World's Largest Computing Grid Surpasses 100 Sites

March 15, 2005

Today, the Large Hadron Collider Computing Grid (LCG) project announced that the computing Grid it is operating now includes more than 100 sites in 31 countries. This makes it the world’s largest international scientific Grid. This Grid is being established in order to deal with the anticipated huge computing needs of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), currently being built at CERN near Geneva, Switzerland. The sites participating in the LCG project are primarily universities and research laboratories. They contribute more than 10,000 central processor units (CPUs) and a total of nearly 10 million Gigabytes of storage capacity on disk and tape. This Grid receives substantial support from the EU-funded project Enabling Grids for E-sciencE (EGEE), which is a major contributor to the operations of the LCG project.

The LHC is a particle accelerator used to study the fundamental properties of sub-atomic particles. It is due to start operating in 2007. The LCG project was launched in 2003 and is growing rapidly. The Grid operated by the LCG project is already being tested by the four major experiments that will use the LHC, namely ALICE, ATLAS, CMS and LHCb, to simulate the computing conditions expected once the LHC is fully operational. As a result, the LCG partners are achieving record-breaking results for high-speed data transfer, distributed processing and storage. Already, other scientific applications from disciplines such as biomedicine and geophysics are being tested on this unique computing infrastructure, with the support of the EGEE project.

Grid computing is a term used for many varieties of distributed computing. For the LCG project, the objective is to unite the computing capacity that exists in scientific organizations around the globe. This requires special middleware – the software that allows seamless operations across multiple institutional domains – so that users of the Grid perceive it as a single resource. Underlying the middleware is the basic infrastructure of this Grid, which consists of extremely high speed networks, clusters of hundreds of computers at the participating sites, as well as banks of disk servers and tape silos for the data storage, also distributed around the globe.

The LCG Project Leader Les Robertson, based at CERN’s IT Department, said: “We are well ahead of our original schedule for reaching 100 sites, and thanks is due to the many partner sites around the world for their contribution to this success - making a Grid like this is a truly collaborative effort.”

The Global Grid Forum, which is a community-initiated forum of thousands of individuals from industry and research leading the global standardization effort for Grid computing, is meeting in Seoul this week. The Chair of the GGF, Mark Linesch, described LCG's 100-site milestone as "great news for Grids, and great news for science. Without doubt the LCG project is pushing the envelope for what an international science Grid can do."

Despite the record-breaking scale of the LCG project today, Robertson notes that the current processing capacity of this Grid is estimated to be just 5% of the long-term needs of the LHC. Therefore, the LCG will continue to grow rapidly over the coming two years, both by adding sites and increasing resources available at existing sites. In addition, the exponential increase in processor speed and disk storage capacity inherent to the IT industry will help to achieve the LHC’s ambitious computing goals. An overview of the current status of the LCG project, listing all participating sites, can be found at … ld/cert_maps/CE.html

The mission of the LHC Computing Grid (LCG) project is to build and maintain a data storage and analysis infrastructure for the entire high energy physics community that will use the LHC. Discovering new fundamental particles and analysing their properties with the LHC accelerator is possible only through statistical analysis of the massive amounts of data gathered by the LHC detectors ATLAS, CMS, ALICE and LHCb, and detailed comparison with compute-intensive theoretical simulations. The goals of the LCG project include: developing different software components to support the physics application software in a Grid environment; developing and deploying computing services based on a distributed Grid model; managing users and their rights in an international, heterogeneous and non-centralized Grid environment; managing acquisition, installation, and capacity planning for the large number of commodity hardware components that form the physical platform for the LCG project. The LCG project relies on advanced networking infrastructures such as the GEANT network, a multi-gigabit pan-European data communications network supported by 26 National Research and Education Networks.

Source: CERN

Explore further: Challenging the World's Largest Computing Grid

Related Stories

Challenging the World's Largest Computing Grid

September 21, 2005

Enough data to fill 17,000 CDs were transferred from Edinburgh University to the CCLRC Rutherford Appleton Laboratory (RAL) in nine days, as part of the latest networking challenge by particle physicists. Delegates to the ...

CERN openlab adds a new dimension to Grid computing

July 6, 2004

Geneva, Switzerland 5 July 2004. The CERN openlab for DataGrid applications, a partnership between CERN , the European Organization for Nuclear Research, and five leading IT companies – Enterasys Networks, HP, IBM, Intel ...

World's Largest Working Computing Grid

September 5, 2004

This week, UK particle physicists will demonstrate the world's largest, working computing Grid. With over 6,000 computers at 78 sites internationally, the Large Hadron Collider Computing Grid (LCG) is the first permanent, ...

LHC Computing Centres Join Forces for Global Grid Challenge

April 25, 2005

Today, in a significant milestone for scientific grid computing, eight major computing centres successfully completed a challenge to sustain a continuous data flow of 600 megabytes per second (MB/s) on average for 10 days ...

Particle physics used to mitigate natural disasters

August 16, 2010

Talk of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), the world’s single biggest scientific instrument, has mostly focused on the search for the mysterious Higgs Boson, the as yet undetected particle that scientists hope will reveal ...

High Energy Physics Team Sets New Data-Transfer World Records

December 9, 2008

( -- Building on seven years of record-breaking developments, an international team of physicists, computer scientists, and network engineers led by the California Institute of Technology--with partners from Michigan, ...

Recommended for you

Using optical chaos to control the momentum of light

October 19, 2017

Integrated photonic circuits, which rely on light rather than electrons to move information, promise to revolutionize communications, sensing and data processing. But controlling and moving light poses serious challenges. ...

Black butterfly wings offer a model for better solar cells

October 19, 2017

(—A team of researchers with California Institute of Technology and the Karlsruh Institute of Technology has improved the efficiency of thin film solar cells by mimicking the architecture of rose butterfly wings. ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.