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11/16/2006
06:42 PM
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Purdue Researchers Pioneer Streaming Huge Internet Video

The video, nicknamed "HugeTube" could be the biggest uncompressed video stream ever over the Internet. It shows the cell structure of a bacterium.

Purdue University researchers are calling it "HugeTube"--possibly the largest uncompressed video streamed over the Internet.

The 2-minute, 10-gigabyte scientific animation of the cell structure of a bacterium was streamed at a rate of 7.5 Gbps, achieving a peak transfer rate of 8.4 Gbps. That's sufficient to send 12 DVD movies in the same period of time.

"At the moment, that amount of bandwidth is more than what you could get for your home," says Laura Arns, associate director of the Envision Center at Purdue, who notes that businesses and other institutions will likely be the first to benefit from her group's research. "But in the future, it could be a possibility [for consumers]."

A more likely near-term application might be real-time delivery of digital motion pictures to movie theaters, Arn suggests.

The 4096-by-3072 pixel video required a special display made up of 12 tiles, each powered by a PC with an Nvidia Quadro FX 4500G graphics card. But otherwise, the system relied on off-the-shelf equipment: six Apple Xserve RAIDs connected via six Apple FibreChannel cards to six dual Opteron servers with PCI-x buses, provided by Advanced Clustering Technologies. The total cost of the gear was less than $100,000.

The project demonstration took place at the SC06 Conference in Tampa, Fla., as part of the conference's High Performance Computing Bandwidth Challenge. The HPC Bandwidth Challenge aims to explore uses for a 10-gigabit network.

Other Purdue researchers involved in the project include Ryan Pedela, Michael Shuey, Preston Smith, Jenett Tillotson, Tom Hacker, and Dave Braun.

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