University brings ancient cities “back to life”

August 27, 2001

The digital preservation project will collect data using state-of-the-art digital techniques to archive and develop virtual reality replicas of the sites as they exist today. Also, scalable multimedia applications will recreate the history, sights and sounds of the locations as they were in ancient times.

Using the Internet or the faster Internet2 or Next Generation Internet communications technology will enable scientists, students and anyone interested in early cultures to “walk” through the digital recreations. Visitors will be engaged in seeing, hearing and experiencing firsthand how people lived thousands of years ago.

The project is one of several using IBM High Performance Storage System (HPSS) technology deployed over a wide area network to compile, access and transmit vast amounts of data among researchers hundreds of times faster. HPSS is a service offering of IBM Global Services. Indiana University will use HPSS in research projects in biochemistry, engineering, and radiology.

Researchers will be able to collaborate from across the street or cross-continent — and create virtual digital libraries with almost instant access to scientific data, experimental findings, books or illustrations. In much the same way as the world’s fastest supercomputers process data in parallel, to perform hundreds of billions of calculations a second, the HPSS file storage system at Indiana is a data superhighway that retrieves information simultaneously in parallel over a wide area network.

Transfer rates for the huge files can be as high as gigabytes a second. With HPSS, files that normally might take hours to transfer can be downloaded in mere minutes. At Indiana, the HPSS system will foster greater collaboration between researchers, faculty and students at the Bloomington and Indianapolis campuses with instant access up to the 200-terabyte capacity. The school’s system is capable of storing twice the amount of data held by the U.S. Library of Congress.