October 20, 2008
The Large Hadron Collider (LHC), a new particle accelerator at CERN in Switzerland, provides a massive facility for physicists around the world to investigate the origins of the universe. The world’s largest scientific research project is expected to produce roughly 15 petabytes (15 million gigabytes) of data annually for analysis.
The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Energy Sciences Network (ESnet), Internet2, and US LHCNet, which provides transatlantic network connectivity from the LHC facility to the U.S., have prepared for moving the massive amounts of data to U.S. sites where scientists can analyze the information. These organizations have worked closely together to deploy networks with the bandwidth and capabilities to reliably transport multiple streams of 10 gigabits of data per second. The LHC will be the first experiment to fully utilize the advanced capabilities of these networks, which will connect DOE national laboratories and university researchers across the country to the LHC data.
Two high-performance exchange points, MAN LAN in New York City and Starlight in Chicago, will be the U.S. entry points for LHC data. From there, ESnet will deliver data from the LHC’s ATLAS detector to the Brookhaven National Laboratory, in Upton, New York, where it will be processed and stored. Meanwhile, data from the LHC’s CMS detector will go to the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Batavia, Illinois, for processing and storage. From these laboratories, ESnet and Internet2, together with its regional network partners, will distribute the data among 1700 U.S. scientists at 94 institutions throughout the country.A 12-minute video, which can be viewed here, explains the importance of cyberinfrastructure to supporting LHC.