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SCinet History

Since its inception at the SC Conference in Albuquerque, New Mexico in 1991, SCinet has grown to be one of the world’s fastest temporary networks. Providing exhibitor and research booths with 10 Mbps local area network connections and 245 Mbps of wide area network (WAN) connectivity seemed lightning fast at the time. As researchers’ needs for faster connections increased, and the technologies supporting their research have advanced, so too has SCinet’s ability to provide once unimaginable speeds.

REsearch at the speed of scinet

SCinet Chair
Hans Addleman, Indiana University

SCinet Vice Chair
Nathaniel Mendoza, Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC)

SCinet has become more than a research network. It provides wired and wireless network connectivity to all conference attendees while in the convention center. The Edge Network and Wireless Network teams of volunteers achieve this by installing hundreds of network switches and wireless access points throughout the host city’s convention center in the weeks leading up to the SC Conference. Thousands of attendees and presenters expect and depend on SCinet to provide a reliable, high speed, open wireless and wired network.

Most importantly, SCinet is about the dedication and expertise of the volunteers that come together each year to support the network. SCinet started in 1991 as a team of approximately 10 people and has since grown to nearly 200 volunteers from more than 80 organizations across industry, academia, and government. Their efforts are made possible with support from their home institutions, as well as through the generous contributions from committed contributors who donate software, equipment, and services to SCinet valued in the tens of millions.

SCinet History Timeline

The first ACM/IEEE Conference on Supercomputing was organized in 1988. Since 1991, SCinet has played an integral role in the SC legacy.

Much of the information in this timeline was sourced from a paper published by SCinet volunteer Linda Winkler. Winkler, L. (2015):

SCinet: 25 Years of Extreme Networking (340KB PDF)

SC23: Denver, Colorado

More than 206 volunteers hailing from 9 countries, 31 states, and 113 institutions descended into Denver, Colorado to deploy and operate the SCinet network. The conference set a new attendance record of over 14,000 attendees.

The SCinet teams installed 12.65 miles of fiber, 421 access points, and served a WAN capacity of 6.71Tbps, with the majority of the bandwidth comprising 16 400Gbps connections.

The network weighed approximately 9000 lbs and consumed up to 33kWH with total consumption between November 8–16 measured at 5599kWH total.

SCinet made a big push to promote IPv6 adoption by demonstrating the use of DHCP Option 108 as a transition technique to operate a true IPv6 only network.

SC22: Dallas, Texas

More than 175 volunteers representing 80 companies and organizations planned, built, and operated SCinet, delivering services to 11,830 attendees. The teams installed 37 miles of fiber optic cable at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center Dallas, and wide area network capacity was 5.01 Tbps. For the first time, WiFi 6E was delivered throughout the convention center.


SC21: St. Louis, Missouri

More than 165 volunteers representing 87 companies and organizations planned, built, and operated SCinet. It delivered 2.2 Tbps of wide area network capacity, 325 wireless access points, 6 miles of floor spool, and 10 miles of aerial strand.


SC20: Virtual Event

Due to the virtual nature of SC20, the SCinet infrastructure was not built at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta, Georgia.

30 Years of SCinet

SCinet celebrates its 30th year during SC20. Look for SCinet to come back bigger and faster than ever before at SC21 in St. Louis.


SC19: Denver, Colorado

The 29th SCinet network has broken all previous records for donations for service, equipment and software contributions. Without this donation valued at over $80 million, we would not be able to provide the power and bandwidth required to support the demonstrations and experiments that make SCinet the world class research platform it is.

The network delivers 4.22 Tbps of wide-area capacity.


SC18: Dallas, Texas

The 28th SCinet network is planned and built from the ground up by an international team of volunteers in preparation for SC18.

The network delivers 4.12 Tbps of wide-area capacity.

SC17: Denver, Colorado

Industry partners contribute a record $66 million in state-of-the-art hardware, software, and services to build SCinet’s infrastructure at SC. To deliver SCinet, volunteers install 100 kilometers (more than 60 miles) of fiber in the SC exhibits hall.

SCinet delivers a record 3.63 Tbps of wide-area capacity.

SC16: Salt Lake City, Utah

SC exhibitors with 100 Gbps booth connections set a new record during SCinet’s annual network stress test by moving 1.2 Tbps of traffic across the exhibit hall at SC16.

SC15: Austin, Texas

SCinet pilot tests software-defined networking (SDN) to manage network connections for exhibitors. The network also implements a firewall to perform analytics at 400 Gbps.

The inaugural year of the Women in IT Networking at SC (WINS) program, funded by the National Science Foundation and the Department of Energy. Five IT professionals receive hands-on apprenticeships and professional networking opportunities through SCinet’s participation in WINS.

SC14: New Orleans, Louisiana

The first trans-Pacific 100 Gbps circuit, from Seattle to Singapore, is made available at SC, along with the upgraded 200 Gbps trans-Atlantic circuit. SCinet reaches a new milestone of 1.2 Tbps total WAN capacity.

