Feeds

The Large Hadron Collider's mega-pic churn

If you can't destroy the world, drown it in data

High performance access to file storage

Blogs The Large Hadron Collider has been operating for a few months now, and it hasn’t ripped apart the space/time continuum – not where I live, anyway, and that’s mostly all I care about. Of course, it could be that it’s still early, and that the cumulative effects of accelerating particles really fast could still spell the end of everything. Until that happens, the LHC is generating enough data to keep scientists busy from now until doomsday (unless doomsday is in the next couple of years).

A recent story from Forbes tech correspondent Lee Gomes brought home the scale of the LHC and the storage challenge. The 150 million sensors each take 40 million pictures per second – which results in what anyone will admit is a fairly large amount of data. In terms of pictures per second, we’re talking six thousand trillion: a six with 15 zeros, or 6x1015. That’s only slightly more pictures than my mom takes at a family reunion using her 15-year-old 35mm camera – and far less annoying.

According to the story, most of this data is just uninteresting noise. But it all has to be sifted through to figure out which bits are worth a closer look. The total amount of ‘good stuff’ should amount to around 15 petabytes per year.

To crunch through this treasure trove of data, the WLGC (Worldwide LHC Computing Grid) utilizes systems in more than 130 sites across the world, totaling more than 100,000 processors. Data from collider runs is sent to Tier 1 sites at a rate of 4GB/sec, where it is archived to tape for future analysis.

These same sites also feed data out to secondary sites as needed to feed their research appetites. There are some interesting videos on the CERN site discussing the grid and the challenge of handling LHC data.

So far the LHC has yet to find the Higgs boson or other particles or forces predicted by theoretical physics, but that’s the cool thing about having a Large Hadron Collider – it means you can finally test to see how closely reality conforms to theory.

If they do manage to figure out the true nature of the universe by recreating conditions that existed at the moment after the Big Bang, you can be sure it will be covered in The Reg… unless there’s some late-breaking scandal involving salacious text messages and nude starlets. In that case, we’ll cover the universe thing a few days later. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Seagate brings out 6TB HDD, did not need NO STEENKIN' SHINGLES
Or helium filling either, according to reports
European Court of Justice rips up Data Retention Directive
Rules 'interfering' measure to be 'invalid'
Dropbox defends fantastically badly timed Condoleezza Rice appointment
'Nothing is going to change with Dr. Rice's appointment,' file sharer promises
Cisco reps flog Whiptail's Invicta arrays against EMC and Pure
Storage reseller report reveals who's selling what
Just what could be inside Dropbox's new 'Home For Life'?
Biz apps, messaging, photos, email, more storage – sorry, did you think there would be cake?
IT bods: How long does it take YOU to train up on new tech?
I'll leave my arrays to do the hard work, if you don't mind
Amazon reveals its Google-killing 'R3' server instances
A mega-memory instance that never forgets
USA opposes 'Schengen cloud' Eurocentric routing plan
All routes should transit America, apparently
prev story

Whitepapers

Mainstay ROI - Does application security pay?
In this whitepaper learn how you and your enterprise might benefit from better software security.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.