CERN-Large Hadron Collider

The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is a large scientific instrument near Geneva, spanning the border between Switzerland and France about 100 m underground. It is a particle accelerator used by physicists to study the smallest known particles, the fundamental building blocks of all things. It will revolutionise our understanding, from the minuscule world deep within atoms to the vastness of the Universe.

Two beams of subatomic particles called 'hadrons' either protons or lead ions will travel in opposite directions inside the circular accelerator, gaining energy with every lap. Physicists will use the LHC to recreate the conditions just after the Big Bang, by colliding the two beams head-on at very high energy. Teams of physicists from around the world will analyse the particles created in the collisions using special detectors in a number of experiments dedicated to the LHC.

The Large Hadron Collider will produce roughly 15 petabytes (15 million gigabytes) of data annually, enough to fill more than 1.7 million dual-layer DVDs a year! Thousands of scientists around the world want to access and analyse this data, so CERN is collaborating with institutions in 34 different countries to operate a distributed computing and data storage infrastructure: the Worldwide LHC Computing Grid (WLCG).

Data from the LHC experiments is distributed around the globe, with a primary backup recorded on tape at CERN. After initial processing, this data is distributed to eleven large computer centres in Canada, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, the Nordic countries, Spain, Taipei, the UK, and two sites in the USA with sufficient storage capacity for a large fraction of the data, and with round-the-clock support for the computing grid. These so-called Tier-1 centres make the data available to over 160 Tier-2 centres for specific analysis tasks. Individual scientists can then access the LHC data from their home country, using local computer clusters or even individual PCs.

NKN currently connects two Tier-2 centres namely VECC and TIFR. With a NKN POP in their vicinity, they are instrumental in addressing the growing demand of enhanced bandwidth from different institutions desirous of working on the LHC project. With NKN as the backbone they can provide the network speed for high-end processing multiple and simultaneous transfers of date rates and low latency that real time applications require. NKN also provides multi-gigabit connectivity to the European grid.