Tuesday, September 9, 2008

U.S. Research Networks Prepare for Massive Data Flows from Europe's Particle Collider

The newly activated Large Hadron Collider (LHC) spanning the French-Swiss border is expected to begin generating multiple terabytes of data per second. Significant volumes of this data will flow out of Europe via fiber optic cables to thousands of researchers spread across the globe, including over 1,700 researchers in the United States.

The U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Energy Sciences Network (ESnet), Internet2, and USLHCNet, which provides transatlantic network connectivity from the LHC facility to the United States, said they are prepared for moving the massive amounts of data using multiple 10 Gbps links. The LHC will be the first experiment to fully utilize the advanced capabilities of these networks, which will connect DOE national laboratories and university researchers across the country to the LHC data.

Initially, the European Center for Nuclear Research (CERN), which manages the LHC, will store the experiments' data. The information will then traverse the GEANT2 network and migrate across the Atlantic Ocean via fiber optics, on a network called USLHCNet, which was developed and deployed by the researchers at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, California. The LHC will generate many petabytes of data during each year of operation, and will accumulate an exabyte of real and simulated data within the first decade of its estimated 20 years of operation. The data will be distributed for processing among 150 computing and data storage facilities around the world, and will be analyzed intensively and repeatedly as physicists and students refine their analysis methods and respond to any emerging discoveries.

Two high-performance exchange points, MAN LAN in New York City and Starlight in Chicago, will be the U.S. entry points for LHC data. From there, ESnet will deliver data from the LHC's ATLAS detector to The Brookhaven National Laboratory, in Upton, New York where it will be processed and stored. Meanwhile, data from the LHC's CMS detector will go to the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Batavia, Illinois, for processing and storage. From these laboratories, ESnet and Internet2 together with its regional network partners will distribute the data among 1,700 U.S. scientists at 94 institutions throughout the country participating in this massive project, many of whom are supported by the DOE's Office of Science and the National Science Foundation. Internet2 and ESnet officially launched a partnership in 2006 to develop and deploy the next-generation ESnet4 just in time for the LHC.http://www.es.net/http://www.internet2.edu/