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LHC Grid Fest Today

Global view of the LHC computing grid over Europe. (Image courtesy of CERN. Click for larger image.)

Today, researchers around the globe celebrate the grand opening of the Worldwide Large Hadron Collider Computing Grid. This multi-tiered grid of 140 computing centers in 33 countries will collect and analyze the millions of gigabytes of data produced by the LHC. Technologies and policies developed for the grid will also aid research in fields from climate modeling to drug discovery.

The day-long LHC Grid Fest includes lectures and demonstrations of the grid's capabilities by members of the consortium in Geneva and at other sites across the world. As a tier 1 computing center, Fermilab is participating in the festivities through video connections with CERN and other tier 1 sites.

SLAC, a tier 2 computing center, isn't directly participating in Grid Fest. But Wei Yang, the technical lead of the SLAC Tier 2 Project, hopes that the festival raises awareness of SLAC's work in the consortium. In addition to preparing to provide computing power and data storage, the SLAC team has been testing the grid's analysis software with simulations, in anticipation of the torrent of data that the LHC will produce.

While the LHC shuts down for repairs until spring, Yang and his colleagues are working on additional software to add to the grid. "We knew that the data would come very fast, so the production environment had to be very stable—no new software was allowed," Yang said. "But now we have a month or two to inject new functionalities." In particular, they are incorporating a data storage system that has been used previously with BaBar. "So far we have been very successful and are generating a wide range of interest in the LHC community," Yang said.

With these new jobs, Yang doesn't feel left out of the Grid Fest party. "We're just too busy to participate in the celebrations: my to-do list is full," Yang said.

To learn more about today's festivities, check out the U.S. Grid Fest announcement. See also the CERN Grid Fest Web site, CERN announcement and a video interview about the grid with its project leader, Ian Bird.

ŚMichael Torrice
SLAC Today, October 3, 2008