Feeds

El Reg's LHC visit - Deleted Scenes

'An impossible machine that could not be built'

The next step in data security

Proton beams? Check. Superconductors? Check. Enormous robots? You're spoiling us, now

Engineer Dr Tadeusz Kurtyka explained a few of the issues in constructing the LHC, not least the fact that its 6,000 massive superconducting magnets - which have to be chilled within an ace of absolute zero to function - each shrink by nearly 5cm as they are cooled down to operating temperature, making it tricky to say the least to construct a 27-km ring of them.

An automated carrier used to move LHC magnet-pipes about

Proton beams, superconductors, liquid helium and enormous robots.

Kurtyka explained that reliability issues become outrageous when most of the equipment is unique and has only just been invented, and there are thousands of items whose failure would be catastrophic. If each magnet is merely 99.99 per cent reliable, for instance, one will probably fail each time the machine is used.

Even once you have thousands of super-reliable cutting-edge machines and have worked out a way to deal with them shrinking, cooling etc, they must all be carefully lowered down one of a few shafts and shipped along kilometres of narrow tunnel to their final resting places. Special robotic vehicles are used for this, as humans would cause too many crashes in the narrow confines of the main tunnel.

New hybrid storage solutions

Next page: "Kids love it"

More from The Register

next story
PORTAL TO ELSEWHERE scried in small galaxy far, far away
Supermassive black hole dominates titchy star formation
Bacon-related medical breakthrough wins Ig Nobel prize
Is there ANYTHING cured pork can't do?
Boffins say they've got Lithium batteries the wrong way around
Surprises at the nano-scale mean our ideas about how they charge could be all wrong
Edge Research Lab to tackle chilly LOHAN's final test flight
Our US allies to probe potential Vulture 2 servo freeze
Europe prepares to INVADE comet: Rosetta landing site chosen
No word yet on whether backup site is labelled 'K'
Cracked it - Vulture 2 power podule fires servos for 4 HOURS
Pixhawk avionics juice issue sorted, onwards to Spaceport America
Archaeologists and robots on hunt for more Antikythera pieces
How much of the world's oldest computer can they find?
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.