Worldwide grid evaluating collider test results

Test run brings us a step closer to discovering how the universe was created

The successful test run of a massive particle collider brought scientists a step closer to finding answers to a question that has haunted people for centuries: How was the universe created?

The US$9 billion Large Hadron Collider (LHC), which took some 20 years to build outside of Geneva, last week shot its first beam of protons around a 17-mile, vacuum-sealed loop buried 50 to 150 meters below the ground.

The test was a critical milestone in getting to the project's ultimate goal of shooting two particle beams toward each other at 99.9 percent of the speed of light. Colliding the beams will create showers of new particles that could re-create conditions in the universe just moments after the big bang that many scientists think created it.

With the test completed, the team of scientists overseeing the 111-nation effort is using a worldwide grid of servers and desktops to study the results.

Ruth Pordes, executive director of the Open Science Grid, which was created in 2005 to support the project, said that the US portion of the global computer and storage grid is made up of more than 25,000 mostly Linux-based computers running 43,000 processors.

The grid's machines are housed at several universities, the US Department of Energy and the National Science Foundation.

Harvey Newman, a physics professor at the California Institute of Technology, added that there are about 30,000 servers and more than 100,000 processor cores around the world hooked into grids that support the LHC project.

"The distributed computing model is essential to doing the computing, storage and hosting of the many petabytes of data from the experiments," he added.

Newman said that scientists last week sent one beam around the tube and, when that was complete, sent another in the opposite direction. Each beam made one circuit around the accelerator. And they both reached 99.999998 percent of the speed of light, he said.

The first particle collision should come in days or weeks, said Bolek Wyslouch, a physics professor at MIT, who has been working on the project for the past seven years.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags large hadron collider

Struggling for Christmas presents this year? Check out our Christmas Gift Guide for some top tech suggestions and more.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Sharon Gaudin

Computerworld

Most Popular Reviews

Follow Us

Best Deals on GoodGearGuide

Shopping.com

Latest News Articles

Resources

GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell

LIFEBOOK UH574

The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi

STYLISTIC Q702

The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott

STYLISTIC Q702

My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Latest Jobs

Shopping.com

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?