Amazon Cloud for Ocean Observatories

Posted by Sam Churchill on

A national network of ocean observatories (final network design pdf and animation) begins streaming environmental sensor data in March 2012 and researchers world-wide will be able to use the data stored and processed using computing clouds operated by Amazon Web Services.

Brian Atwater (right) collected evidence of an upcoming giant quake. Oregon State professor Chris Goldfinger forecasts a 37 percent chance of a major earthquake in the next 50 years, tearing up highways and collapsing bridges. Subduction zone earthquakes, with a magnitude 9.0 or above, have happened many times before – but not since 1700. It’s due anytime. Ocean Observatories will keep an eye on the subduction zone and the nearby spreading center, home to active underwater volcanoes.

CENIC and Pacific NorthWest GigaPoP (PNWGP) today announced two 10 Gigabit per second (Gbps) connections to Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) and Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) for the use of CENIC’s members in California, as well as PNWGP’s multistate K-20 research and education community.

CENIC owns, operates, and manages the ultra-high-performance California Research & Education Network (CalREN), an Internet-based network comprising nearly 3,000 miles of fiber-optic cable that stretches throughout California and the state’s entire K-20 public education system.

The 10 Gbps connections enable out-of-the-box, server-based computation from any computer on the CalREN network in California.

California is not the only state that will benefit, however. Nearly all of the major research institutions and many other schools and colleges in Washington, Alaska, Hawaii, Montana, Idaho and Hawaii, will automatically get direct high-performance access through the Pacific NorthWest GigaPoP.

Among the first users to benefit from access to Amazon Web Services will be researchers participating in the National Science Foundation-funded Ocean Observatories Initiative (OOI), originally conceived by UW professor John Delany. Underwater sensors, powered by 10 KiloVolt cables carrying 10 Gbps data from a Shore Station on the coast of Oregon, will form an undersea network stretching from Canada to California.

The above chart, from the Regional Scale Nodes Ocean Observatory Program, shows the latest configuration. The Cascadia Subduction zone has regularly generated 9+ earthquakes with associated tsunamis. The Axial Seamount, an active undersea volcano 300 mi west of Cannon Beach will have dedicated 10GigE fiber running to a Shore Station, then to the Pittock Building in Portland, Oregon, and on to the Ops Center at the U/Washington.

“We always envisioned cloud computing as a key component of our implementation strategy,” said John Orcutt, OOI CI Principal Investigator and a professor of geophysics at UCSD’s Scripps Institution of Oceanography. “At our core we are a sensor network, and with streaming data from sensors, we need both continual and periodic computation, including elasticity to deal with a highly variable demand.”

The University of California, San Diego is building the information technology and telecommunications infrastructure that will bring ocean and atmospheric sensor data from the observatories and make them available to environmental researchers around the country and throughout the world.

Tom DeFanti leads Calit2’s five-year collaboration to develop 3D, high-resolution displays, as well as teleconferencing, networking, computation, and storage. “21st century discovery will be driven by the automated analysis of massive amounts of sensor data captured from the world around us,” said Ed Lazowska, the Bill & Melinda Gates Chair in Computer Science & Engineering and Director of the eScience Institute at UW.

Both UW and UC San Diego are involved in the $400 million Ocean Observatories Initiative, and its Cyberinfrastructure group – led by Scripps Institution of Oceanography and based in the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology (Calit2).

The OOI will monitor and forecast environmental changes in the oceans on global, regional and coastal scales.

The SATURN Collaboratory monitors the Columbia River in real-time. The Monterey Bay Accelerated Research System , known as MARS, is the testbed for many scientific instruments. Neptune Canada is now operational. It’s all about collaboration, with data transmitted to an innovative data archival system at the University of Victoria via fibre.

Cloud computing is expected to lower costs and enhancing access to these “co-laboratories”. Scientists are expected to share data, rather than hoard it.

The NeMO Net system used acoustic modems to relay data at 600 baud from seafloor instruments to a buoy at the surface, which in turn sent data to NOAA’s Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory via Iridium satellite link.

The cabled system will boost speeds about a million times, using 10GigE. Scientists will then be able to share data with their colleagues around the world via OOI’s networked cyberinfrastructure.

Scientists will be able to extrapolate from data gathered by an array of more than 50 diverse sensor types and other scientific instruments that will communicate through permanently installed seafloor cables and satellite links.

