Northern Illinois University

Northern Today

Paul Bauer
Paul Bauer


SuperComputing Conference participants
to watch NIU Jazz Lab Band via Internet2

November 16, 2009

by Mark McGowan

Music professor Rodrigo Villanueva and the NIU Jazz Lab Band are playing for two special audiences tonight.

One will fill the seats in the Boutell Memorial Concert Hall for the free 8 p.m. concert.

The other will sit 2,100 miles west of DeKalb at the 21st annual SuperComputing Conference (SC09) in Portland, Ore., where the NIU School of Music and Information Technology Services will transmit a 30-megabit-per-second stream of uncompressed audio and video through Internet2.

That strength is more than 30 times more powerful than the regular Webcast quality, providing superior audio and video and the shortest possible delay. (Tonight’s concert also is scheduled for normal Webcast.)

“We’re excited to be identified as the institution representing Internet2 at what is the most important gathering of supercomputing expertise in the world. This just reinforces our stature as a leader in the discipline,” said Paul Bauer, director of the NIU School of Music.

“The list of places that have done individual events using Internet2 and video technologies is a lot longer than the list of places that make regular use of the technology. We are clearly emerging as a leader in the United States.”

Recognized globally as the premier international conference on high performance computing, networking, storage and analysis, SC09 will feature the world’s most interesting and innovative scientific and technical applications of high performance computing.

“Internet2 has demonstrated at the SuperComputing Conference for 10 years now,” said Elaine Lauerman, Internet2 program manager for events, “and each year it is a challenge to come up with compelling demonstrations.”

Ann Doyle, manager of arts and humanities initiatives for Internet2, recommended NIU as the perfect source for a persuasive presentation.

“I like to call Ann ‘the arts and humanities evangelist’ for Internet2, and she describes NIU as a place that has gone from zero to 60 in very short order regarding Internet2 technologies,” Bauer said. “I’ve developed a good working relationship with Ann over the last three years through my attendance at arts and humanities Internet2 workshops, and she invited me most recently to present at the Internet2 membership meeting that took place Oct. 6 in San Antonio.”

NIU’s reputation is spurring other universities to contact DeKalb for assistance merging onto the Internet2 highway.

The University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill’s School of Music asked NIU to provide equipment specifications for its grant application to set up Internet2 capabilities. The school’s submission, which identified NIU as an “expert,” earned funding.

Eastern Illinois University is currently receiving NIU’s help to “get their video technology equipment working,” Bauer said. “We’ve done some testing, and we’re consulting with them to get them up to speed.”

For its part, NIU has made Webcasts of its concerts the norm rather than the exception. Many are captured with two cameras while four-camera setups are available to provide additional and unique angles for special occasions.

Members of the Jazz Lab Band realize that tonight is one of those occasions, Bauer said.

“They’re very excited about this,” Bauer said, “and very conscious that we’re going to be featured at a most important conference.”