Follow Us

We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. If you continue to use this site, we'll assume you're happy with this. Alternatively, click here to find out how to manage these cookies

hide cookie message

Case Study: Parallel Internet: Inside the Worldwide LHC computing Grid

Face to face with the network that will help scientists discover the origins of the Universe.

Article comments

Raw data is sent over dedicated 10Gbips optical fibre connections to the CERN Computer Centre, which is known as "Tier-0" in the LHC Computing Grid. Here, raw data is sent to tape storage and also to a CPU farm which processes information and generates "event summary data." Subsets of both the raw data and summaries are sent to the 11 Tier-1 sites, including Brookhaven National Laboratory on Long Island, NY, and Fermilab in Illinois.

Each of the 11 Tier-1 centres are connected to CERN via a dedicated 10 gigabit per second link, and the Tier-1 centres are connected to each other by a general purpose research network. Each Tier-1 centre receives only certain subsets of information. Brookhaven, for example, is dedicated to ATLAS, one of several large detectors housed at the LHC, while Fermilab handles data from the CMS (Compact Muon Solenoid) detector.

The Tier-1 centres are responsible for reprocessing raw data, which is then kept on local disk and tape storage and distributed to Tier-2 centres, which are located in most parts of the world.

Tier-2 centres are connected to Tier-1 sites and each other by general purpose research networks, such as the US Department of Energy's Energy Sciences Network. Tier-2s are located mainly in universities, where physicists will analyse LHC data. Ultimately, about 7,000 physicists will scrutinise Large Hadron Collider data for information about the origins and makeup of our Universe, according to CERN.

The LHC collisions will produce 10 to 15 petabytes of data a year, says Michael Ernst of Brookhaven National Laboratory, where he directs the program that will distribute data from the ATLAS detector. Brookhaven, as a Tier-1 site, will be responsible for filtering data so it can be easily readable by scientists located at the more numerous Tier-2 facilities, Ernst says.

Brookhaven has about 1,200 multicore x86 servers dedicated to the LHC, along with disk and tape storage that holds seven petabytes of data. Ernst says Brookhaven will have to scale that storage up significantly by 2012, when he expects to be storing 13 petabytes of Large Hadron Collider data.

Worldwide, the LHC computing grid will be comprised of about 20,000 servers, primarily running the Linux operating system. Scientists at Tier-2 sites can access these servers remotely when running complex experiments based on LHC data, Pordes says. If scientists need a million CPU hours to run an experiment overnight, the distributed nature of the grid allows them to access that computing power from any part of the worldwide network, she says. With the help of Tier-1 sites such as Brookhaven, the goal is to make using the grid just as easy for universities as using their own internal networks, according to Pordes.

Asked if the LHC project is the most complicated thing he's ever worked on, Ernst gave a quick laugh and said, "Yeah, I would say so."

This article first featured in Network World.


Share:

More from Techworld

More relevant IT news

Comments

JTankers said: If we delay for a safety study some scientists at CERN may not be the first to discover some new science and some Nobel prizes may be at stakeBut which would more wise conduct a full and independent adversarial peer reviewed safety study first or just turn it on now and discover science as quickly as humanly possibleJTankersLHCConcernscom

JTankers said: why arent CERN scientists allowed to express any personal fears they might have about this ColliderAlleged in the legal action Chief Scientific Officer Mr Engelen passed an internal memorandum to workers at CERN asking them regardless of personal opinion to affirm in all interviews that there were no risks involved in the experiments changing the previous assertion of minimal risk Statisticians generally consider minimal risk as 1-10

JTankers said: Previous safety studies ruled out any possibility of creating microblackholes in a collider But predictions have changed and CERN has estimated the possibility of creating 1 microblackhole per second in the Large Hadron Collider No peer reviewed safety study has ever been produced that I am aware of that speaks to the safety of creating microblackholes on Earth

JTankers said: Professor Dr Otto E Rssler winner University of Lige Chaos Award and Ren Descartes Award Dr Raj Baldev Director of the Indira Gandhi Center for Atomic Research and others are warning of a very real very possible very present danger to the planet from the Large Hadron Collider Dr Rssler predicts that a single microblackhole could destroy the planet in as little and 50 months His calculations have been released for peer reviewIf this experiment is so safe why arent CERN scie

JTankers said: Einsteins relativity theory predicts that micro black holes will not decay but instead only grow and Hawking Radiation contradicts relativity is unproven and is disputed by at least 3 peer reviewed studies that find no basis in science to support itThe LHC Safety Assessment Group has been trying for months to prove safety without success However science may still be a few years away from being able to provide reasonable assurance of safety or not at least with respect to creation of micr

JTankers said: But are you aware that a few of the worlds most eminent scientists are warning that destruction of the planet is not an unlikely outcomeCERNs web site states that we have not been destroyed by effects of cosmic rays and micro black holes will evaporateHowever cosmic rays strike relatively stationary objects and results travel too fast to be captured by Earths gravity while colliders smash particles head on may focus all energy to a single point and can be captured by Earths gravity




Send to a friend

Email this article to a friend or colleague:

PLEASE NOTE: Your name is used only to let the recipient know who sent the story, and in case of transmission error. Both your name and the recipient's name and address will not be used for any other purpose.

Techworld White Papers

Choose – and Choose Wisely – the Right MSP for Your SMB

End users need a technology partner that provides transparency, enables productivity, delivers...

Download Whitepaper

10 Effective Habits of Indispensable IT Departments

It’s no secret that responsibilities are growing while budgets continue to shrink. Download this...

Download Whitepaper

Gartner Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Information Archiving

Enterprise information archiving is contributing to organisational needs for e-discovery and...

Download Whitepaper

Advancing the state of virtualised backups

Dell Software’s vRanger is a veteran of the virtualisation specific backup market. It was the...

Download Whitepaper

Techworld UK - Technology - Business

Innovation, productivity, agility and profit

Watch this on demand webinar which explores IT innovation, managed print services and business agility.

Techworld Mobile Site

Access Techworld's content on the move

Get the latest news, product reviews and downloads on your mobile device with Techworld's mobile site.

Find out more...

From Wow to How : Making mobile and cloud work for you

On demand Biztech Briefing - Learn how to effectively deliver mobile work styles and cloud services together.

Watch now...

Site Map

* *