SCinet introduces a workshop for researchers and engineers to share networking advances for scientific discovery: Innovating the Network for Data-Intensive Science.

SC13: Denver, Colorado

SCinet upgrades to a 400 Gbps metro area superchannel to transport more bandwidth over long distances. The first trans-Atlantic 100 Gbps circuit, the Advanced North Atlantic 100G Pilot Project (ANA-100G), is made available at SC. The circuit connects New York City to Amsterdam.

The first SCinet Network Research Exhibition showcases innovations in emerging network hardware, protocols, and advanced network-intensive scientific applications.

SC10: New Orleans, Louisiana

SCinet reaches a new milestone as it supports 100 Gbps LAN and WAN at SC. The network also includes a 200 Gbps WAN superchannel, enabling higher data-rate transmission over long-haul networks.

SC09: Portland, Oregon

SCinet conducts early experiments with OpenFlow controllers. ESnet premiers the OSCARS system, which dynamically provisions lightpaths across the ESnet backbone to support SC demonstrations.

SC06: Tampa, Florida

SC exhibitors associated with R&E networks in Japan establish a remote network operations center to provide the network resources and tuning required to support demonstrations from Pacific Rim research sites.

SC05: Seattle, Washington

SCinet demonstrates the first wide-area InfiniBand connection for high throughput and low latency over longer distances.

SC04: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

The first 10 Gbps wide-area ethernet network circuit connects the SC exhibit hall to wide-area research networks around the world.

SCinet creates infrastructure to support the SC Storcloud Challenge, which solicit ideas that accelerate the evolution of high-performance storage for HPC’s vast databanks.

Software-defined networking (SDN) makes an early appearance in SCinet with Dynamic Resource Allocation via Generalized Multiprotocol Label Switching.

SCinet establishes the first Layer 2 WAN circuits, to enhance the flexibility of network services. It also delivers the first 40 Gbps metro-area circuit between the Pittsburgh Supercomputer Center and the exhibit hall.

SC02: Baltimore, Maryland

SCinet WiFi is made widely available throughout the convention center. The network also offers 10 Gbps ethernet LAN connectivity to SC exhibitors.

SCinet interconnects with the recently established Global Lambda Integrated Facility (GLIF) infrastructure, removing barriers for international collaboration and enabling SC exhibitors to conduct demonstrations on a global scale.

SC01: Denver, Colorado

SC Global is established using Access Grid technologies to enable remote participation in and contribution to the conference on an international scale.

SCinet delivers DWDM production services for the SC Conference.

SC2000: Dallas, Texas

SCinet’s Xnet team first demonstrates pre-production 10 Gbps ethernet.

SCinet initiates the first SC Network Bandwidth Challenge, soliciting proposals for demonstrations that illuminate the potential for scientific discovery when bandwidth is not an obstacle.

SC99: Portland, Oregon

For the first time, SCinet offers WiFi in the SC exhibit hall.

SCinet’s network capacity is considered sufficiently time-tested to allow exhibitors to leave their hardware at home and rely on the SCinet WAN to deliver remote access to their systems.

SCinet establishes an experimental networks (Xnet) component to highlight visionary pre-production technologies, many of which eventually become standard SCinet service offerings.

SC98: Orlando, Flo

SCinet supports 1 Gbps ethernet LAN for SC’s 10th anniversary, as the conference returned to its first location.

SC97: San Jose, California

“Networking” is added to the official title of the SC conference, which becomes the International Conference for High Performance Computing, Networking, Storage and Analysis.

SCinet first demonstrates dense-wavelength-division multiplexing (DWDM) in collaboration with the National Transparent Optical Network, which allowed SCinet to deliver multiple networks over a single fiber pair to the convention center.

SC95: San Diego, California

SCinet reaches a milestone as it supports 100 Mbps ethernet. The network also participates in the Information Wide Area Year, an experimental, inter-carrier environment created for SC to connect 11 wide-area ATM testbeds and agency networks, 17 supercomputer centers, five virtual reality research sites, and over 60 applications groups.

SC91: Albuquerque, New Mexico

SCinet becomes a critical component of the conference infrastructure. The first version of the network supports 10 Mbps local-area connections and 245 Mbps wide-area capacity. It also demonstrates the first multi-vendor 1 Gbps connection over the high-performance parallel interface (HPPI), which interconnected 12 supercomputers over a 20-mile distance. To deliver SCinet, volunteers install 3000 meters of fiber in the SC exhibits hall.

SCinet demonstrates one of the first uses of wide-area networks to support a high-speed, TCP/IP-based distributed application, which provided real-time remote data visualization of a high-resolution MRI scan of a human brain.

SC88: Orlando, Florida

First ACM/IEEE Conference on Supercomputing

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