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  • richardmitnick 8:46 am on July 31, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: CERN, Pakistan   

    From CERN: “Pakistan becomes Associate Member State of CERN” 

    CERN New Masthead

    31 Jul 2015
    Cian O’Luanaigh

    Today, the Islamic Republic of Pakistan became an Associate Member of CERN. This follows notification that Pakistan has ratified an agreement signed in December, granting that status to the country.

    Pakistan and CERN signed a Co-operation Agreement in 1994. The signature of several protocols followed this agreement, and Pakistan contributed to building the CMS and ATLAS experiments. Pakistan contributes today to the ALICE and CMS experiments. Pakistan is also involved in accelerator developments, making it an important partner for CERN.

    The Associate Membership of Pakistan will open a new era of cooperation that will strengthen the long-term partnership between CERN and the Pakistani scientific community. Associate Membership will allow Pakistan to participate in the governance of CERN, through attending the meetings of the CERN Council. Moreover, it will allow Pakistani scientists to become members of the CERN staff, and to participate in CERN’s training and career-development programmes. Finally, it will allow Pakistani industry to bid for CERN contracts, thus opening up opportunities for industrial collaboration in areas of advanced technology.

    See the full article here.

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    Meet CERN in a variety of places:

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    THE FOUR MAJOR PROJECT COLLABORATIONS

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    CERN ATLAS New
    ALICE
    CERN ALICE New

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    LHC particles

    Quantum Diaries

     
  • richardmitnick 9:31 am on July 28, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , CERN,   

    From CERN: “A miniature accelerator to treat cancer” 

    CERN New Masthead

    28 Jul 2015
    Matilda Heron

    1
    Serge Mathot with the first of the four modules that will make up the miniature accelerator (Image: Maximilien Brice/CERN)

    CERN, home of the 27-kilometre Large Hadron Collider (LHC), is developing a new particle accelerator. just two metres long.

    The miniature linear accelerator (mini-Linac) is designed for use in hospitals for imaging and the treatment of cancer. It will consist of four modules, each 50cm long, the first of which has already been constructed. “With this first module we have validated all of the stages of construction and the concept in general”, says Serge Mathot of the CERN engineering department.

    Designing an accelerator for medical purposes presented a new technological challenge for the CERN team. “We knew the technology was within our reach after all those years we had spent developing Linac4,” says Maurizio Vretenar, coordinator of the mini-Linac project. Linac4, a larger accelerator designed to boost negative hydrogen ions to high energies, is scheduled to be connected to the CERN accelerator complex in 2020.

    The miniature accelerator is a radiofrequency quadrupole (RFQ), a component found at the start of all proton accelerator chains. RFQs are designed to produce high-intensity beams. The challenge for the mini-Linac was to double the operating frequency of the RFQ in order to shorten its length. This desired high frequency had never before been achieved. “Thanks to new beam dynamics and innovative ideas for the radiofrequency and mechanical aspects, we came up with an accelerator design that was much better adapted to the practical requirements of medical applications,” says Alessandra Lombardi, in charge of the design of the RFQ.

    The “mini-RFQ” can produce low-intensity beams, with no significant losses, of just a few microamps that are grouped at a frequency of 750 MHz. These specifications make the “mini-RFQ” a perfect injector for the new generation of high-frequency, compact linear accelerators used for the treatment of cancer with protons.

    And the potential applications go beyond hadron therapy. The accelerator’s small size and light weight mean that is can be set up in hospitals to produce radioactive isotopes for medical imaging. Producing isotopes on site solves the complicated issue of transporting radioactive materials and means that a wider range of isotopes can be produced.

    The “mini-RFQ” will also be capable of accelerating alpha particles for advanced radiotherapy. As the accelerator can be fairly easily transported, it could also be used for other purposes, such as the analysis of archaeological materials.

    See the full article here.

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    Meet CERN in a variety of places:

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    THE FOUR MAJOR PROJECT COLLABORATIONS

    ATLAS
    CERN ATLAS New
    ALICE
    CERN ALICE New

    CMS
    CERN CMS New

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    LHC

    CERN LHC New
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    Quantum Diaries

     
  • richardmitnick 9:34 am on July 16, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , CERN, Sri Lanka   

    From CERN: “CERN and Sri Lanka develop partnership” 

    CERN New Masthead

    16 Jul 2015
    Corinne Pralavorio

    1
    CERN Director General Rolf Heuer and Sri Lanka‘s Permanent Representative in Geneva, Ambassador Ravinatha Aryasinha, sign the Expression of Interest witnessed by Mrs. Samantha Jayasuriya, Deputy Permanent Representative and Ms. Dilini Gunasekera, Second Secretary of the Sri Lanka Permanent Mission, and by CERN’s Head of International Relations Rüdiger Voss.(Image: Maximilien Brice/CERN)

    CERN and Sri Lanka have formed a partnership with the aim of formalizing and broadening their cooperation. To this end, CERN Director General Rolf Heuer and Sri Lanka‘s Permanent Representative at the UN in Geneva, Ambassador Ravinatha Aryasinha, signed an Expression of Interest on Thursday 25 June 2015.

