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LHC@home gets new home

Moves to London

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The distributed computing project LHC@home is moving to London from CERN in Switzerland.

Researchers at Queen Mary University have been trialling the system since June, but are now ready for the official launch.

LHC@home is a distributed computing project set up to simulate different possible scenarios which will be faced when the particle accelerator project goes live next year.

Some 40,000 people have already downloaded the software onto their computers in order to help out. Together they have contributed over 3,000 computing years to the project.

LHC@home works in the same way as SETI@home. It uses downtime on ordinary computers to crunch big numbers which would take forever on just one machine. So when your machine would normally be running a screensaver it can instead help search for missing particles.

The Large Hadron Accelerator is searching for the Higgs boson particle - the missing link of the Grand Unified Theory. The 27km circular tunnel is due to be switched on in May 2008.

Once the accelerator is up and running it will use a grid of supercomputers and storage arrays across the world to analyse a predicted 15 petabytes of information a year.

LHC@home uses a programme called SixTrack which simulates 60 particles travelling 100,000 times round the giant doughnut. It aims to find the limits within which the accelerator can operate safely.

For more info there's a press release here, or the website is here. ®

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