LONDON U.K. particle physicists will demonstrate the world's largest computing grid with over 6,000 computers at 78 sites internationally. The Large Hadron Collider Computing Grid (LCG) is the first permanent, worldwide Grid for conducting research, and the U.K. is providing more than 1,000 computers in 12 sites.
At the 2004 UK e-Science All Hands Meeting in Nottingham, particle physicists representing a collaboration of 20 U.K. institutions will explain to biologists, chemists and computer scientists how they reached the milestone.
Particle physics experiments at the Large Hadron Collider, currently under construction at CERN in Geneva, will produce around 15 petabytes of data each year, or 15 million, billion bytes. To deal with the vast volume of data, particle physicists around the world have been building a computing grid. By 2007, the grid will have the equivalent of 100,000 of today's fastest computers working together to produce a “virtual supercomputer,” which can be expanded and developed as needed.
GridPP, the U.K.'s particle physics Grid project, was established by the Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council in 2000. On Wednesday (Sept. 1), the project reached the halfway point, with the official end of its first phase and the start of GridPP2. The first half of the project aimed to create a prototype Grid and now the focus shifts to developing a large-scale stable, easy-to-use Grid integrated with other international projects.
Dr Jeremy Coles of Rutherford Appleton Laboratory is the GridPP production manager, responsible for making sure the Grid works on a day-to-day basis.
GridPP has developed a map that shows computing jobs moving around LCG in real time, as they are distributed to the most suitable sites on the Grid, run their programmes and then return their results home.
GridPP is a six year, £33m PPARC project with additional associated funding from HEFCE, SHEFC and the European Union.