    This agreement will pave the way for international cooperation with Sri Lanka in order to enhance collaboration and scholarly exchanges with CERN and to expose students, university scientists, engineers, and research institutes from Sri Lanka to cutting edge technology and research in the field of high-energy physics.

    This agreement incorporates Sri Lanka in CERN’s High School Teachers and Summer Student Programmes. It also aims at preparing a platform that will include scientists from Sri Lanka to participate in CERN’s cutting-edge research programmes. Several scientists from Sri Lankan universities have participated in LHC experiments within the frameworks of sabbatical leaves or similar, whereas others have participated as visiting scientist employed by universities in third countries. In order to allow for a broader and more sustained participation, discussions have started in order to form a “cluster” of Sri Lankan Universities and research institutes with the aim of joining one of the LHC collaborations.

    Sri Lanka is the most recent Asian Country to have strengthened its partnership with CERN. Other countries include those as diverse as Bangladesh, Thailand, Indonesia and Mongolia.

    See the full article here.

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

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    THE FOUR MAJOR PROJECT COLLABORATIONS

    ATLAS
    CERN ATLAS New
    ALICE
    CERN ALICE New

    CMS
    CERN CMS New

    LHCb
    CERN LHCb New

    LHC

    CERN LHC New
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    LHC particles

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  • richardmitnick 2:27 pm on May 7, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , CERN, , ,   

    From Symmetry: “The US and CERN upgrade their relationship” 

    Symmetry

    CERN LHC particles

    May 07, 2015
    Sarah Charley

    Today in a White House ceremony in Washington, DC, representatives from the US Department of Energy, the US National Science Foundation and the European research center CERN signed a cooperation agreement that lays the groundwork for continued joint research in particle physics and advanced computing both at CERN and in the United States.

    The agreement succeeds an existing US-CERN agreement, signed in 1997 and set to expire in 2017, that was the basis for significant US participation in research at the Large Hadron Collider.

    CERN LHC Map
    CERN LHC Grand Tunnel
    LHC

    The new agreement aligns the United States’ and CERN’s long-term strategies for particle physics and provides for “reciprocity,” opening the way for potential CERN participation in US-hosted experiments, including prospective projects focused on neutrinos.

    “Today’s agreement not only enables US scientists to continue their vital contribution to the important work at CERN, but it also opens the way to CERN’s participation in experiments hosted in the United States,” says Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz in a press release. “As we’ve seen, international collaboration between the United States and CERN helps provide a foundation for groundbreaking discoveries that push crucial scientific frontiers and expand our understanding of the universe.”

    The signing of the new agreement sets the stage for a new level of cooperation. CERN already has established a test facility that is being used to refurbish the 760-ton ICARUS neutrino detector before it is shipped to DOE’s Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory for use in a suite of experiments to search for a new type of neutrino.

    FNAL ICARUS
    ICARUS

    At the same time, more than 1700 scientists from US institutions are working on the next phase of the LHC experiments.

    “I am delighted to sign this agreement,” says CERN Director General Rolf Heuer in the press release. “It allows us to look forward to a fruitful long-term collaboration with the United States, in particular in guiding the Large Hadron Collider to its full potential over many years through a series of planned upgrades. This agreement is also historic since it formalizes CERN’s participation in US-based programs such as prospective future neutrino facilities for the first time.”

    Europe and the United States have a rich history of collaboration in particle physics research. In 1954, American physicist Isidor Rabi served as one of the founding members of CERN. Seven years later, Austrian-American physicist Victor Weisskopf became CERN’s director general. On the other side of the Atlantic, physicist Maurice Goldhaber, who received his PhD in England, became director of DOE’s Brookhaven National Laboratory in 1961, and European-born scientists, such as Carlo Rubbia, played significant roles in shaping the experimental program at Fermilab.

    Scientists from European institutions have made major contributions toward planning and advancing experiments at Fermilab, SLAC and other DOE national laboratories. In the last two decades, they accounted for up to 50 percent of the researchers working on the Tevatron and BaBar experiments in the US, which led to the discovery of the top quark and the observation of quark mixing in greater detail than ever before.

    FNALTevatron
    FNAL CDF
    FNAL DZero
    FNAL/Tevatron

    SLAC Babar
    SLAC/BaBar

    Simultaneously, US scientists played significant roles in the four experiments at CERN’s Large Electron-Positron collider. MIT physicist and Nobel Laureate Sam Ting, for example, led LEP’s L3 experiment.

    CERN LEP
    Cern/LEP

    In the 1990s, CERN invented the technology that would become the World Wide Web, revolutionizing the way in which people share information and do business. European research institutions and three US laboratories—SLAC, Fermilab and MIT—were the first ones to operate Web servers and publish webpages.

