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Julie Wernert
IU Pervasive Technology Labs

Last modified: Thursday, October 10, 2002

Tsunami, the IU-developed file transfer protocol, helps break records for high-speed data transfer

Data transferred at twice the previous known record

Using a network file transfer protocol developed by researchers at Indiana University's Advanced Network Management Lab, physicists at TRIUMF, Canada's national laboratory for particle and nuclear physics, were able to transfer 4.7 gigabits of data between their laboratories in Vancouver, British Columbia, and CERN, the European organization for nuclear research in Geneva, Switzerland, in less than 60 seconds.

The data was transfered at speeds reaching 769 megabits per second. This is the equivalent of transferring a full compact disc in less than eight seconds or a full-length DVD movie in less than one minute.

This demonstration was in conjunction with iGrid 2002, the international conference on e-science and grid and virtual laboratory applications enabled by high-performance global networks, held Sept. 23-26 in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. iGrid 2002 was sponsored in part by IU.

The protocol, known as Tsunami, is designed to transfer very large data files over great distances. Tsunami has been optimized to perform exceptionally well on high-speed research and education networks, such as Internet2 and CANARIE, Canada's Internet2 counterpart, with less degradation in the rate of speed than other commonly used network file transfer protocols.

"Because of this technology developed in the ANML, researchers across the globe are able to better realize the investment made in our international networking infrastructure," said Steven S. Wallace, director and chief technologist in the ANML. "Tsunami is designed to fully utilize the capabilities of high performance global networks, tolerating levels of packet loss that disable other transfer protocols."

Tsunami was first used in May 2002, when the partners launching the Global Terabit Research Network (see transferred the equivalent in data of nearly 1,000 kilometers of shelved books -- roughly twice the number of books in the U.S. Library of Congress -- between Seattle, Wash., and Brussels, Belgium, in the same time it took to transmit the first transatlantic telegraph message in 1858. Back then, it took 17 hours and 40 minutes. During the GTRN test, the same message was transmitted 10 billion times, which roughly translates to the equivalent of a full-length DVD being transmitted every minute.

Tsunami is licensed under IU's Open Source Licensing Agreement. Those interested in obtaining a beta version of the Tsunami protocol should refer to the Advanced Network Management Labs Web site at

About Indiana University

Indiana University is one of the oldest state universities in the Midwest and one of the largest universities in the United States, with more than 110,000 students, faculty and staff on eight campuses. IU has a growing national and international reputation in the areas of information technology and advanced networking. IU was named by Time Magazine as 2001 College of the Year among research institutions. For more information, see


TRIUMF is a major Canadian facility devoted to fundamental research. It also has applied research programs in materials science, life sciences and medical therapy. TRIUMF is managed as a joint venture by a consortium of four universities (Alberta, British Columbia, Victoria and Simon Fraser) with six associate members. Through TRIUMF, Canada has earned an international reputation in sub-atomic physics, a field devoted to understanding the mysteries of matter. For more information, see