Particle Physics and Particle Astrophysics Research

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e-science and the Grid

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The LHC Computing Grid

The particle physics community is now well on the way to completing the worlds largest grid of computers. This grid - the LHC Computing Grid - will enable physicists to analyse the massive volumes of data that will flow from the LHC when it begins operation in 2007. The LHC is expected to produce several petabytes of data per year and require the equvalent of several thousand desktop PC's to analyse this data. The LCG is designed to provide both the physical infrastructure and the software environment to achieve this goal.

LCG2 Test Sites

Image of the European grid

The LCG is organised into Tiers with Tier 0 being CERN and each national entity having one Tier 1 site. Regional contributions the the grid are organised into Tier 2 sites and Sheffield is a member of Northgrid together with Manchester, Liverpool and Lancaster Universities. A map showing the UK centres can be found here.

LCG Tiers

Image of the LCG tier structure.

The Local Grid Node

The Sheffield Grid cluster consists of 162 high powered Opteron processors running the latest grid middleware and has been fully operational since February 2005. Over the past year the Sheffield grid node has provided over 8% of the total tier 2 computing cycles used.

LCG cluster by night

Image of LGC computer.

CPU Usage 2005

Table of tier 2 cpu cycles.

Using the Grid

In order to use the LCG a user must first obtain an eScience certificate from: and in addition they must be a member of a supported Virtual Organisation. The user then needs to obtain an account on a User Inteface (UI) machine locally. Full documentation is avalable on the LGC website.

The current status of the Sheffield grid cluster can be seen here.


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