A white paper outlining a reasonable architecture for the Computing and Networking Infrastructure at South Pole was written by former ASA employee Marty Lyons. Marty requested input from those science groups present at SP during mid-december 1991, and the resulting paper reflects those recommendations.

At the science meeting hosted by Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab last month, it was decided to send a copy of this report to all science users of the South Pole Station. Please send (preferably email) all comments to me by May 15 and I will include them in a final copy to be sent to NSF as a recommendation from the science community.

Bob Loewenstein Dir. Computing & Communications Center for Astrophysical Research in Antarctica Yerkes Observatory Williams Bay, Wisconsin 53191

Networking ---------- The South Pole net needs to be segmented both for reasons of fault isolation as well as future expansion. The network infrastructure buildout will lay the foundation for the next several years of adding additional computing resources and services.

Jane Ozga had spoken to Synoptics and cisco, and received information from them on a Synoptics hub which supported slide in cisco router cards, as well as a Farallon card to drive a Appletalk network. That chassis would form the foundation for the new South Pole network.

What we would like to see would be:

Most places within the dome can utilize existing phone circuits to build a Macintosh Localtalk network as required. Remote sites where we will be installing fiber should utilize that as the primary media for as many types of communications as possible (data, voice, video, etc.)

The computer center, located within the dome, will be the termination point for all individual network segments. What we would like to see in the computer center rack would be another Synoptics hub with:

Hardware -------- Beginning with a informal survey I took at the Washington, D.C. pre-deployment conference, the wishes of the science community directed this design towards a more distributed computing environment. It is clear, especially here at Pole, that the needs of the science community are not being served by the centralized model of computing. Rather, teams are coming from university and research environments which make available, and stress, a hierarchal model of computing, which yields a much greater amount of flexibility to the end user.

The expansion of the Pole computing environment should progress in two distinct, albeit complementary directions. First, the expansion of the network to include distributed computing platforms, and second, the expansion of the existing VAX/PC environments to handle the increased loads of the expanding network.

In terms of distributed systems, science has made it clear that the systems which are predominant in their home institutions are Unix workstations and Macintoshes. In particular, Sun workstations, high end Macs and PC's.

Towards this end, I believe South Pole should procure the following hardware to give us a broader and more powerful computing base:

Software -------- Much of the software to enable South Pole to take advantage of the power of distributed computing is available free of charge over the Internet. In particular, things like CAP (Columbia Appleshare Protocol) allows the sharing of Unix and Macintosh resources, such as disk drives and printers; NCSA Telnet for both PCs and Macintoshes provides TCP/IP Telnet and FTP support for those platforms; the X Window System gives a TCP based windowing platform to many different machines; and so on.

Software which should be purchased includes:

Satellite Communications ------------------------ The subject keeps coming up, and it will get to be a pain for everyone very soon unless we get more bandwidth. Already the CARA group is talking about a requirement of moving 200-600 Megabytes a day of data back to the states. Even without the CARA load, overall needs of science continue to grow, the amount of email traffic is increasing, and we are making life difficult all around by not having a high speed satellite link. A minimum of a 9.6kb/sec link, and equipment to drive the link as a synchronous channel so Pole could be on the Internet during satellite visibility, should be a minimum requirement. The level of service we could provide to our customer base here at Pole can increase exponentially merely be being able to connect to the Internet, even if just for a few hours a day. (GOES2 -56kb for 2 hours) ------------------------//----------------------------------