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CERN Launches Huge LHC Computing Grid

Soulskill posted more than 5 years ago | from the just-waiting-on-the-actual-LHC-now dept.

Supercomputing 46

RaaVi writes "Yesterday CERN launched the largest computing grid in the world, which is destined to analyze the data coming from the world's biggest particle accelerator, the Large Hadron Collider. The computing grid consists of more than 140 computer centers from around the world working together to handle the expected 10-15 petabytes of data the LHC will generate each year." The Worldwide LHC Computing Grid will initially handle data for up to 7,000 scientists around the world. Though the LHC itself is down for some lengthy repairs, an event called GridFest was held yesterday to commemorate the occasion. The LCG will run alongside the LHC@Home volunteer project.

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46 comments

the end (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25256043)

the end is near!!! 2012 is just around the corner. you will all die ahhahahhahahah

Re:the end (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25256111)

the end is near!!! 2012 is just around the corner. you will all die ahhahahhahahah

And you wont?

Why so much? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25256097)

Ehhhh... why so much data. Only thing I ever see from particle accelerators are these impact images. I'm for sure that can't be all but whats more??

Re:Why so much? (4, Insightful)

gardyloo (512791) | more than 5 years ago | (#25256139)

You only see the impact images where something pretty or exciting happened. For each of those, there are several thousands to several billions of ones where nothing happened. Additionally, there are a lot of quantities to be measured which don't show up on pictures of particles doing curlicues in magnetic fields, such as spectroscopy data (at least several megabytes from each of several hundreds of detectors per collision).

Re:Why so much? (4, Informative)

imsabbel (611519) | more than 5 years ago | (#25256235)

To you mean those particle trails with "impact image"?
Just think about the resolution of those trails.
Add the 3rd dimension.
And then consider that to build this trail, they need the data of ALL sonsors in the volume, to pick out what belongs to the trail.

And then think about his happening 10 million times per second...

They filter out all but a couple 1000 of them, but this still amounts to a lot of data.

And the higgs boson just doesnt appeast in one single image. It might show up in certain types of cascades, or anomalities in other processes, that only become obvious if a huge statiscal base is evaluated.

Re:Why so much? (4, Informative)

lysergic.acid (845423) | more than 5 years ago | (#25256953)

consider that:

  • the LHC contains 150 million sensors collecting 700 MB per second.
  • the experiment accelerates beams composed of multiple "bunches" of 1.1 x 10^11 protons each.
  • each of the aforementioned beams contains 2808 "bunches."
  • when the beams converge they cause 600 million collisions per second.
  • each collision between two protons produces many smaller subatomic particles.

scientists are tracking the paths in which the resultant subatomic particles travel not just to find detectable post-collision phenomena, but they are also looking to see what is missing from those impact images (what their sensors cannot pick up). this will allow scientists to predict strange and interesting new particles that science has yet to discover. but in order to detect what is missing, they have to make sure to record all that is there (or not missing). and that means tracking perhaps tens of billions of particles and their travel path in 3-dimensions at very high resolutions, and at very high sampling rates.

Finally... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25256181)

We can run Vista *with* Aero

Re:Finally... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25256205)

We can run Vista *with* Aero

But who in the grid gets to see the GUI, is it on a time-share?

Doomed (5, Funny)

dexmachina (1341273) | more than 5 years ago | (#25256221)

I've heard this so called "grid" might create an information black hole from all of the data. Is this true? We're all gonna die!

Re:Doomed (1)

nawcom (941663) | more than 5 years ago | (#25256327)

It's actually going to open up a portal to Hell; Pat Robertson said so.

DOS, anyone? (3, Interesting)

xdor (1218206) | more than 5 years ago | (#25256223)

So does this network "grid" rely on TCP? Can all this be rendered useless by Robert E. Lee's hack?

Re:DOS, anyone? (1)

Zibri (1063838) | more than 5 years ago | (#25257347)

Yes TCP/IPv4. I saw an interview with some scientist working on ATLAS talking about the grid. Funny thing is, the interviewer was amazed "Is it REAL internet? It is not IPv6?"

Re:DOS, anyone? (1)

mysidia (191772) | more than 5 years ago | (#25257945)

So does this network "grid" rely on TCP? Can all this be rendered useless by Robert E. Lee's hack?

Yes, but it's not open to the world, it is only accessible at all to their computing centers and research partners.

