At this year's SuperComputing (SC) conference, held in Salt Lake City, Caltech physicists pushed a staggering 339Gb/s of data between the conference, British Columbia's University of Victoria Computing Center and the University of Michigan. They also squeezed 187Gb/s out of a two-way connection between the same locations. These remarkable speeds both set new data transfer records.
339Gb/s works out to be about 42GB per second, while 187Gb/s is around 23GB per second. For comparison purposes, we were getting excited over 6.25Gb/s, or 781MB/s, back in 2004.
We can all agree when it comes to data, faster is better, but what use could anyone have for sending and receiving that much information? While overkill for Torrent and YouTube junkies, big science firms such as CERN can't get enough of it when transferring the insane amounts of data the Large Hadron Collider produces. It'll be a boon for students also, as project leader and Caltech professor Harvey Newman explains (via Phys.org):
"By sharing our methods and tools with scientists in many fields, we aim to further enable the next round of scientific discoveries, taking full advantage of 100-Gbps networks now, and higher-speed networks in the near future ... In particular, we hope that these developments will afford physicists and students throughout the world the opportunity to participate directly in the LHC's next round of discoveries as they emerge."