernlightrail.org
  • * SoX (Southern Crossroads) - A cooperative regional networking initiative, headquartered at Georgia Tech, that provides commodity Internet and advanced services to universities and other organizations in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee.  Clemson is a SoX participant.  See http://www.sox.net
  • * Supercomputer - A computer that at the time of its introduction is considered to be at the frontline in terms of processing power.  As of June 2008, the IBM "Roadrunner" at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) was announced as the fastest operational supercomputer, rated at 1,026 TFLOPS (1.026 PFLOPS).  The fastest university-based supercomputer is currently "Ranger" at the University of Texas at Austin, rated at 504 TFLOPS, although the National Science Foundation has recently funded an even faster system to be installed at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
  • * SURA (Southeastern Universities Research Association) - A consortium of over sixty universities across the US.  SURA jointly operates the Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility on behalf of the US Department of Energy and promotes initiatives in nuclear physics, advanced networking, grid computing, coastal research, and technology commercialization.  Clemson is a SURA member.  See http://www.sura.org
  • * SURAgrid - A consortium of institutions and organizations collaborating and combining resources to create a distributed, high-performance computing infrastructure for the SURAregion.  Clemson is a participating member.  See http://www.sura.org/programs/sra_grid/html
  • * TeraGrid - An open scientific discovery infrastructure combining leadership class resources at eight partner sites in the U.S. to create an integrated, persistent computational resource.  TeraGrid is funded by the National Science Foundation.  See http://www.teragrid.org/
  • * TFLOPS (TeraFLOPS) - Trillion Floating Point Operations per Second, a measure of computing performance, especially in scientific fields that make heavy use of non-integer calculations.  One thousand TeraFLOPS equals 1 PetaFLOPS.
  • * WDM (Wavelength Division Multiplexing) - The use of multiple wavelengths of light on a single optical fiber.  As each wavelength can carry information independently of the others, this greatly increases total bandwidth.

 


 

* Attributions for these definitions include:

  • BIRN (Biomedical Informatics Research Network) Glossary, http://www.nbirn.net/about/birn_glossary.shtm
  • Internet2 Glossary, http://www.internet2.edu/info/internet2-glossary.cfm
  •  TeraGrid Glossary, http://www.teragrid.org/eot/glossary.html
  • Wikipedia, http://www.wikipedia.org/
  • And organizational websites. 
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