The Grid: No, Really

CERN logoImage via WikipediaNo, it’s not science fiction. It’s the Internet on steroids, enabling downloads 10,000 times faster than today’s typical broadband connection. It’s called “the Grid” and it’s coming to your computer this summer.
Seven years in the making, The Grid will fully come alive in late June, when the European particle physics laboratory CERN fires up its massive Large Hadron Collider (LHC), which is buried under France and Switzerland. Scientists will cause hydrogen particles, hurtling at near-lightspeed, to crash into each other, creating mini-explosions at temperatures hotter than the sun.

In a fraction of a second, each crash will generate a flood of data, which will be picked up by sensors and routed to computers all over the globe for analysis. Some 2.3 Terabytes (2.3 million million bytes) of data will be generated each day of the experiment.

Since that data storm would easily overwhelm today’s Internet, engineers created The Grid to handle the deluge. They set it up with dedicated fiber optic cables and state-of-the-art routing centers. They’ve got 55,000 servers installed now, and expect to have 200,000 within two years. See the movie on YouTube.

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