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Finland ready for LHC data processing

27.06.2008

An LHC particle collider (Large Hadron Collider) will soon be started up in Cern, Geneva. The purpose of the particle tests to be carried out using the LHC is to obtain new information about basic material structures. In addition to offering a whole new opportunity for physics to understand the complexity of nature, the new collider tests pose an unprecedented information technology challenge: it has been estimated that the particle tests will generate approximately 15 petabytes (15 million gigabytes) of measuring data. This amount of data will be decentralized by utilizing data networks into several computation centers all around the world.

Computation drills took place in Cern in February and in May before the start-up of the particle collider. One of the drills was the CSA08 drill, which simulated recording and processing of data generated by a CMS test station (Compact Muon Solenoid) during the first three months of the project. During the drill, approximately 100,000 jobs a day were transmitted to be processed by lower level centers in accordance with the Tier model. At its best, Cern transmitted approximately 200,000 jobs in one day. A maximum of 1,700 megabytes of simulated CMS raw and test data per second was transmitted. This is the current record for Cern in CMS testing. A total of 3.6 petabytes of data was transmitted to all the computation centers during the May CMS drill.

CSA08 was especially important for Finns because the drill offered the first chance to transmit CMS test analysis jobs to be performed by the gLite grid middleware software supported by Cern and data from the United States through the Condor system to Finland to be processed by the NorduGrid ARC middleware software. This had not been possible before the drill. One can compare the significance of the application for Finnish CMS researchers to a situation where mail could not be sent to Finland from anywhere else in the world. Thus, the success of the computation transfer was a major achievement.

In the computation model used in Cern, Cern itself is the Tier-0 center from which raw data and pre-processed data is transmitted to eleven Tier-1 centers in different countries. The Tier-1 centers store the data, process it and offer grid computation method data services to both Cern and smaller Tier-2 centers. The Tier-2 centers, for their part, provide disc space and the preconditions for simulations and data analysis.

The Nordic Data Grid Facility (NDGF) provides one Nordic Tier-1 resource. This resource has been divided among Finland, Sweden, Norway and Denmark. The Finnish IT Center for Science CSC maintains Finland’s share of the decentralized Tier-1 resource. The Helsinki Institute of Physics (HIP) also participates in the Tier-1 center activity. Furthermore, there is a Tier-2 center implemented in cooperation by the HIP and the CSC in Finland.

For more information, please contact:

Antti Pirinen, Project Manager, tel. +358 (0)9 8562 0916, antti.pirinen(at)hip.fi
Dan Still, Project Manager, tel. +358 (0)9 457 2925, dan.still(at)csc.fi

The Helsinki Institute of Physics (HIP) is a joint national research facility of the University of Helsinki, the University of Jyväskylä, the Helsinki University of Technology and the Lappeenranta University of Technology. HIP is in charge of Finnish cooperation with the European Organization for Nuclear Research, Cern.

CSC, the Finnish IT center for science, is administered by the Ministry of Education. CSC is a non-profit company providing IT support and resources for academia and research institutes: modeling, computing and information services. CSC provides Finland's widest selection of scientific software and databases and Finland's most powerful supercomputers that researchers can use via the Funet network.