From Symmetry: “Achievement unlocked: 100 petabytes of data”

Experiments at the Large Hadron Collider reached a milestone in data collection just before the accelerator’s last collisions for the next two years.


February 13, 2013
Ashley WennersHerron and Kelly Izlar

“A collective library of every written word, in every language, would contain about 50 petabytes of data. Today, just before the Large Hadron Collider smashed its last proton beams before a two-year shutdown, scientists there announced their experiments had recorded double that amount.

The accelerator, located on the border of Switzerland and France, sends two beams of protons in opposite directions around a 17-mile ring, bringing them into collision at four points. Six detectors—two multipurpose and four optimized to monitor specific phenomena—collect data from what happens in these collisions.

‘Every experiment has at least two copies of the data they decide to keep,’ says Alberto Pace, the leader of CERN’s data management group. The first copy is recorded to compact discs, and the second is recorded to tape, a more permanent and reliable archiving tool.

Initially, each experiment was able to send about one gigabyte of data per second to be recorded. That’s about 1000 mp3s every single second. Now, they can send about six gigabytes per second. And they have plans to go even further.

‘We’ll improve the system during the long shutdown,’ Pace says. ‘We want to make sure that, if the experiments need a higher data transfer rate, it’ll be possible.’”

See the full article here.

CERN New Masthead

LHC particles

Symmetry is a joint Fermilab/SLAC publication.