San Diego, CA, and Melbourne, Australia,
January 16, 2008 -- Members of the Australian American
Leadership Dialogue (AALD) meeting at Calit2 in San Diego were linked
over a super-broadband network to the University of Melbourne's
new OptIPortal tiled wall display (based on technology first developed
by the Calit2-led OptIPuter project).
Australia's Deputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Victorian Premier
John Brumby today joined politicians, industry, science and media
representatives – on both sides of the Pacific – to experience
a powerful, next generation ultra-resolution visualization carried
over the super-broadband network linking the University of Melbourne
and the UCSD division of Calit2.
the conclusion of the two-way interaction, researchers
and technicians in San Diego and Melbourne (on screen)
engage in a 'virtual high-five' salute after two months
of intensive collaboration to get the OzIPortal-Calit2
link up and running. [Photos by Alan Decker]
In an Australian first, this next-generation
platform – set to revolutionize the way Australia interacts
with the rest of the world – allows real-time, interactive
collaboration across the globe, combining high-definition video
and audio with the sharing of ultra-resolution visualizations from
a broad range of disciplines. Today’s demonstration was an
initiative of the Australian American Leadership Dialogue (AALD).
The organization held its West Coast Leadership Dialogue at UC San
Diego's Graduate School for International Relations and Pacific
Studies (IR/PS), and the meeting was hosted by IR/PS Dean Peter
Cowhey, a long-time academic participant in the UCSD division of
In the last two months, the University of Melbourne has constructed
a massive 96 million pixel “OptIPortal” visualization
wall – known affectionately as the ‘OzIPortal’ –
constructed from 24 x 30-inch LCD screens. For comparision, a standard
PC can show about 1-2 million pixels.
seen on Calit2's 4K display in San Diego, Australian
dignitaries in the OzIPortal lab in Melbourne included
Victorian Premier John Brumby (left front) and Australia's
Deputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard (middle).
Funding for the OptIPortal has been provided by the Victorian Government
($120,000) and the University of Melbourne ($500,000).
This ultra-resolution OptIPortal visualization wall – the largest
in Australia – enabled scientists, industry leaders and politicians
in Melbourne to demonstrate cutting-edge medical and environmental
research to participants in the AALD’s meeting at UC San Diego
using a novel interactive high-definition television stream over a
1000 megabit/sec (“gigabit/s”) super-broadband optical
Bringing the OptIPortal and gigabit/s super-broadband networking together
is the cutting-edge expertise of two of the world’s leading
telecommunications research units: the University of Melbourne School
of Engineering’s Centre for Ultra Broadband Information Networks
(CUBIN), and the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information
Technology (Calit2), a UCSD/UC Irvine partnership.
Bahadir Gul, Brian Dunne and Qian Liu (left to right)
troubleshoot the 1 Gigabit per second streams between
San Diego and Melbourne.
The link-up was made possible by
use of the high-capacity backbone of AARNet, Australia’s academic
and research network, with a connection to the U.S. West Coast using
SXTransPORT on the Southern Cross Cable Network to the Calit2 network
in San Diego via Pacific Wave and CENIC.
In Melbourne, Deputy Prime Minister Gillard
and Premier Brumby joined Victorian Opposition Leader Ted Baillieu,
Federal Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research
Senator Kim Carr, Federal Opposition Education spokesman Tony Smith
and Qantas Chairman, Leigh Clifford.
The cross-Pacific discussion included presentations demonstrating
the capacity of the OptIPortal by leading neuroscientist, Professor
Graeme Jackson, and water researcher, Professor John Langford, both
from the University of Melbourne. Participants in San Diego including
the Director of Calit2, Professor Larry Smarr, and the Vice-Chancellor
of the University of Melbourne, Professor Glyn Davis, were able to
quiz Professor Langford and Professor Jackson as if they were in the
founder Phil Scanlan (left) and Calit2 director
Larry Smarr co-hosted the trans-Pacific super-broadband
Amanda Johnston, an Executive Director at BigPond, co-moderated the
discussion in Melbourne with Phil Scanlan, founder of the Australian
American Leadership Dialogue, in San Diego.