Your attack would probably be noticed relatively quickly, due to the distributed nature of the grid and the fact they were concerned about security measures, and supposedly designed countermeasures into the system, an attack is likely to be rapidly quashed.

Porn? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25256269)

"As the grid is ready but no data is expected to be produced by the LHC for the next few months, engineers have received permission to temporarily fill all 15 petabytes with adult material in an effort to test the infrastructure."

Re:Porn? (4, Funny)

kurzweilfreak (829276) | more than 5 years ago | (#25256919)

Mmm, hot particle-on-particle action.

Re:Porn? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25257353)

Petaporn! I wonder what the resolution will be.

Re:Porn? (1)

mysidia (191772) | more than 5 years ago | (#25258035)

"As the grid is ready but no data is expected to be produced by the LHC for the next few months, engineers have received permission to temporarily fill all 15 petabytes with adult material in an effort to test the infrastructure."

I have a better idea... let's concentrate the power on cracking RSA.

Specifically MS' certificates' private keys to be able to sign software to run on the Xbox, and to sign software like the LILO & Grub bootloaders to run in TCPA / Palladium "trusted" mode.

They would be doing the public a great service by cracking and publishing the private keys that with those CA certificates.

So I can use BitLocker on dual boot Vista / Linux systems.

Re:Porn? (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 5 years ago | (#25260107)

I have a much quicker solution: Delete Vista and disable TCPA. Finito! :)

Re:Porn? (1)

RDW (41497) | more than 5 years ago | (#25258589)

'"As the grid is ready but no data is expected to be produced by the LHC for the next few months, engineers have received permission to temporarily fill all 15 petabytes with adult material in an effort to test the infrastructure."'

The problem, of course, is what to do with all this 'material' when the collider eventually starts producing data. It's now well known that Tim Berners-Lee hurriedly developed the Web within months of the LEP going on line in 1989, which was causing an equally serious storage problem by the standards of the time. In a desperate attempt to free up space on the servers, he succeeded in creating a distributed global system capable of storing CERN's vast collection of Ginger Lynn GIFs, Adult VHS screen captures, and dubious ASCII art.

Re:Porn? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25259895)

You jest, but BTDT. A couple of years ago, when Audiogalaxy was the newest and greatest way to get music (you remember Audiogalaxy, right?), my university's computing centre and CS department got a Very Big Storage Box from IBM. I worked as an assistant there at the time. My boss told me he was "testing the box by downloading Audiogalaxy". I at first didn't get it, until he added, smirking: "...all of it." High load stress testing then was done by leaking knowledge of this box' existence to a couple of very big on-campus dormitories. Ahhh, those were the days...

over 9000 (0, Redundant)

nawcom (941663) | more than 5 years ago | (#25256305)

The Worldwide LHC Computing Grid will initially handle data for up to 7,000 scientists

The anon/4chan crowd will find this unacceptable CERN!

Re:over 9000 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25256453)

Look at it this way:

There are at least 100 computers.

Whee! (1)

jovius (974690) | more than 5 years ago | (#25256393)

From a circle to a grid, what will they come up with next?

Re:Whee! (1)

mikael (484) | more than 5 years ago | (#25258111)

A cloud?

End of the world? Again? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25256449)

Great, just Great. Whose idea was it to connect a wormhole machine to sky net?

Re:End of the world? Again? (1)

Clarky456 (1378269) | more than 5 years ago | (#25256809)

It was probably Gordon Freeman's idea.

@Home (1)

jawee (1377909) | more than 5 years ago | (#25256459)

Now you can help suck up the world from the comfort of your own home.

Fantastic! (1)

failedlogic (627314) | more than 5 years ago | (#25256465)

This is Fantastic News! If only the LHC could provide information to actually process data it would be an interesting project. ;) If I find any of the mystery particles on my computer, do I get a free black hole? Cash prizes, as some other distributed computing projects offer, would suck in comparison. Don't like someone? Cash won't always help but a black hole will ruin anyone's day!

Re:Fantastic! (1)

mysidia (191772) | more than 5 years ago | (#25257973)

In their spare time, they can try analyzing data from other collides.. perhaps some outsourced computing services.

Perhaps they can make a sales pitch to some grid time to Google and buyers of mainframe processing.

You know.. until the LHC comes online, use the resources to spider and analyze the web. Who knows... Higgs boson may be hiding on the interweb(TM) somewhere.

