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Summary:

The Large Hadron Collider produces 600 million particle collisions a second that must be sifted through to find the most interesting physics, allowing physicists to spot interesting particles such as the Higgs boson.

CERN servers
photo: CERN

When CERN’s Large Hadron Collider smashes particles together at near to the speed of light, it creates a spray of smaller particles that hint at the nature of the universe. It also creates a lot of data that must be accessible to physicists all over the world.

Structure Europe in article square

Tim Bell, who will speak at GigaOM’s Structure Europe  in London Sept. 18-19, is CERN’s infrastructure manager. Bell started out as a Unix kernel developer at IBM before moving to Deutsche Bank to manage its infrastructure. He has now been at CERN for eight years. Every day, his team makes sure operating systems, mail and security infrastructure are functional to serve 11,000 physicists. They increasingly also oversee cloud computing resources that make working with huge amounts of data more manageable.

“It has become a key tool for physicists to able to understand the nature of matter and the universe itself,” Bell said. “The ability to turn around rapid amounts of analysis and allow the physicists to explore the results [is part of] delivering discoveries.”

CERN maintains 11,000 servers at its campus outside Geneva, Switzerland, that build preliminary reconstructions of particle collisions before sending data to smaller centers all over the world. Roughly 600 million collisions a second are whittled down to 60,000 to make them possible to compute, and then 600 are selected as especially interesting for further review. That results in about 25 petabytes of data that need to be stored each year.

Last year, CERN added a second primary data center in Budapest that now has about 1,000 servers, but they did not have the resources to add additional staff. Bell said they looked to see how other organizations were running large data centers and cloud computing emerged as an option. Their data centers’ resources are now managed in OpenStack–an open source program that physicists can use to request resources like memory and storage space. Bell serves on OpenStack’s board of directors.

“It allows the physicists to come up to a web interface and obtain a new machine in the order of 2 to 10 minutes,” Bell said. “Previously when they asked for physical software they would be waiting for months in comparison. You have an idea, you ask for resources, you go away, get a coffee and when you get back those resources are available for you. “

  1. you know signe iam thinking about a new technology capable of replacing laptops and give rise to completely vurtual computing with cloud computing as the base.It is a device which will be equivalent to ipad in its size,will have muliple projectors in it and these projectors will be able to create screen anywhere on the area in front of the device.The device will show you first of all the video of the entire area and then the area on which you will touch in the video it will display its screen on that area .A separate projector in the device will display the virtual keyboard on the area where you want to display the keyboard.The device will have a processor,2GB RAM ,required amount of hard disk space and other than this it will use IAAS cloud computing to hire extra RAM and HARD DISK.The device will work online only using 4G or above connection speed.All data will be there on the cloud server,even the O/S will be loaded from the cloud server.The computations will be done by the device and will be sent to the cloud server directly.
    This device will be capable of accepting the users touch command as happens in mobiles,sound command and mouse command through the virtual keyboard.
    While working the user needs to wear a laser beam small cap like device in his hand .with this device he can select a open window and shift it on any surface in front of the device,it means multiple windows can be seen seperately at the same time.The user will also get one device again similar to a cap from which a antenna like glass stick can be pulled and will be capable of scanning any text from anywhere .Once scanned shrink the glass stick and point the cap towards the window and switch a button in it,the scanned data will get copied in the window.
    The ADVANTAGE of the technology that iam thinking is that copmputing will become an anytime anyplace computing.
    WHAT YOU NEED TO DO IS THAT,CARRY THE DEVICE WITH YOU ,STICK IT ON ANY WALL,SWITCH IT ON ,SELECT THE AREAS WERE YOU WANT YOUR WINDOW AND KEYBOARD TO BE FOCUSSED AND THEN THE DEVICE WILL ESTABLISH CONNECTION WITH THE CLOUD SERVER AND YOU START COPMUTING.

    SO NO NEED TO CARRY THE WHOLE BIG LAPTOP WITH YOU

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