GEANT2 connects CERNs LHC computing grid

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The GEANT2 network, together with the National Research and Education Networks (NRENs), are providing the high speed connectivity to underpin CERN’s new Worldwide Large Hadron Collider (LHC) Computing Grid infrastructure.


The LHC, launched last week, is the world’s largest scientific experiment and the LHC Computing Grid (LCG) has been designed to integrate computers around the world to create a massive processing capability through the creation of an optical private network (OPN) using GÉANT2 and other suppliers. Without this, the analysis of the unprecedented amount of data that will be created would be unfeasible. GÉANT2 will link more than half of the collaborating data centres across the globe.


Now live, CERN’s (the European Organisation for Nuclear Research) LHC will create conditions similar to those in the immediate aftermath of the Big Bang. This will enable researchers to study the most detailed properties of particles and consequently develop a greater understanding of the universe we live in.


The LHC Computing project is using a global computing grid infrastructure, which relies on guaranteed, high capacity point-to-point connections between the 11 LHC primary processing centres around the world. The GÉANT2 consortium is a key player in this worldwide network collaboration, which is known as the LHC Optical Private Network (OPN) and managed by CERN. The LHC OPN provides the connectivity that is central to the LHC Computing Grid.

These primary processing centres are connected to each other and to secondary processing sites for additional data analysis, usually within the same country. These connections use the GÉANT2 IP service as well as point-to-point circuits. Point-to-point, dedicated links of 10Gbps, supplied by the GÉANT2 partners and other providers, allow unprecedented amounts of data (15 million gigabytes per year) created by the LHC to be transmitted to 5,000 scientists working in 500 institutes worldwide, critical to the success of the project.


‘The LHC is a major step in mankind’s voyage of discovery and will help us understand the secrets of the universe itself,’ said David Foster, head of networking at CERN. ‘However it is essential to the project’s success that we are able to seamlessly deliver this data to collaborating scientists worldwide, and the LHC Grid infrastructure, provided by GÉANT2 and other suppliers, is vital to allow this to happen.’