15 Gigs of data (source: the inq) (0)

owlstead (636356) | more than 5 years ago | (#25256555)

I don't know why they need such a big grid, according to the inquirer they only create about 15 Gigs of data each year. Whatever that means.

They were bad, but now I'm 100% sure that they are nothing but a big gig themselves, and I've removed them from my bookmarks.

Source:
http://www.theinquirer.net/gb/inquirer/news/2008/10/03/lhc-spews-15million-gb [theinquirer.net]

Re:15 Gigs of data (source: the inq) (1)

SnowZero (92219) | more than 5 years ago | (#25256829)

Did you miss the "million" in there?

Re:15 Gigs of data (source: the inq) (1)

owlstead (636356) | more than 5 years ago | (#25259835)

Hmm, guess I did. Darn that. I'll drink more coffee.

Re:15 Gigs of data (source: the inq) (2, Informative)

timboe (932655) | more than 5 years ago | (#25256869)

I don't know why they need such a big grid, according to the inquirer they only create about 15 Gigs of data each year.

No, 15 million gigs - now you see! And yes, a full detector read out consists of every non zero channel in the entire detector which comes to about 3 Mb per event and we readout ~200 events/sec. And there are 4 main detectors each doing this. Not even mentioning the processor power to run statistical analysis on these data sets!

Re:15 Gigs of data (source: the inq) (1)

mysidia (191772) | more than 5 years ago | (#25257997)

It's much more massive than that.

Also, they may not release all data.. I.E. They have a need to analyze much more data than will be published as "interesting" with regards to the experiment being run.

You don't magically know what parts of the collected data are the most interesting until the analysis is completed on the grid.

I has a (5, Funny)

markov_chain (202465) | more than 5 years ago | (#25256769)

hadron!

Re:I has a (0, Troll)

gardyloo (512791) | more than 5 years ago | (#25257559)

I made you a hadron, but your mom ated it.

Re:I has a (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25259491)

You can stuff that into a black hole.

obligatory (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25256863)

yeah, but can it run vista?

Re:obligatory (0, Flamebait)

brilanon (1121645) | more than 5 years ago | (#25257421)

yeah, but can it run vista?

Fuck you!

Re:obligatory (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25257545)

yes i'd imagine it can. like most computers these days.

Re:obligatory (1)

RiotingPacifist (1228016) | more than 5 years ago | (#25257653)

doubt it has a graphics rating above 1.5 so only without aero

WTF is wrong with slashdot? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25260459)

The site has looked like shit for the past 6+ months. Text overlaps, basic functionality that used to be here from years ago is completely gone. I hate this site more than ever.

Slac's Crystal Ball Detector - Oracle 10G (1)

c0d3r (156687) | more than 5 years ago | (#25260833)

SLAC used to use the crystal ball detector for detecting the data and pouring it into an Oracle 10g grid of sun machines, and they'd data mine the data to generate theories. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crystal_Ball_(detector) [wikipedia.org] I wonder what they call their detector for the LHC, and what database software they use. Also, I'd be curious to know what they use to mine the data, and how they go about it.

Re:Slac's Crystal Ball Detector - Oracle 10G (3, Informative)

Gromius (677157) | more than 5 years ago | (#25262311)

Traditionally particle physics doesnt use the data to "generate" theories as such. We use the data to measure various properties (W mass, Z->ll mass spectrum, lepton pt spectra), looking for descrepances with the theory predictions. Then we (hopefully) go, oops this doesnt agree with the theory, we'ld better come up with another explaination. Recently its been, ah SM predictions confirmed *again*.

I can only really speak for CMS (one of the two big general purpose experiments) but every experiment does similar things. Basically the data is split into smaller datasets based on what we decided was interesting in the event (basically what trigger fired). So we split it into events with electrons, muons, photons, jets (yes events will have multiple of the above but dont worry about how we deal with it). Then each physicist looking for a specific signature (ie a top quark, or in my case high mass e+e- pair) runs their custom homebrew statistical analysis (which use common tools) to pick out the events they are interested in. There are also physicists who run custom designed programs to pick out *any* descrepancy from theory predictions but as they are more general, they arent as senstive as a dedicated analysis on a single channel.

Re:Slac's Crystal Ball Detector - Oracle 10G (1)

c0d3r (156687) | more than 5 years ago | (#25269429)

Don't you think a different approach should be made, where you use the data to create the theories, rather than for verification? Machine learning, neural networks and data mining are some of the biggest projects in corporate america these days, where you use the businesses resulting data to optimize and refine their operation.

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