Unique in Australia, the OptIPortal facility brings together two individual
concepts: ultra-resolution visualization walls and high-definition
video collaboration technologies, creating a powerful new tool enabling
collaborative research across great distances in real time with participants
visually exploring massive data sets.
Melbourne Vice-Chancellor Glyn Davis praises the ingenuity of staff
in the University’s School of Engineering, Calit2 and AARNet
which has made the Melbourne OptIPortal a reality. “They have
used the real time and high definition visualization of the OptIPortal
to build the Melbourne facility. This technology is a powerful communication
tool which will push new boundaries for higher education and research
of Melbourne neuroscience professor Graeme Jackson
displays his epilepsy research on the new OzIPortal.
Dean of Engineering at Melbourne, Professor Iven Mareels, says, “The
‘real-time’ nature of the technology means people on opposite
sides of the world can work together on projects in real time. For
instance, a surgeon in Australia could direct an emergency surgical
intervention by operating a robot in Antarctica; scientists in Australia
and Japan could share research tools such as the Synchrotron, or operate
an underwater robot exploring the Great Barrier Reef – all from
the comfort of an OptIPortal room.”
Calit2 Director Larry Smarr notes that today’s demonstration
marks the entry of Australia into the growing OptIPlanet Collaboratory,
enabling innovators around the world to work together on major data-intensive
scientific, medical, and environmental challlenges: “Based on
today’s success, we will connect other Australian universities with
universities in the United States and around the world using these
advanced technologies in 2008.”
from the Calit2 Visualization Laboratory, including
Kai-Uwe Doerr, So Yamaoka, Jason Kimball and Tom
Wypych, developed CGLX, the visualization framework
that is giving the OzIPortal (above, with University
of Melbourne Dean of Engineering Ivan Mareels and
molecular visualization) its wings. CGLX, an
R&D development framework for tiled display
systems, provides users with a distributed and synchronized
OpenGL context, and enables the transformation of
OpenGL-based applications into cluster-aware visualization
applications that can scale from individual laptops
to networked, massively tiled display environments
operating at hundreds of millions of pixels resolution
(or in the OzIPortal's case, 100 million pixels).
With CGLX, for many applications, cluster awareness
can be achieved after adding as few as three lines
The group of Professor Falko Kuester also developed
the CGLX-based applications that were demonstrated
on the Australian OzIPortal today, providing access
to tiled image viewing capabilities that make it
possible to freely migrate static images between
display tiles, play back or stream HD-quality video
or render full-resolution 3D computer models, concurrently.
a landmark event for Australia-U.S. research communities and represents
a quantum leap in broadband communications for Australia,” says
Chris Hancock, CEO of AARNet. “It means research teams in areas
such as medicine, astronomy, science and technology can now visualize
larger, more detailed, higher resolution images than ever before.
This technology opens up a world of opportunities for collaboration
across the Pacific and helps to ensure Australia’s place at
the forefront of global collaborative research.”
Leadership Dialogue founder Phil Scanlan says the key to Australia’s
ability to sustain high community performance is its capacity and
commitment to invest in education, science, technology, human capital
and related areas of human endeavor that deliver gold medal outcomes.
AALD Founder Phil Scanlan, Calit2 Director Larry
Smarr, University of Melbourne Vice Chancellor Glyn
Davis, and IR/PS Dean Peter Cowhey in the San
The University of Melbourne demonstration marks a major milestone
in Australia’s triumph over the ‘tyranny of distance’
– from its first overseas telecommunications link in 1872, first
overseas airmail in 1935 and passenger flight, 1935, to its first
overseas Internet connection at the University of Melbourne in 1989.
About the OptIPortal
With nearly 100 million pixels in view, compared to one or two million
pixels for a typical PC screen, the Melbourne OzIPortal’s
HIPerSpace tiled display provides amazing ultra-resolution visualisation.
It was built in collaboration with the OptIPortal
team, including experts at the UCSD and UCI campuses of Calit2,
at the San Diego Supercomputer Center, and at the Electronic Visualisation
Laboratory at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
This technology opens exciting news ways of performing research.
