Telesim Project: Pushing the Frontiers of Communication Network Research

The Telesim project is a collaborative research project aimed at the modeling, simulation and analysis of advanced communication networks. Dr Brian Unger and Dr Rob Simmonds of the University of Calgary lead the development of high performance tools to study complex networking scenarios. This work includes the design of algorithms and implementation techniques for fast parallel simulation engines as well as parallel ATM network and IP network simulators. Simmonds and Unger are also innovators in the area of network emulation, which allows applications to interact with each other over virtual networks in real time.

Internet technology is becoming ever more pervasive and it is difficult to predict the demands that will be placed on broadband communication networks in the future. Simulation is one of the few tools available to study the impact of new protocols, applications and usage trends. Unger and Simmonds have been major contributors to this area and, in particular, they are world leaders in the development of algorithms for the parallel execution of low granularity systems such as Internet simulators.  To perform research in this area it is crucial to have access to current high performance technical computing equipment such as that provided by MACI.

While simulation is the ideal tool for studying many systems, some Internet applications are difficult to model in a simulator.  In particular, it is difficult to capture the dynamics of interactive use.  To respond to this challenge, TeleSim has pioneered the area of parallel network emulation, providing a new kind of tool for testing distributed applications under controlled conditions.  Network emulation fuses real and virtual networks, permitting real applications to interact in the controlled environment provided by a simulator.  In the future, network emulation has the potential to become a standard tool for developing Internet applications.

The Telesim research group credits much of their success to the MACI high performance computer resources available to support their work.  Unger and Simmonds state that the ability to obtain exclusive access to the four-processor SMP computers at the University of Calgary is invaluable for the development and testing of their parallel systems.  The Telesim group also has access to larger computers in Edmonton enabling the testing of scalability properties of systems.

Continued access to state of the art equipment will be central to the future success of this research.  Computational infrastructure like MACI plays an integral part in maintaining network communication advances of this caliber.

Selected Publications

R. Bradford, R. Simmonds & B. Unger. Packet reading for Network Emulation, submitted to MASCOTS 2001.

C. Kiddle, R. Simmonds, D. Wilson & B. Unger. ANML: A Language for Describing Networks, submitted to MASCOTS 2001.

F. Gomes, B. Unger, R. Simmonds & J.C. Cleary. Memory Resident State Logging and Restoration, submitted to the ACM Transactions on Computer Systems, 2001.

B. Unger, Z. Xiao, J. Cleary, J. Tsai & C. Williamson, Parallel Shared-Memory Simulator Performance for Large ATM Network Scenarios, in press, ACM TOMACS, 2000.

G. Lu, R. Simmonds, Z. Xiao, B. Unger and C. Williamson. The Performance of TCP over ATM on Lossy ADSL Networks, LCN 2000, Tampa, November 2000.

R. Bradford, R. Simmonds and B. Unger. A Parallel Discrete Event IP Network Emulator, Proc. of the 8th International Symposium on Modeling, Analysis and Simulation of Computer and Telecom Systems (MASCOTS), San Francisco, August 2000.

J. Doerksen, R. Simmonds and B. Unger. Modeling Resource Usage in Healthcare Systems, SCS Multiconference, San Diego, January 2000.