    Today, the American and European physics communities remain closely intertwined. Scientists and engineers from US institutions are heavily involved in LHC research, representing 20 percent of the ATLAS collaboration and 33 percent of the CMS collaboration.

    CERN ATLAS New
    ATLAS

    CERN CMS New
    CMS

    US scientists hold key leadership positions within the several-thousand-physicist collaborations, and they lead many of the physics analyses that study the properties of the Higgs boson and look for hints of new physics. UCLA physicist Joe Incandela, who was the spokesperson of the CMS experiment from 2012 to 2014, presented the collaboration’s results at the press conference that announced the discovery of the Higgs boson.

    US institutions also built vital parts of the LHC accelerator, including the focusing magnets that concentrate the high-energy particles into hair-thin beams as they enter the experimental halls and some of the cryogenic systems that keep the superconducting magnets at a frigid 1.7 Kelvin. And US institutions provide approximately a third of the computing power necessary to analyze the LHC data.

    “CERN is a place for explorers, in the truest sense of the word,” says NSF Director France A. Córdova in the press release. “The discoveries enabled by this world-class laboratory—insights into the Standard Model, into the fundamental nature of our universe—have yielded answers to some questions and produced new questions.”

    3
    Standard Model of Particle Physics. The diagram shows the elementary particles of the Standard Model (the Higgs boson, the three generations of quarks and leptons, and the gauge bosons), including their names, masses, spins, charges, chiralities, and interactions with the strong, weak and electromagnetic forces. It also depicts the crucial role of the Higgs boson in electroweak symmetry breaking, and shows how the properties of the various particles differ in the (high-energy) symmetric phase (top) and the (low-energy) broken-symmetry phase (bottom).

    Fabiola Gianotti, who will become the director general of CERN in 2016, served on the US Particle Physics Project Prioritization Panel, which in May 2014 outlined the plan for US particle physics research for the next decade. The panel’s top recommendations included the United States’ continued participation in LHC research and upgrades, as well as the establishment of an international, world-class neutrino research facility at Fermilab, culminating in the construction of the Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment.

    FNAL DUNE
    DUNE

    CERN is taking steps to coordinate and support European scientists’ participation in the US-based neutrino research program.

    The new agreement between CERN and the US has an initial five-year duration and, unless a change or termination is set in motion, will renew automatically every five years. It will enable American and European scientists to continue to develop technologies, build experiments and seek answers to questions such as: What is dark matter? Why do particles have mass? Are there more Higgs particles? Are neutrinos the key to the dominance of matter over antimatter in our universe?

    “Society and the global research community benefit greatly from productive scientific cooperation across borders,” says John P. Holdren, director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, in the press release. “Today’s agreement is a model for the kinds of international scientific collaboration that can enable breakthrough insights and innovations in areas of mutual interest.”

    See the full article here.

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    Symmetry is a joint Fermilab/SLAC publication.


     
  • richardmitnick 12:42 pm on March 18, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: CERN, CERN Control Center,   

    From Symmetry: “Inside the CERN Control Centre” 

    Symmetry

    March 18, 2015
    Sarah Charley

    Take a tour of one of the most important rooms at CERN.

    CERN is more than just the Large Hadron Collider. A complex network of beam lines feeds particles from one accelerator to the next, gradually ramping up their energy along the way.

    Before reaching the LHC, protons must first zip from the source, down a linear accelerator (Linac2), and through a series of other accelerators (the Proton Synchrotron Booster, the Proton Synchrotron and the Super Proton Synchrotron). Ions accelerated at CERN have their own unique journey through another set of accelerators that eventually bring them to the PS, SPS and finally, the LHC.

    At one point, each of CERN’s accelerators had its own team and its own control room—which made communication between the different accelerators cumbersome, says Mike Lamont, the Beam Department’s head of operations. “The guys running the SPS would have to push an intercom to communicate with the PS.” So, during the construction of the LHC, the control rooms were brought together into one room. The CERN Control Centre was born.

    If the accelerator complex is CERN’s nervous system, then the CCC is its brain. Let us take you on a tour of one of the most important rooms at CERN.

    The islands

    The CCC is made up of four “islands,” each a circular arrangement of consoles and displays. Each island hosts the controls for a set of machines.

    1
    Artwork by Sandbox Studio, Chicago

    CERN Control Center

    PS and Booster island

    This island controls the Proton Synchrotron (PS) and Booster, two of the oldest accelerators at CERN. The PS was CERN’s flagship machine when it accelerated its first protons in 1959. Now it passes its particles on to the Super Proton Synchrotron, which feeds particles either to the LHC or a number of fixed-target experiments. The PS also serves a number of other users, which include the anti-proton decelerator (the AD) and a neutron experimental facility (nTOF).

