03 Apr 2007   |   News

£30M for UK grid to analyse collider data

The UK’s Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council has announced a further £30 million to analyse the expected deluge of data from CERN’s new particle accelerator near Geneva.

Superconducting quadrupole magnet at the LHC. Picture courtesy CERN

The UK’s Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council has announced a further £30 million funding for the country’s largest scientific computing grid, the GridPP project, which will analyse data from the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), CERN’s new particle accelerator near Geneva, which will be turned on later this year.

The funding allows GridPP to continue into its third phase, running until 2011, covering the period when the LHC starts generating data.

The LHC is the world’s largest physics experiment, recreating conditions last seen just after the Big Bang in order to increase understanding of the universe. The detectors will register a deluge of data at up to 15 gigabytes per second.

Phases 1 and 2 of GridPP have successfully demonstrated the concept. Phase 3 will now put it into action as the data starts coming in.

The grid will allow scientists to access computers around the world as though they were one large computer, using their processing and storage capacity without needing to know the physical location of the computers. The UK particle physics grid currently has more than 5,000 processors at 17 sites across the country – and with the new funding, this will increase to 20,000 by 2011.

In turn, GridPP is integrated with other grids in the Worldwide LHC Computing Grid project, which currently includes more than 35,000 central processing units in 50 countries.

David Britton from Imperial College London, project leader for GridPP, said, “This funding takes us in to the most exciting phase of GridPP, testing all the work that has gone before as we start receiving the LHC data and providing it to users.”

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