computing centres all over the world process and exchange data at record rate
Twelve big computing centres scattered all over the world and twenty smaller centres process and exchange information at rate that would allow to download a Dvd in five seconds: this is the new goal reached by the Worldwide Lhc Computing Grid, the powerful computing net conceived for Lhc (the big particle accelerator which will be operative in 2007 by Cern in Geneva). At the beginning of 2005, the capacity of transferring data in Grid was 600 megabytes per second. This amount has been nearly doubled today. The announcement of this new goal has been given today, 15th February in India during the international conference Computing for High Energy and Nuclear Physics a Mumbai (Chep’06).
Grid is a telematic net with higher performances than the ones of web. This last one allows in fact essentially to exchange texts and images or filmed sequences which already exist. Grid will allow instead to share great computing resources and to reach any kind of data banks even of huge dimensions. It will allow in this way to create new products and knowledges. It will be for instance an essential instrument to study a new subatomic particle or a new galaxy to develop a formula for a new medicine, to analyse in real time an hurricane’s evolution or a volcanic eruption or to realize an animation film. It is therefore expected that Grid will change the world even deeper than the web. Its development is today supported by the community of physicists, that is at the forefront in facing new computing problems. In particular next generation of experiments which will take place at Cern in Geneva, thanks to the construction of Lhc, will produce a huge amount of data, equal to 15 millions gigabytes per year. In order to process them it will necessary a computing power equal to about ten thousands of personal computers: it impossible to find them in a unique, because no country could afford it! The data must therefore be transferred out of Cern and share out to great computing centres all over the world.
Grid’s new record of data transfer was reached during a test which involved at the same time besides Cern, the Lhc twelve major computing centres, Cnaf included: the national computing centre of Italy’s National Institute for Nuclear Plysics, which is also Italian Grid centre. Furthermore other 20 computing second level utilities of worldwide Grid have been tested with success for data recording, sharing and analysis.
“Up to now the components of a global Grid utility have been tested on limited whole of resources, as if we test engines and wings’ plane one by one. This last test has represented for Lhc the equivalent of a maiden flight: it is the first wide operation that involves several locations in Asia. Moreover for the first time data have been sent, memorized and processed in a condition similar to the one scientist will face when the first Lhc data will be recorded” comments from Mumbai Jos Engelen, Chief Scientific Officer del Cern.
“The new performances reached by Grid represent a fundamental step towards the computing infrastructure necessary for the great amount of data that will be produced by Lhc. They are also a great tribute of physicists for the realization of a common Grid for the research community” says Mirco Mazzucato, Cnaf and Infn Grid director.
Sabyasachi Bhattacharya, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (Mumbai) director has pointed out “The fact that such an announce has been given In India, reflects deeply the global character of these results. Such a collaboration, that we in India are glad to participate in, provides an excellent example of what scientists of all over the world can reach together when they have a clear, common aim”.
Lhc experiments (Alice, Altlas, Cms and Lhc-b) will study the properties of subatomic particles and of the fundamental forces of nature, providing information on the origins of the Universe. The worldwide Lhc computing Grid utilizes Grid international infrastructures and local infrastructures, including the Italian Grid and the European Egee.