Researchers across the globe will be able to share unique instruments
– MRIs, synchrotrons, supercomputers, square km radio telescope
arrays – and collaborate to interpret, on the spot, complex
data which could range in origin from the artistic world, gaming
and cinematography to leading-edge advances in the characterization
of brain function and the human genome.
The current facility will be expanded in a straightforward and modular
way to include other collaborators at different sites in Victoria
and in other parts of Australia.
With the OptIPortal, scholars in different locations can appreciate
the fine details of a work of art, medical scientists can explore
a range of images of the brain from different scanning sources all
at one time, researchers can explore new materials constructed by
In a city such as Melbourne, planners can explore, all at once,
population density, ethnicity, crime patterns, water consumption,
socio-economic factors, and so on. Students in schools and universities
can ‘go on exchange’ with overseas institutions without
leaving their classroom. In medicine, it holds the promise of providing
access to high-quality, specialized expertise for health professionals
in regional Australia or even Antarctica.
The OptIPortal is connected over AARNet’s trans-Pacific fiber
optic network and uses high-definition video. AARNet has pioneered
the global use of high-definition television streams since 2004
and now adds in the capability of ultra-resolution visualization.
The resulting OptIPlanet Collaboratory means we can interact with
a remote location just as if it was ‘right here’.
OptIPortal definition: Combination of a high-definition
wall (comprised of 24x30 inch ultra HD monitors) powered by 13 Quadcore
PCs (which are equivalent to 52 standard desktop PCs)
The OptIPortal has 100 times more memory than the average desktop
PC (104 Gigabytes)
The OptIPortal is nearly 50 times higher resolution than the highest-resolution
HD TV commercially available.
The Internet connection (1 Gigabit per second) is about 250 times
faster than the standard broadband connection offered in metropolitan
The software that powers the OptIPortal is capable
of magnifying images to a large size and still keep full clarity,
for instance, a scan of the brain can be shown at to the cellular
level and maintain full clarity.
The 'secret sauce' that allows Melbourne's OziPortal
to be able to show the stunning images shown today is the Cluster-GL
for Heterogeneous Systems (CGLX) framework for freely scalable multi-tile
visualisation and synchronization.
Melbourne’s OzIPortal utilizes Calit2’s HIPerSpace technology
for freely scalable multi-tile
About the University of Melbourne
The University of Melbourne is Australia’s leading research
university, based on a number of indicators. The Times Higher Education
Supplement recognized Melbourne as Australia’s leading university
in technology teaching and research. The University - the gateway
for Australia’s first overseas internet connection in 1989
– is at the forefront of ICT research in Australia through
key research centres, CUBIN (Centre for Ultra Broadband Information
Networks) and NICTA (National ICT Australia).
AARNet Pty Ltd (APL) is the company that operates Australia's
Academic and Research Network (AARNet). It is a not-for-profit company
limited by shares. The shareholders are 38 Australian universities
and the CSIRO. AARNet provides high-capacity leading edge Internet
services for the tertiary education and research sector communities
and their research partners. AARNet serves more than one million
end users who access the network through local area networks at
member institutions. For further information, please visit: www.aarnet.edu.au.
Founded in 1992, the annual bipartisan Australian American
Leadership Dialogue alternates between Washington DC and a major
Australian capital city. In recent years, the Leadership Dialogue
has also accessed the best institutional infrastructure on the west
coast of the USA, in order to engage some of their best and brightest
about the next phase of nation building in both countries.
The California Institute for Telecommunications and Information
a partnership between UC San Diego and UC Irvine, houses over 1,000
researchers organized around more than 50 projects on the future
of telecommunications and information technology and how these technologies
will transform a range of applications important to the economy
and citizens' quality of life. www.calit2.net
About the OptIPlanet Collaboratory
Based on the “OptIPuter” research project (www.optiputer.net)
funded by the U.S. National Science Foundation for six years, 2008
will see the establishment of a persistent global collaboration
laboratory combining high definition and digital cinema video streams
with ultra-resolution visualisation facilities, termed the OptIPlanet
Collaboratory, connecting many centres for innovation around the