Amazon’s Simple Storage Service (S3) provides a simple web interface to store and retrieve any amount of data, at any time, from anywhere on the web. Like Amazon S3, Amazon’s Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) is a web service. It provides resizable compute capacity in the cloud with a simple web service interface that allows a researcher to obtain and configure the massive compute resources.

Amazon Web Services is offering Cluster Compute Instances specifically for the needs of HPC users. Amazon’s Cluster Compute Instances consist of a pair of quad-core Intel Nehalem X5570 processors. They look much like Amazon’s Elastic Compute Cloud on the interface but have been specifically engineered to pack more CPU punch. Amazon has benchmarked its new cluster service at spot 146 on the top500 list.

Research vessels like the R/V Atlantis use Inmarsat with a Nera Saturn B terminal for slow speed voice and data. But cost per megabyte is expensive on Inmarsat’s BGAN so oceanographers have developed HiSeasNet, which uses gyro stabilized dishes pointed at commercial satellites for lower costs.

CSnet was formed in 2008 and addresses the growing need for complex offshore communication networks. Maritime Communication Services, a wholly owned subsidiary of Harris Corporation, provides worldwide VSAT service.

Harris manages OceanNet, a world wide system of deep, shallow and coastal buoys equipped with VSAT terminals.

A realtime Oil Spill Map might be enabled by the R/V Endeavor, a NSF ship using Ethernet on Sea Cable with two key instruments: a Lowered Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler, which will record information on strength and direction of currents; and Rich Camilli’s undersea mass spectrometer (from WHOI), which will detect chemicals from the oil spill. “This system is the only way to get real-time data on the plumes,” said WHOI engineer Marshall Swartz.

Automated Identification Systems (AIS) reports a vessel’s name, position, speed and heading. AISSat-1 was launched on July 12th, has begun transmitting AIS messages from space to earth via Kongsberg Satellite Services.

Hopefully, the Ocean Observatories CyberInfrastructure and access policies won’t become a SAIC party, managed for vested interests. Some 200 miles off-shore, in international waters, a corporation or government has near total freedom to lay submarine cables, mine, or conduct scientific research.

Cadmium telluride photovoltaics, for example, made by companies like First Solar and Solexant require hard to find tellurium, available in undersea ridges.

Extremophiles are a particular interest to astrobiologists like John Barros but commercial/industrial synthetic enzymes make real money.

Nobel Prize winner Kary Mullis founded a business with the intent to sell pieces of jewelry containing the amplified DNA of deceased famous people like Elvis Presley and Marilyn Monroe, made possible by Thermus Aquaticus.

The Russian Kilo Class submarine first entered service in the early 1980s. It was designed by the Rubin Central Maritime Design Bureau, St Petersburg. Rubin developed the air-independent propulsion (AIP) system which allows a submarine to operate without the need to surface or use a snorkel for the diesel engine.

Related Dailywireless articles include; Ocean Observatory Gets Funded, Ocean Observatories: The Ultimate Splash Page, The 100 Gbps Backbone, 66 Broadband Grants Awarded, Mobile Supercomputing Access, Plug and Play Environmental Sensor Nets, Tracking Tour de France , Microsoft’s WhiteFi: Wi-Fi Using Whitespaces, Mobile Supercomputing, The Platform, Google Ocean Unveiled, Wireless River Monitoring, Shipboard AIS Gets a Satellite Swarm, Emergency Mapping, Cascadia Peril ‘09, Swine Flu Gets Social, Tracking Soldiers, Mapping Relief, Wildfire, MIT’s CarTel, Volcano Sensor Net, Alaskan Volcano Monitored, California Wildfires Networked, Fish Net, Wireless River Monitoring, Underwater MIMO, Remote Ocean Viewer, Earth Day, HiSeasNet Goes Live, AT&T: More Transpacific Cable, Google + SingTel = Unity Submarine Fiber, Verizon Fiber Crosses the Pond, Ring of Fire Earthquakes, Visualizing the Future, The Semantic Web, Oceanographic Dead Zone, Earth Simulator, Subducting The Zone, Wireless Recon Airplanes, Mt St Helens Erupts, On Mt. Saint Helens and Global Tsunami Warning System Announced.

Posted by Sam Churchill on Thursday, July 15th, 2010 at 8:05 am .

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