HP (NYSE:HPQ) today announced it will support an operational grid for the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN, the European Laboratory for Particle Physics.
The LHC, the world's largest scientific instrument, enables research into the fundamental nature of matter. It is in the final stages of construction at CERN's facility outside Geneva.
HP will link computing resources at its HP Labs locations in Palo Alto and Bristol (U.K.) as well as HP Brazil and HP Puerto Rico to CERN's LHC Computing Grid (LCG) to help manage and analyze the massive quantities of data expected to be produced by the facility.
HP joins in the second phase of the project. CERN is launching LCG-2, the latest version of the software for the massive computing grid dedicated to the LHC. The first phase of the LCG project - LCG-1 - involved a limited number of sites around the globe. With LCG-2, the list of contributing sites is expected to grow rapidly into an operational, worldwide computing grid that will scale to the proportions necessary to accommodate the data produced by the LHC.
"HP is thrilled to be the first commercial member of CERN's LCG and to bring our technology to bear on this global grid collaboration of epic proportions," said Dick Lampman, senior vice president of research and director, HP Labs. "HP's commitment to grid computing spans scientific applications to enterprise deployments, and an opportunity to participate in the LCG will provide us with unique insight into the functionality and complexity of large-scale grid environments. Ultimately, HP's grid customers around the globe will reap the benefits of this collaboration."
When it becomes operational in 2007, the LHC will collide tiny fragments of matter (protons and nuclei) head-on to explore the fundamental laws of nature in intricate detail. These experiments are expected to produce unprecedented amounts of data - 12-14 petabytes per year - and will require a worldwide computing grid of extraordinary power to analyze and render the data useful to scientists.
Starting in 2004, the LCG resources and the resources contributed by HP will be used for simulating petabytes of the sort of data that the LHC will produce. This simulated data will in turn provide vital information for understanding the behavior of the detectors and optimizing the data collection procedure in anticipation of the real data that is expected to pour forth from the LHC in the next three years.
"There are few facilities in the modern scientific world with the significance of CERN's LHC and fewer still that present such massive technological challenges," said Wolfgang von Rüden, head of the IT department at CERN. "Our ability to process and analyze data is critical to the success of the LHC, and we are pleased to have HP joining us on the LCG to expand our resources and create one of the largest operational grid computing environments in the world."
"On many levels, being a part of the LCG embodies HP's vision for technical collaborations," said Michel Benard, program manager in university relations, HP. "HP is excited to support the operational LCG and its significance to the global scientific community. The LCG has the potential to redefine the technical limits of grid computing. We believe that participating in CERN's project is a great demonstration of how HP's collaborations can ultimately bring value to our customers."
CERN's LCG currently operates at 26 sites across Europe, America and Asia. More information about the project and the sites involved is available at: http://www.cern.ch/lcg