    2

    CERN Proton Synchrotron
    Proton Synchrotron

    CERN Booster
    Booster

    SPS island

    This island controls the Super Proton Synchrotron, the second largest accelerator in CERN’s complex. It ramps up the energy of protons and ions before diverting them to fixed-target experiments or injecting them into the LHC.

    3

    CERN Super Proton Synchrotron
    Super Proton Synchrotron

    LHC island

    This island controls CERN’s largest and most powerful accelerator, the Large Hadron Collider. It’s the end of the line for particles that are about to get the ride of a lifetime. The LHC accelerates protons or ions to even higher energies and drives them into collisions in the center of the massive detectors of the ATLAS, ALICE, CMS and LHCb experiments.

    4

    CERN LHC Map
    CERN LHC Grand Tunnel
    CERN LHC particles
    LHC

    CERN ATLAS New
    ATLAS

    CERN ALICE New II
    ALICE

    CERN CMS New II
    CMS

    CERN LHCb New II
    LHCb

    Technical infrastructure island

    What would an accelerator be without power? The infrastructure that supports CERN’s accelerator complex is so important that it gets its own island in the CCC. Here, operators oversee things like the ventilation, safety systems and the electrical network. Even during a shutdown when no accelerators are running, there are always two people operating this island. A separate team also based at this island looks after the vast cryogenics system that cools the helium used in the LHC magnets.

    5

    Operators

    The men and women who oversee the performance of the accelerators are a collection of operators, engineers and physicists. They are responsible for ensuring that all of the equipment in CERN’s massive accelerator complex runs like clockwork.

    During operation with beam, there are always at least two operators per island to monitor the machines’ health and safety—even in the middle of the night and over the holidays.

    6

    Champagne bottles

    This row of empty bottles represents the history of the LHC: first beam in the LHC, record energy, record luminosity, first collisions and about a dozen other events. Operators, physicists and engineers celebrated them all with personalized bottles of bubbly—generously donated by the experiments as a “thank you” to the men and women in the CCC.

    7

    Wall screens

    How do you make sure an accelerator is healthy? You can check on it in real time. CERN’s accelerators are outfitted with special technology that monitors things such as beam quality, beam intensity, spacing between the proton bunches, cooling and the power supplies. The computer monitors lining the walls of the CCC give the operators real-time updates about the heath of the accelerators so that they can quickly respond if anything goes wrong.

    8

    Access Control

    Wedged between the computer screens are huge metal boxes with rows of yellow, green and red buttons and dangling keys. It looks like something you might find in a 1960s sci-fi movie, but it is actually the system that controls access to the underground areas.

    “This allows us to let people into ring,” Lamont says. “It’s carefully controlled because this area can contain a high level of radiation, so we want to make sure we know who goes in and out.” The need for very high reliability is so important that the operators in the CCC use physical keys and switches instead of a software system.

    See the full article here.

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    Symmetry is a joint Fermilab/SLAC publication.


     
  • richardmitnick 4:07 am on March 6, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , CERN   

    From CERN: “LHC injector tests to begin” 

    CERN New Masthead

    6 Mar 2015
    Cian O’Luanaigh

    1
    A “splash event” in the LHCb detector, recorded during an injection test in 2009 (Image: LHCb)

    With the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) due to start up again at the end of this month, the team in the LHC Control Centre are busy testing the systems that deliver the beams.

    At CERN, a series of accelerators boosts protons or ions to successively higher energies until they are injected into the LHC. The LHC then further accelerates the particles before delivering collisions to the four detectors ALICE, ATLAS, CMS and LHCb. The penultimate accelerator in the chain is the Super Proton Synchrotron (SPS), a machine nearly 7 kilometres in circumference, which receives particles from the Proton Synchrotron at 26 GeV, and boosts them to the 450 GeV needed for injection to the LHC.

    Now, the LHC control team is testing the injection systems to ensure that the upcoming startup of the accelerator runs as smoothly as possible. Though particles will be injected into parts of the LHC this weekend, there will be no fully circulating beams until the planned startup at the end of this month.

    “We will do two tests,” says Ronaldus Suykerbuyk of the LHC operation team. “Beam 1 will pass through the ALICE detector up to point 3, where we will dump the beam on a collimator, and for Beam 2 we will go through the LHCb detector up to the beam dump at point 6.” A screen placed in the beam pipe will register a successful pass as a bright dot. The team will also record other parameters, including the timings of the injection kickers – fast pulsing dipole magnets that “kick” the beam into the accelerator – and the beam trajectory in the injection lines and LHC beam pipe.

    2
    Beams will not circulate all the way around the LHC, but rather reach point 3 and point 6 during the tests (Image: Leonard Rimensberger/CERN)

    “This test really is a massive debugging exercise,” says Mike Lamont, head of the operations team. “We’ve already pre-tested all the control systems without beam. If the beam goes around we’ll be happy!”

