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Fact Sheet: IBM Technology at the 1998 U.S. Open


The information systems at the - 31 Aug 1998: U.S. Open tennis tournament require a complex infrastructure to communicate with commentators, athletes, fans and media at the USTA National Tennis Center, as well as the millions of fans around the world who want to access up-to-the-second information about all aspects of the tournament. This information must be transmitted to many different destinations, as soon as it is captured.

IBM, as official information technology and Internet supplier of the U.S. Open, provides the equipment and services to collect results and statistics from official scorekeepers and chair umpires and to distribute tournament data to commentators, scoreboards, electronic display boards, IBM Inquiry terminals throughout the grounds and fans worldwide via the official tournament Web site at http://www.usopen.org.

APPLICATIONS

Results & Scoring - Tracking the Statistics

IBM ThinkPads and mobile computers are used to provide real-time scores and statistics for fans and the media. With a simplified keystroke entry, on-court statisticians track and record detailed stats ranging from aces and double faults to judgmental stats such as unforced or forced errors. Then this information is transmitted to a network which distributes it to more than 100 on-site locations including scoreboards, the IBM Inquiry System, the IBM Match Update Center and the official Web site.

IBM Inquiry Systems

Match statistics are sent instantly to an on-site network of 61 touch-screen and mouse-driven IBM Inquiry Systems, which provide comprehensive U.S. Open information including match facts, player profiles, status of matches in progress, completed results, upcoming schedules and tournament-specific statistics, such as which player has the fastest serve to date. The IBM Inquiry terminals are located in broadcasters' booths and other public locations on the grounds of the USTA National Tennis Center.

Official U.S. Open Web site ( http://www.usopen.org)

During the tournament, IBM also houses its event Web site team at the National Tennis Center, along with all the necessary IBM equipment, network connectivity and expertise to update and manage the official U.S. Open Web site, bringing the event to the world.

With this site, tennis fans' PCs become their ultimate guide to the U.S. Open. Users see the same level of detailed stats and scores as the broadcasters see in the booth. The official tournament Web site complements the information available on television, enhancing the U.S. Open experience for fans, who can choose which matches to follow.

Cyber Court

Making its debut at the U.S. Open this year, the Cyber Court is an area of the Players Lounge outfitted with 8 IBM IntelliStations with flat panel displays. Athletes will be able to use e-mail, surf the Internet and read messages of good luck and congratulations that fans have sent via the Player Postcard feature of the official tournament Web site.

IBM Speed Serve System

The IBM Speed Serve System is used to track serves at all four Grand Slam tournaments and has been used at the U.S. Open since 1992. Serve speeds are measured by the Doppler Principle of Radar. This means that when waves of a known frequency are transmitted and subsequently reflected back, any variation in the frequency of the return wave can be attributed to the speed of the moving object. The entire process takes three seconds to record and display.

IBM Sports Info Line - (718) 393-3660

The IBM Sports Info Line, available 24 hours a day, will be operational from Sunday, August 30, after the official schedule is posted, through Sunday, September 13, the final day of play. Fans can call for automated, updated schedules, match results and player information throughout the tournament. The IBM Sports Info Line converts computerized scores into voice-automated information. Over 13,000 calls were logged during last year's U.S. Open.

IBM Match Update Center

A popular place for checking tournament information as well as a gathering spot on the grounds of the National Tennis Center, the IBM Match Update Center is a four-sided, 13'x13' display composed of miniature electronic scoreboards -- one for each of the 18 courts -- connected to the IBM scoring system.

TECHNOLOGY DETAILS

Hardware

IBM Personal Computers: A network of IBM personal computers provides administrative support to the USTA throughout the year. During the U.S. Open, a range of IBM desktop and notebook systems -- including ThinkPads, IBM PC 300s, IntelliStations and Aptivas -- attached to IBM PC server 325s manage data entry, the results and scoring systems and the Speed Serve system.

Servers: Three server complexes in Bethesda, MD, Schaumburg, IL, and Columbus, OH, serve worldwide Internet users' requests for information from the official Web site. These sites use primarily RS/6000 Scaleable POWERparallel Systems, known as "SPs" for short. The SP is a high performance, massively parallel processing, computer that links together RS/6000 processors to handle complex, data-intensive computing jobs.
IBM Printers: IBM laser printers serve all the printing needs of the Inquiry Systems including results bulletins, player biographies and match statistics.

Software

Using Lotus Notes and Lotus Domino, IBM is able to collaboratively develop Web content and automatically update Web pages as new results are recorded. The IBM Web team has also developed an innovative application for publishing content to the Web using Lotus Notes and Lotus Domino. This publishing tool enables non-technical editorial staff to use templates to create new content, which then is routed to the site producers to approve and post to the official Web site.

Powered by DB2 server software technology and fitted with IBM's Net.Commerce, the U.S. Open Shop section of the official tournament Web site allows fans around the world to securely purchase a variety of tournament souvenirs online.

IBM's eNetwork Dispatcher is a powerful Web site load balancing solution that enables multiple Web servers to perform as one to deliver advanced scalability, availability and reliability and is an ideal foundation for Java applications.

Services

IBM brings a range of consulting skills to the U.S. Open, including project management, software support, systems and applications design, reliability services, network support and Internet connectivity services.

IBM's Interactive Media Group provides overall Internet programming and graphic design services as well as scoring programming.

IBM SurfAid Analytics produces site utilization, content analysis and usage preference profiles that provide business intelligence for the site.

Networks

The Internet team uses IBM Ethernet Stackable Hubs for LAN connectivity. Multiprotocol Intelligent Hubs support the fiber-optic and copper connectivity requirements across the tournament grounds including Arthur Ashe Stadium, the Stadium 2 complex, all match courts, the Broadcasting Center and hospitality areas on-site.

The complete physical network is managed by IBM LAN Network Manager.

Storage

The official Web site uses Distributed File System (DFS) for storage of content, with ADSTAR Distributed Storage Manager (ADSM) as the backup method. Using DFS allows a single site to be visible from many serving nodes simultaneously. Replication between DFS servers allows the content to remain in sync for all visitors, so that they receive the same high-quality site regardless of the node from which the site is being served. The IBM Storage Systems Division supplies RAMAC Array storage units.

# # #

* IBM, ThinkPad, Net.Commerce, DB2, IntelliStation, RS/6000, SP, POWERparallel, PC 300, Aptiva, eNetwork Dispatcher, ADSTAR and RAMAC are trademarks or registered trademarks of International Business Machines Corporation.

** Lotus, Lotus Notes and Lotus Domino are registered trademarks of Lotus Development Corporation.

** Java is a registered trademark of Sun Microsystems, Inc. in the U.S. and other countries.

Contact(s) information

Lisa Herden
IBM
Office: 914-288-3742
lherden@us.ibm.com

Joyce Lagas
IBM
Office: 914-288-3739
jlagas@us.ibm.com

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