Purdue University collaborates with Apple Computer to stream massive Internet video

“Researchers at Purdue University’s Envision Center for Data Perceptualization have transmitted what may be the largest movie ever streamed over the Internet,” HPC wire reports. “The two-minute animated video, which was a scientific visualization of a cell structure from a bacterium, was streamed at a rate of 7.5 gigabits per second with a peak transfer rate of 8.4 gigabits per second. At that speed, the researchers could have transmitted approximately 12 movie DVDs in the same two minutes.”

HPC wire reports, “Laura Arns, associate director and research scientist at the Envision Center, said the speedy transfer demonstrated a cost-effective method for providing access to scientific visualizations. ‘The video was not compressed and it wasn’t done using expensive, highly specialized equipment,’ she said. ‘The equipment could have been purchased off the shelf for less than $100,000.'”

“Arns said the technique could allow researchers to collaborate in real time on projects such as drug discovery or viewing massive images from the Hubble telescope. She said there also could be future applications for the entertainment industry,” HPC wire reports.

“The video measured 4096 pixels by 3072 pixels [in 24-bit color, 30 frames per second], which is the equivalent of 12 17-inch computer monitors arranged in a grid three monitors high and four monitors wide. The video was displayed on Purdue Envision Center’s large tiled display,” HPC wire reports.

HPC wire reports, “The project was a demonstration at the SC06 conference in Tampa, Florida, and the data was transmitted over the high-speed National LambdaRail research network as part of the conference’s High Performance Computing Bandwidth Challenge. The HPC Bandwidth Challenge is a competition among advanced computing institutions to fully use a 10-gigabit network from the SC06 conference in Tampa back to their home institution to demonstrate the capabilities of current high-speed research networks. In the challenge, the two-minute video was played in a loop so that it ran for 20 minutes.”

HPC wire reports, “Purdue’s project was done in collaboration with Apple Computer, Advanced Clustering Technologies Inc., and useours.com. Apple provided six Xserve Raid storage devices and Advanced Clustering Technologies provided six rack-mounted server machines. Dwight McKay, director of systems engineering for Information Technology at Purdue, says the video could be stopped, replayed and zoomed in real time. ‘It’s like a digital video recorder, or DVR, in how it works,’ he said.”

Full article here.

Purdue University’s Envision Center & Rosen Center for Advanced Computing: http://www.envision.purdue.edu/4kstream/


  1. Excellent. Maybe next year Mac users will be able to “rent” films on line. In other news from the halls of higher education, scientific evidence proves that liberals are only <a ref=”http://www.beliefnet.com/story/204/story_20419_1.html”>generous with other people’s money.</a>

  2. Love the short sighted comments…

    This was a proof of concept contest… not meant for every idot who has the money to buy a pc….

    This type of research help develope what the ignorant masses now accept as common, ie the internet.

    Fifteen years ago I ran an image lab at a magor university where one system cost over $100,000. Today that processing power now cost less then $2000. Those type of systems led to the developement of your common video cards today which have more processing ability then the cpus of that time so many years ago.

    Can’t wait to see what we will be using every day thanks to this reseach in fifteen years.

  3. Hey, folks, this is a VERY big deal. I work in the computer science field, and streaming capacity is a huge bottleneck right now. The ability to stream at this rate and for only $100k is really huge.

    You have to consider how this will be affecting you in about 5 years…. Just remember back to this article when you’re streaming HD content to your TV in 2011 ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”wink” style=”border:0;” />

  4. Lord Awaran,

    You hit it on the head about what this means in the long run.

    Although, to be honest, the first things that popped into my head (when I read about the price) were very similar to what others posted. Not because because of being short-sighted, but as a humorous response.

    The second thing that popped into my head was that I’ld bet my last dollar that (due to its potential) MS is crapping bricks about this.

  5. Was I the only one to notice that Apple did NOT provide the computers, the OS, or the application software for this effort? The computers were provided by Advanced Clustering Technologies Inc. –
    We specialize in high performance computing Beowulf clusters and Linux based servers and workstations.”

    COULD Apple have provided the servers for this? We know they could. And quite possibly for a like price. Then, of course, there’s the problem of the server software that stuffed that content down the pipe. That may not have been compiled for OSX.

  6. Zeke, you are right that OSX IS a flavor of Unix, you are wrong about Linux.

    Linux was written from the ground up to be similar to Unix. An admin from one would be a quick study for the other and find most of the basic commands identical, but there are important differences in the code that makes those commands work. Like saying a Pontiac is a flavor of Chevy, and so’s a Ford. The first is close to true, the latter only looks true on the surface (to we who prefer reliable “rice burners” that actually respond to movement of the steering wheel).

    DLMeyer – the Voice of G.L.Horton’s Stage Page

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