    The ALICE and LHCb experiments are preparing their detectors to receive the pulses of particles. “ALICE will receive muons originating from the SPS beam dump,” says ALICE physicist Despina Hatzifotiadou, “They will be used for trigger timing studies and to align the muon spectrometer”.

    LHCb will also be taking data. “These tests create an excellent opportunity for us to commission the LHCb detector and data-acquisition system. The collected data are also invaluable for detector studies and alignment purposes, that is, determining the relative geometrical locations of the different sub-detectors with respect to each other,” says Patrick Robbe of LHCb. “It’s exciting because the tests show that we are getting closer and closer to the restart!”

    But there is still much work to do before first circulating beams, says Suykerbuyk. “We have to finish all the powering tests and magnet training as well as test all the other hardware and beam-diagnostic systems.” It’s going to be a busy few weeks for all concerned.

    See the full article here.

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    Meet CERN in a variety of places:

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    THE FOUR MAJOR PROJECT COLLABORATIONS

    ATLAS
    CERN ATLAS New
    ALICE
    CERN ALICE New

    CMS
    CERN CMS New

    LHCb
    CERN LHCb New

    LHC

    CERN LHC New

    CERN LHC Grand Tunnel

    LHC particles

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  • richardmitnick 9:51 am on December 19, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , CERN   

    From CERN: “Long Shutdown 1: Exciting times ahead” 

    CERN New Masthead

    Posted by Cian O’Luanaigh on 8 Feb 2013.
    Updated 11 Dec 2014
    Caroline Duc

    The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) has provided physicists with a huge quantity of data to analyse since the first physics run in 2009. Now it’s time for the machine, along with CERN’s other accelerators, to get a facelift. “Long Shutdown 1″ (LS1) will begin on 14 February 2013, but this doesn’t mean that life at CERN will be any less rich and exciting. Although there will be no collisions for a period of almost two years, the whole CERN site will be a hive of activity, with large-scale work under way to modernize the infrastructure and prepare the LHC for operation at higher energy.

    1
    Over 10,000 high-current splices between LHC magnets will be opened and consolidated during the first Long Shutdown of the LHC. This image shows their installation in 2007 (Image: CERN)

    “A whole series of renovation work will be carried out around the LHC during LS1,” says Simon Baird, deputy head of the Engineering department. “The key driver is of course the consolidation of the 10,170 high-current splices (link is external) between the superconducting magnets. The teams will start by opening up the 1695 interconnections between each of the cryostats of the main magnets. They will repair and consolidate around 500 interconnections simultaneously. The maintenance work will gradually cover the entire 27-kilometre circumference of the LHC.” The LHC will be upgraded as well as renovated during the period concerned. In the framework of the Radiation to Electronics project (R2E), sensitive electronic equipment protection will be optimized by relocating the equipment or by adding shielding.

    The work will by no means be confined to the LHC. Major renovation work is scheduled, for example, for the Proton Synchrotron (PS) and the Super Proton Synchrotron (SPS). During LS1 the upgrade of the PS access control system, which includes the installation of 25 new biometrically controlled access points, will continue. The whole tunnel ventilation system will also be dismantled and replaced, with 25 air-handling units representing a cumulated flow rate of 576,000 cubic metres per hour to be installed around the accelerator’s 628-metre circumference. Meanwhile, at the SPS, about 100 kilometres of radiation-damaged cables used in the instrumentation and control systems will be removed or replaced.

    CERN will take advantage of LS1 to improve the installations connected with the experiments, accelerators, electronics, and so on, with a view to a spectacular resumption of its main activities after the shutdown. While the shutdown work is in progress, life at the laboratory will be anything but boring. Stay tuned to keep abreast of all the developments.

    See the full article here.

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

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    Meet CERN in a variety of places:

    Cern Courier

    THE FOUR MAJOR PROJECT COLLABORATIONS

    ATLAS
    CERN ATLAS New
    ALICE
    CERN ALICE New

    CMS
    CERN CMS New

    LHCb
    CERN LHCb New

    LHC

    CERN LHC New

    LHC particles

    Quantum Diaries

     
  • richardmitnick 10:28 pm on December 3, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , CERN, , , , , , ,   

    From isgtw: “Volunteer computing: 10 years of supporting CERN through LHC@home” 


    international science grid this week

    December 3, 2014
    Andrew Purcell

    LHC@home recently celebrated a decade since its launch in 2004. Through its SixTrack project, the LHC@home platform harnesses the power of volunteer computing to model the progress of sub-atomic particles traveling at nearly the speed of light around the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN, near Geneva, Switzerland. It typically simulates about 60 particles whizzing around the collider’s 27km-long ring for ten seconds, or up to one million loops. Results from SixTrack were used to help the engineers and physicists at CERN design stable beam conditions for the LHC, so today the beams stay on track and don’t cause damage by flying off course into the walls of the vacuum tube. It’s now also being used to carry out simulations relevant to the design of the next phase of the LHC, known as the High-Luminosity LHC.

