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CERN's Particle Smashers List Their Toughest Tech Challenges

samzenpus posted about 3 months ago | from the this-is-hard dept.

Science 31

An anonymous reader writes "Researchers at CERN have detailed some of the big technology problems they need to solve to help the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) solve some of the fundamental questions about the nature of the universe. 'You make it, we break it' is the CERN openlab motto which looks at emerging tech: data acquisition, computing platforms, data storage architectures, compute management and provisioning and more are on the to do list."

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The Internet (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47069335)

World Wide Web (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47069377)

remember, Al Gore invented the internet. Tim Berners Lee invented the World Wide Web

Re:World Wide Web (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47069477)

Those would be nothing without the personal computer and mouse, both inventions by Steve Jobs.

Re: World Wide Web (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47069751)

I do hope that was sarcasm.

Re: World Wide Web (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47069889)

No, it wasn't. Nor was the rest of the thread.

Re:World Wide Web (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47072523)

I just thought of Konrad Ernst Otto Zuse...

Biggest challenge is avoidance. (-1, Offtopic)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | about 3 months ago | (#47069341)

Some challenges are stuff they want to do but are not able to. But there are other challenges about stuff they might be able to do, but they should not do. Like inadvertently creating a small black hole that swallows up the Earth. Europe? that is OK, no big loss. But the whole Earth? nah. That is not done.

Re:Biggest challenge is avoidance. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47069451)

Of course a small black hole, it black holes actually exist, would quickly evaporate.

Re:Biggest challenge is avoidance. (1)

Morpf (2683099) | about 3 months ago | (#47069499)

Of course a small black hole, it black holes actually exist, would quickly evaporate.

As we can observe black holes we can be quite sure they exist. ;)

Re:Biggest challenge is avoidance. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47069617)

You cannot observe a black hole, ever. At best you would be able to observe the accretion disk that surrounds it.

Re:Biggest challenge is avoidance. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47070563)

You cannot observe an electron, ever. At best you can be able to observe its electromagnetic and weak interactions with other particles.

Re:Biggest challenge is avoidance. (1)

mythosaz (572040) | about 3 months ago | (#47070775)

Meh. You cannot observe anything, ever. At best you can analyze your own neurons firing.

Re:Biggest challenge is avoidance. (1)

rossdee (243626) | about 3 months ago | (#47070669)

You can observe the black hole if you are inside the event horizon, however you can't tell anyone about it afterward as your message can't get out

Re:Biggest challenge is avoidance. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47071945)

If ignoring the accretion disk, the only observable difference from being inside the event horizon to outside the black hole (assuming any realistic propulsion) is the amount of the sky that look is missing star light (or filled with just red shifted images of what came in before you).

Re:Biggest challenge is avoidance. (1)

leonardluen (211265) | about 3 months ago | (#47075189)

i am pretty sure the gravity gets out...

Re:Biggest challenge is avoidance. (2)

HornWumpus (783565) | about 3 months ago | (#47069621)

If CERN creates small black holes, so do cosmic ray impacts.

Also note: The atomic bomb tests didn't knock a hole in the bottom of the oceans and allow them to drain.

joke (2)

gurps_npc (621217) | about 3 months ago | (#47069431)

Left out terrorists sneaking in to steal their anti-matter and threaten the vatican.

Re:joke (1)

Morpf (2683099) | about 3 months ago | (#47069517)

I was constantly shaking my head reading this book.

The actual document (4, Informative)

kyrsjo (2420192) | about 3 months ago | (#47069515)

... not just an article talking about it.
https://zenodo.org/record/8765... [zenodo.org]

Scientific Linux (1)

unixisc (2429386) | about 3 months ago | (#47069841)

'You make it, we break it' is the CERN openlab motto which looks at emerging tech: data acquisition, computing platforms, data storage architectures, compute management and provisioning and more are on the to do list."

So did CERN make or break Scientific Linux? Why would computing platforms even be a consideration for them, given that along w/ Fermi, they are among the creators of Scientific Linux?

