Use your own computer to tame protons at CERN

Oct 24, 2011 By Lionel Pousaz

Help to unravel the mysteries of the Universe! With the SixTrack project developed by EPFL, your computer can provide CERN with additional computing power.

The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is a powerful instrument to crash . Although minute in size, these have huge power as they rush close to the through the 27 kilometer-long underground circular tunnel. If they went the slightest bit off course, they could cause serious damage to the collider. This is why scientists must precisely anticipate the movements of these unpredictable particles. EPFL physicists Leonid Rivkin and Igor Zacharov have developed a project enabling any volunteer to contribute to this challenge.

It is press release, notes that beams of protons are subject to the chaos principle. As with the “butterfly effect”, according to which the flap of a butterfly’s wings in Japan can set off a tornado in Texas, this means that even the slightest change in the conditions around the bunch of protons could throw it off course, particularly after several hundred thousand revolutions.

Predicting the protons’ motion requires huge . Scientists simulate collisions over and over again. In particular, they take into account the slightest flaw in any of the 1,232 magnets, weighing 35 tons each, down to a fraction of a millimeter. The challenge has been successfully met so far, as no proton has smashed against the accelerator’s wall to date.

Stronger magnets are to be fitted in 2020 to reduce the beam size ever further, in order to increase the chance of collisions. From the simulation point of view, this is essentially a new machine. This is why Igor Zacharov has revived the LHC@Home program. By installing simple software running under Windows, MacOS or Linux, anyone may contribute spare processing capacity on their computer. Entitled SixTrack, this project will serve to prevent protons smashing into the walls of the over the next decade.

Explore further: IHEP in China has ambitions for Higgs factory

More information: Download the software

Provided by Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne

not rated yet
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Particles are back in the LHC

Oct 26, 2009

During the last weekend (23-25 October) particles have once again entered the LHC after the one-year break that followed the incident of September 2008.

Shutting Off the Large Hadron Collider

Jul 15, 2010

On hilly parts of the Interstate highway system, road engineers provide steep-grade areas with gravel off-ramps for trucks that lose their brakes. The ramps bring the big rigs to a rough but safe halt.

Restored machine to explore mysteries of Big Bang

Nov 21, 2009

(AP) -- Scientists are preparing the world's largest atom smasher to explore the depths of matter after successfully restarting the $10 billion machine following more than a year of repairs.

Geneva atom smasher set for record collisions

Mar 29, 2010

(AP) -- The world's largest atom smasher is ready to start a new era of science by colliding beams of protons to learn more about the makeup of the universe and its smallest particles.

Large Hadron Collider pauses protons; enters new phase

Nov 04, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- Proton running for 2010 in the Large Hadron Collider at CERN came to a successful conclusion today. Since the end of March, when the first collisions occurred at a total energy of 7 TeV, the ...

Recommended for you

IHEP in China has ambitions for Higgs factory

8 hours ago

Who will lay claim to having the world's largest particle smasher?. Could China become the collider capital of the world? Questions tease answers, following a news story in Nature on Tuesday. Proposals for ...

The physics of lead guitar playing

9 hours ago

String bends, tapping, vibrato and whammy bars are all techniques that add to the distinctiveness of a lead guitarist's sound, whether it's Clapton, Hendrix, or BB King.

The birth of topological spintronics

10 hours ago

The discovery of a new material combination that could lead to a more efficient approach to computer memory and logic will be described in the journal Nature on July 24, 2014. The research, led by Penn S ...

The electric slide dance of DNA knots

14 hours ago

DNA has the nasty habit of getting tangled and forming knots. Scientists study these knots to understand their function and learn how to disentangle them (e.g. useful for gene sequencing techniques). Cristian ...

User comments : 0