Alumni CLASnotes Spring 2006
In This Issue:

Created in Part by UF, World’s Largest Computing
Grid Launched

The world’s largest computing grid, pioneered in part by University of Florida researchers, was launched on October 3 to crunch the mammoth amounts of data produced by the Large Hadron Collider particle accelerator in Europe.

Three weeks after the first particle beams were injected into the collider, the Worldwide LHC Computing Grid will combine the power of more than 140 computer centers from 33 countries to analyze and manage more than 15 million gigabytes of LHC data every year. The part of the grid located in the U.S., known as the Open Science Grid, is a direct outgrowth of two earlier grid projects led by the University of Florida.

The principal investigator and director for those grids, known as GriPhyN and iVDGL, was Paul Avery, a UF professor of physics.

“There were basically three national projects that merged to form the Open Science Grid, and two of those were our projects,” said Avery, who serves as OSG’s Council co-chairman.

The LHC is currently down for repairs. But when it is running at full speed, it is expected to produce enough data to fill about 100 million CDs per year. The data consists largely of the record of hundreds of millions of collisions of protons per second, protons moving at close to the speed of light within the accelerator.

The Open Science Grid not only contributes computing power for LHC data needs but also for projects in many other scientific fields including biology, nanotechnology, medicine and climate science. Avery said those projects include projects at UF, which is tied into the Open Science Grid through its LHC effort and the UF High Performance Computing Center.

“Particle physics projects such as the LHC have been a driving force for the development of worldwide computing grids,” said Ed Seidel, director of the National Science Foundation’s Office of Cyberinfrastructure. “The benefits from these grids are now being reaped in areas as diverse as mathematical modeling and drug discovery.”

--> home     --> top