Filling Needs (2)

aprentic (1832) | about 3 months ago | (#47069865)

I love seeing documents like this.
A lot of cool stuff gets built because someone has a need for it.
My current employer (cloudant.com) got started the same way. A couple of LHC researchers couldn't get the data storage throughput levels they needed with existing solutions so they built a new one.
I'm sure if you look around you can find tons of stuff that comes from papers like this.

Re:Filling Needs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47073037)

they bought a new one. COTS.

Why not ask the NSA (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47069899)

Just ask the NSA how it handles the capturing, routing, processing, and storage of the world's electronic signals.

I'm sure they could give a few pointers.

CERN Computing Center (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47070277)

Some numbers about the computing power at the CERN computing center (July 2013):

Number of machines: 17,000 processors with 85,000 cores (Source)
All physics computing is done using the Linux operating system and commodity PC hardware. There are few Solaris server machines as well, especially for databases (Oracle).

Re:CERN Computing Center (1)

Existential Wombat (1701124) | about 3 months ago | (#47072125)

Some numbers about the computing power at the CERN computing center (July 2013):

Number of machines: 17,000 processors with 85,000 cores (Source)
All physics computing is done using the Linux operating system and commodity PC hardware. There are few Solaris server machines as well, especially for databases (Oracle).

And Yes, it can run Crysis.

Heard a talk from a CERN physicist (2)

werepants (1912634) | about 3 months ago | (#47070955)

They are collecting an incredible amount of data every instant that this machine is running - they've got extremely capable processing that combs through terabits of data and discards the 99.9% that is irrelevant, so that they merely have to store gigabits to disk (as it is, they have an incredible amount of storage on site). Some pretty impressive computing they have to go through before they even begin to look at the data.

Re:Heard a talk from a CERN physicist (1)

kyrsjo (2420192) | about 3 months ago | (#47077169)

Luckilly most of that is done in the trigger of the experiment, where dedicated hardware solutions filter out a lot. These boards typically sits physically close to the experiment, monitoring a few key subdetectors. When one of a list of pre-programmed conditions occur, they read out all the data from that event, and pass it on to higher levels of sorting. This has to happen very quickly, as there is a new collission every 25 ns, and each of the subdetectors can only hold the data for a few events before it "rolls off the pipeline".

It's kind of a very very fast spamfilter...

Billions of dollar in the lab (2)

Rinikusu (28164) | about 3 months ago | (#47071135)

And we still have to drink Sanka.

Catchy title -- The Higgs already had too much. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47073025)

And while we are at Santa's list, me, I want a red Mustang for five bucks, so I can get the most out of the Bay Area commute.

Potential missing staff in some areas is a separate issue, and educational programmes are not designed to make up for it. On-the-job learning and training are not separated but dynamically linked together, benefiting to both parties. In my three years of operation, I have unfortunately witnessed cases where CERN duties and educational training became contradictory and even conflicting.

http://ombuds.web.cern.ch/blog/2013/06/lets-not-confuse-students-and-fellows-missing-staff

"How should we make it attractive for them [young people] to spend 5,6,7 years in our field, be satisfied, learn about excitement, but finally be qualified to find other possibilities?" -- H. Schopper

Indeed, even while giving complete satisfaction, they have no forward vision about the possibility of pursuing a career at CERN.

This lack of an element of social responsibility in the contract policy is unacceptable. Rather than serve as a cushion of laziness for supervisors, who often have only a limited and utilitarian view when defining the opening of an IC post, the contract policy must ensure the inclusion of an element of social justice, which is cruelly absent today.

http://staff-association.web.cern.ch/content/unsatisfactory-contract-policy

And a warning to non-western members:

"The cost [...] has been evaluated, taking into account realistic labor prices in different countries. The total cost is X (with a western equivalent value of Y) [where Y>X] source: LHCb calorimeters : Technical Design Report

ISBN: 9290831693 http://cdsweb.cern.ch/record/494264

"You make it, we break it." (1)

InvalidError (771317) | about 3 months ago | (#47073753)

The nuclear and elemental particle physicists' message to God.

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