    CERN LHC Map
    CERN LHC Grand Tunnel
    CERN LHC particles
    LHC at CERN

    “The results of SixTrack played an essential role in the design of the LHC, and the high-luminosity upgrades will naturally require additional development work on SixTrack,” explains Frank Schmidt, who works in CERN’s Accelerators and Beam Physics Group of the Beams Department and is the main author of the SixTrack code. “In addition to its use in the design stage, SixTrack is also a key tool for the interpretation of data taken during the first run of the LHC,” adds Massimo Giovannozzi, who also works in CERN’s Accelerators and Beams Physics Group. “We use it to improve our understanding of particle dynamics, which will help us to push the LHC performance even further over the coming years of operation.” He continues: “Managing a project like SixTrack within LHC@home requires resources and competencies that are not easy to find: Igor Zacharov, a senior scientist at the Particle Accelerator Physics Laboratory (LPAP) of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL), provides valuable support for SixTrack by helping with BOINC integration.”

    c
    Volunteer computing is a type of distributed computing through which members of the public donate computing resources (usually processing power) to aid research projects. Image courtesy Eduardo Diez Viñuela, Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0).

    Before LHC@home was created, SixTrack was run only on desktop computers at CERN, using a platform called the Compact Physics Screen Saver (CPSS). This proved to be a useful tool for a proof of concept, but it was first with the launch of the LHC@home platform in 2004 that things really took off. “I am surprised and delighted by the support from our volunteers,” says Eric McIntosh, who formerly worked in CERN’s IT Department and is now an honorary member of the Beams Department. “We now have over 100,000 users all over the world and many more hosts. Every contribution is welcome, however small, as our strength lies in numbers.”

    Virtualization to the rescue

    Building on the success of SixTrack, the Virtual LHC@home project (formerly known as Test4Theory) was launched in 2011. It enables users to run simulations of high-energy particle physics using their home computers, with the results submitted to a database used as a common resource by both experimental and theoretical scientists working on the LHC.

    Whereas the code for SixTrack was ported for running on Windows, OS X, and Linux, the high-energy-physics code used by each of the LHC experiments is far too large to port in a similar way. It is also being constantly updated. “The experiments at CERN have their own libraries and they all run on Linux, while the majority of people out there have common-or-garden variety Windows machines,” explains CERN honorary staff member of the IT department and chief technology officer of the Citizen Cyberscience Centre Ben Segal. “Virtualization is the way to solve this problem.”

    The birth of the LHC@home platform

    In 2004, Ben Segal and François Grey , who were both members of CERN’s IT department at the time, were asked to plan an outreach event for CERN’s 50th anniversary that would help people around the world to get an impression of the computational challenges facing the LHC. “I had been an early volunteer for SETI@home after it was launched in 1999,” explains Grey. “Volunteer computing was often used as an illustration of what distributed computing means when discussing grid technology. It seemed to me that it ought to be feasible to do something similar for LHC computing and perhaps even combine volunteer computing and grid computing this way.”

    “I contacted David Anderson, the person behind SETI@Home, and it turned out the timing was good, as he was working on an open-source platform called BOINC to enable many projects to use the SETI@home approach,” Grey continues. BOINC (Berkeley Open Infrastructures for Network Computing)is an open-source software platform for computing with volunteered resources. It was first developed at the University of California, Berkeley in the US to manage the SETI@Home project, and uses the unused CPU and GPU cycles on a computer to support scientific research.

    “I vividly remember the day we phoned up David Anderson in Berkeley to see if we could make a SETI-like computing challenge for CERN,” adds Segal. “We needed a CERN application that ran on Windows, as over 90% of BOINC volunteers used that. The SixTrack people had ported their code to Windows and had already built a small CERN-only desktop grid to run it on, as they needed lots of CPU power. So we went with that.”

    A runaway success

    “I was worried that no one would find the LHC as interesting as SETI. Bear in mind that this was well before the whole LHC craziness started with the Angels and Demons movie, and news about possible mini black holes destroying the planet making headlines,” says Grey. “We made a soft launch, without any official announcements, in 2004. To our astonishment, the SETI@home community immediately jumped in, having heard about LHC@home by word of mouth. We had over 1,000 participants in 24 hours, and over 7,000 by the end of the week — our server’s maximum capacity.” He adds: “We’d planned to run the volunteer computing challenge for just three months, at the time of the 50th anniversary. But the accelerator physicists were hooked and insisted the project should go on.”

