Skip to main content

Connecting During Inventory Helps SCinet Take Shape


While most SC23 teams remain in the conference planning stages, the SCinet, Steering Committee, and Executive Committee teams converged on the Desert Southwest for the annual SCinet inventory. Volunteers from academia, industry, and government worked for several days to verify the quantity and condition of all the materials and equipment required to build and operate the world’s fastest temporary network.

Dispatch from the Desert

Regina Hartman, of Juniper Networks has participated in SCinet for the past six years.

Hartman shares “This is my first year participating in the inventory portion of SCinet” Hartman explained. “We tested fiber and organized our testing tools in preparation for a successful SC23.”

As part of this year’s inventory, more than 100 network switches; 300 wireless access points (and tripods); thousands of power cords; miles of fiber optic cables, power equipment, and equipment racks; and all of the necessary related tools were sorted, documented, cleaned, and neatly placed in their respective crates. Now, they are ready to be shipped to Denver in October ahead of SC23. Brian Smith, of Cornelis Networks, is serving as co-team lead for the SCinet Logistics and Contributor Relations teams, and is responsible for inventory, staging, setup, and teardown. This year also marked Smith’s first SCinet inventory. Wesley DeWitt, the team co-chair also from Cornelis Networks, is working with Smith. 

“During the inventory-stage process, I make sure that everything is accounted for and in a proper working state,” DeWItt explained.

Assuring the equipment is operational is especially important as there is little  relief from the triple-digit heat at  Freeman’s Mojave Desert storage facility. Every year, some of SCinet’s 106 equipment crates get left behind in the storage warehouse because they may only be needed to support certain conference centers.

“We also determine what gets shipped and when,” DeWitt added. “This year, we got rid of a lot of deprecated hardware that we decided to donate and recycle.”

In addition, SCinet tries to reduce their carbon footprint by shipping only the essentials each year. For SC23, five semi trucks will be needed to deliver SCinet equipment to Denver. Notably, while reusing as much as possible, SCinet recycled four pallets of e-waste, consisting of items such as switches, fiber, and old computers. These items may no longer be cutting-edge equipment that can operate the world’s fastest temporary network, but local schools often appreciate receiving the equipment, which can provide an upgrade for their facilities. SCinet and the SC Conference have long made such donations, which has created an avenue for fellowship and further promotes high-performance computing.

The Heart of Network Planning

Inventory is not just an exercise of counting and cleaning, it is also where the heart of the network planning starts to take shape. SC23 SCinet Chair Hans Addleman, of Indiana University, decided to perform inventory in the winter months to better view the hardware needs and initiate the creative process for booth design with Regina Martin from Freeman. Martin has been part of the SC Conference exhibits and infrastructure since 2007. According to Addleman, as SCinet is becoming more and more complex, it is better to start the process earlier.

In addition, having many team leaders represented during the inventory process enabled conversations toward new ideas. By bringing SCinet, Steering, and Executive team members together, they were able to draft the Network Operations Center (NOC) layout, sort the wireless network diagrams, plan the fiber optic cable routing, determine power needs for the equipment, and most importantly document and share the location of all of the equipment. With this informed pre-planning, every item can be easily found by any member of SCinet via a simple spreadsheet search.

“Back together again, the SCinet team worked together to get the job done,” Hartman concluded.

A Global Collaboration

Learn more about SCinet technology and teams, collaborative opportunities, or how to get involved.

If you have questions about SCinet, or would like to volunteer or contribute, please contact the SCinet committee.

Stay Up to Date

Sign up to receive the SC newsletter in your inbox.

Information provided is treated in accordance with ACM & IEEE privacy policies.

Back To Top Button