New Science Cloud to Support Hadron Collider

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A look at the ATLAS particle detector experiment at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), the huge particle accelerator at CERN near Geneva, Switzerland. A new cloud computing platform has been announced that will provide IT capacity for the LHC. (Photo: Image Editor via Flickr)

Three leading European research centers are teaming with commercial service providers to create a European cloud computing platform that can provide data storage and processing power for some of the region’s major scientific research projects, beginning with the Large Hadron Collider at CERN.

Backed by CERN, EMBL ESA and leading IT providers, Helix Nebula – the Science Cloud will support the massive IT requirements of European scientists, and become available to governmental organizations and industry after an initial pilot phase. During a two year pilot organizations like the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) and European Space Agency (ESA) will use the Science Cloud for research projects and providing infrastructure on demand to their scientists.

CERN, the European laboratory for particle physics, will have access to more computing power to process data from the international ATLAS experiment at its Large Hadron Collider (LHC) accelerator.  Close to a petabyte of data is generated every second during experiments as subatomic particles called “hadrons” are fired around the the 17 mile circular collider at velocities approaching the speed of light. There are 11 data center providers offering access to CERN on the Grid including companies in the US, Canada, Italy, France and the UK, and they in turn utilize storage from another 130 locations, to ensure the wealth of data generated can be retained.

“CERN’s computing capacity needs to keep-up with the enormous amount of data coming from the Large Hadron Collider and we see Helix Nebula- the Science Cloud as a great way of working with industry to meet this challenge,” said Frédéric Hemmer, head of CERN’s IT department.

The LA Times had a nice feature late last year on the LHC with a number of visuals to explain how the collider works. CERN also has a YouTube channel.

Commercial partners will contribute to the Science Cloud as well, including Atos, Capgemeni, CloudSigma, SAP, Telefonica, Orange Business Services, the Cloud Security Alliance, the European Grid Infrastructure and the OpenNebula Project. Working together the companies will establish a federated and secure high-performance computing cloud platform.

 Hadron Collider photo by Image Editor via Flickr.

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