    Predrag Buncic, who is now coordinator of the offline group within the ALICE experiment, led work to create the CERN Virtual Machine in 2008. He, Artem Harutyunyan (former architect and lead developer of CernVM Co-Pilot), and Segal subsequently adopted this virtualization technology for use within Virtual LHC@home. This has made it significantly easier for the experiments at CERN to create their own volunteer computing applications, since it is no longer necessary for them to port their code. The long-term vision for Virtual LHC@home is to support volunteer-computing applications for each of the large LHC experiments.
    Growth of the platform

    The ATLAS experiment recently launched a project that simulates the creation and decay of supersymmetric bosons and fermions. “ATLAS@Home offers the chance for the wider public to participate in the massive computation required by the ATLAS experiment and to contribute to the greater understanding of our universe,” says David Cameron, a researcher at the University of Oslo in Norway. “ATLAS also gains a significant computing resource at a time when even more resources will be required for the analysis of data from the second run of the LHC.”

    CERN ATLAS New
    ATLAS

    ATLAS@home

    Meanwhile, the LHCb experiment has been running a limited test prototype for over a year now, with an application running Beauty physics simulations set to be launched for the Virtual LHC@home project in the near future. The CMS and ALICE experiments also have plans to launch similar applications.

    CERN LHCb New
    LHCb

    CERN CMS New
    CMS

    CERN ALICE New
    ALICE

    An army of volunteers

    “LHC@home allows CERN to get additional computing resources for simulations that cannot easily be accommodated on regular batch or grid resources,” explains Nils Høimyr, the member of the CERN IT department responsible for running the platform. “Thanks to LHC@home, thousands of CPU years of accelerator beam dynamics simulations for LHC upgrade studies have been done with SixTrack, and billions of events have been simulated with Virtual LHC@home.” He continues: “Furthermore, the LHC@home platform has been an outreach channel, giving publicity to LHC and high-energy physics among the general public.”

    See the full article here.

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.
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    Stem Education Coalition

    iSGTW is an international weekly online publication that covers distributed computing and the research it enables.

    “We report on all aspects of distributed computing technology, such as grids and clouds. We also regularly feature articles on distributed computing-enabled research in a large variety of disciplines, including physics, biology, sociology, earth sciences, archaeology, medicine, disaster management, crime, and art. (Note that we do not cover stories that are purely about commercial technology.)

    In its current incarnation, iSGTW is also an online destination where you can host a profile and blog, and find and disseminate announcements and information about events, deadlines, and jobs. In the near future it will also be a place where you can network with colleagues.

    You can read iSGTW via our homepage, RSS, or email. For the complete iSGTW experience, sign up for an account or log in with OpenID and manage your email subscription from your account preferences. If you do not wish to access the website’s features, you can just subscribe to the weekly email.”

     
  • richardmitnick 9:56 pm on November 27, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , CERN, , ,   

    From CERN: “How bright is the LHC?” 

    CERN New Masthead

    Nov 27, 2014
    l

    The LHCb Collaboration has published the results of a luminosity calibration with a precision of 1.12%. This is the most precise luminosity measurement achieved so far at a bunched-beam hadron collider.

    lm
    LHC beam results

    The absolute luminosity at a particle collider. is not only an important figure of merit for the machine, it is also a necessity for determining the absolute cross-sections for reaction processes. Specifically, the number of interactions, N, measured in an experiment depends on the value of cross-section σ and luminosity L, N = σL, so the precision obtained in measuring a given cross-section depends critically on the precision with which the luminosity is known. The luminosity itself depends on the number of particles in each collider beam and on the size of overlap of both beams at the collision point. At the LHC, dedicated instruments measure the beam currents, and hence the number of particles in each colliding beam, while the experiments measure the size of overlap of the beams at the collision point.

    A standard method to determine the overlap of the beams is the van der Meer scan, invented in 1968 by Simon van der Meer to measure luminosity in CERN’s Intersecting Storage Rings, the world’s first hadron collider. This technique, which involves scanning the beams across each other and monitoring the interaction rate, has been used by all of the four large LHC experiments. However, LHCb physicists proposed an alternative method in 2005 – the beam-gas imaging (BGI) method – which they successfully applied for the first time in 2009. This takes advantage of the excellent precision of LHCb’s Vertex Locator, a detector that is placed around the proton–proton collision point. The BGI method is based on reconstructing the vertices of “beam-gas” interactions, i.e. interactions between beam particles and residual gas nuclei in the beam pipe to measure the angles, positions and shapes of the individual beams without displacing them.

    To date, LHCb is the only experiment capable of using the BGI method. The technique involves calibrating the luminosity during special measurement periods at the LHC, and then tracking relative changes through changes in the counting rate in different sub-detectors. However, the vacuum pressure in the LHC is so low that for the technique to work with high precision, the beam–gas collision rate was increased by injecting neon gas into the LHC beam pipe during the luminosity calibration periods. This allowed the LHCb physicists to obtain precise images of the shapes of the individual beams, as illustrated in the left and middle graphs of the figure, which unraveled subtle but important features of the distributions of beam particles. By combining the beam–gas data with the measured distribution of beam–beam interactions, which provides the shape of the luminous region (the right graph in the figure), an accurate calibration of the luminosity was achieved.

    The beam–gas data also revealed that a small fraction of the beam’s charge is spread outside of the expected (i.e. “nominal”) bunch locations. Because only collisions of protons located in the nominal bunches are included in physics measurements, it was important to measure which fraction of the total beam current measured with the LHC’s current monitors participated in the collisions, i.e. contributed to the luminosity. Only LHCb could measure this fraction with sufficient precision, so the results of LHCb’s measurements of the fraction of charge outside the nominal bunch locations – the so-called “ghost” charge – were also used by the ALICE, ATLAS and CMS experiments.

    For proton–proton interactions at 8 TeV, a relative precision of the luminosity calibration of 1.47% was obtained using van der Meer scans and 1.43% using beam–gas imaging, resulting in a combined precision of 1.12%. The BGI method has proved to be so successful that it will now be used to measure beam sizes as part of monitoring and studying the LHC beams. Dedicated equipment will be installed in a modified region of the LHC ring near Point 4. This system, dubbed the Beam-Gas Vertexing system (BGV), is being developed by a collaboration from CERN, EPFL and RTWH Aachen. It includes a gas-injection system and a scintillating-fibre tracker telescope, which are expected to be commissioned with beam in 2015.

    See the full article here.

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

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    Meet CERN in a variety of places:

    Cern Courier

    THE FOUR MAJOR PROJECT COLLABORATIONS

    ATLAS
    CERN ATLAS New
    ALICE
    CERN ALICE New

    CMS
    CERN CMS New

    LHCb
    CERN LHCb New

    LHC

    CERN LHC New

    LHC particles

    Quantum Diaries

     
  • richardmitnick 12:27 pm on November 20, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , CERN, , ,   

    From CERN: “CERN makes public first data of LHC experiments” 

    CERN New Masthead

    20 Nov 2014
    Cian O’Luanaigh

    CERN today launched its Open Data Portal where data from real collision events, produced by experiments at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) will for the first time be made openly available to all. It is expected that these data will be of high value for the research community, and also be used for education purposes.

    CERN LHC Map
    CERN LHC Grand Tunnel
    CERN LHC particles
    LHC at CERN

    cern

    “Launching the CERN Open Data Portal is an important step for our Organization. Data from the LHC programme are among the most precious assets of the LHC experiments, that today we start sharing openly with the world. We hope these open data will support and inspire the global research community, including students and citizen scientists,” says CERN Director-General Rolf Heuer.

    The principle of openness is enshrined in CERN’s founding Convention, and all LHC publications have been published Open Access, free for all to read and re-use. Widening the scope, the LHC collaborations recently approved Open Data policies and will release collision data over the coming years.

    The first high-level and analysable collision data openly released come from the CMS experiment and were originally collected in 2010 during the first LHC run. This data set is now publicly available on the CERN Open Data Portal. Open source software to read and analyse the data is also available, together with the corresponding documentation. The CMS collaboration is committed to releasing its data three years after collection, after they have been thoroughly studied by the collaboration.

    CERN CMS New
    CMS

    “This is all new and we are curious to see how the data will be re-used,” says CMS data preservation coordinator Kati Lassila-Perini. “We’ve prepared tools and examples of different levels of complexity from simplified analysis to ready-to-use online applications. We hope these examples will stimulate the creativity of external users.”

    In parallel, the CERN Open Data Portal gives access to additional event data sets from the ALICE, ATLAS, CMS and LHCb collaborations, which have been specifically prepared for educational purposes, such as the international masterclasses in particle physics benefiting over ten thousand high-school students every year. These resources are accompanied by visualisation tools.

    CERN ALICE New
    ALICE

    CERN ATLAS New
    ATLAS

    CERN LHCb New
    LHCb

    “Our own data policy foresees data preservation and its sharing. We have seen that students are fascinated by being able to analyse LHC data in the past and so, we are very happy to take the first steps and make available some selected data for education” says Silvia Amerio, data preservation coordinator of the LHCb experiment.

    “The development of this Open Data Portal represents a first milestone in our mission to serve our users in preserving and sharing their research materials. It will ensure that the data and tools can be accessed and used, now and in the future,” says Tim Smith of the CERN IT Department.

    All data on OpenData.cern.ch are shared under a Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication; data and software are assigned unique DOI identifiers to make them citable in scientific articles; and software is released under open source licenses. The CERN Open Data Portal is built on the open-source Invenio Digital Library software, which powers other CERN Open Science tools and initiatives.

    See the full article here.

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon
    Stem Education Coalition

    Meet CERN in a variety of places:

    Cern Courier

    THE FOUR MAJOR PROJECT COLLABORATIONS

    ATLAS
    CERN ATLAS New
    ALICE
    CERN ALICE New

    CMS
    CERN CMS New

    LHCb
    CERN LHCb New

    LHC

    CERN LHC New

    LHC particles

    Quantum Diaries

    ScienceSprings relies on technology from

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