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The Grid… wow.

The Grid… wow.

It’s Internet evolution – super-savvy scientists have designed an extremely fast information network capable of downloading data at 10,000 times the speed of a typical broadband connection.


CERN has designed the network – The Grid – to cope with the staggering amount of data it’s new particle accelerator will produce. CERN’s particle accelerator – the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) – has been built to shed light on the origins of the universe, and will produce enough data each year to fill 56 million CDs. The scope of the task meant scientists at CERN needed to create a network capable of handling and analysing enormous amounts of data. An epic task.

The Grid is a kind of parallel Internet, consisting of 55,000 servers connected to each other using fibre optic cables and modern routers. The Internet, in comparison, relies on technology originally designed for telephony, which slows the transfer of data. Fibre optic cables run from CERN to 11 other research institutes around the world. Each of these centres connects to existing high-speed academic networks. Computers on the grid are able to send entire movies to personal computers in seconds, rather than minutes or hours, and could enable holographic video calls and online gaming involving hundreds of thousands of people.

The Times quoted David Britton, a physics professor at Glasgow University, as saying the grid technologies could “revolutionise society” .

“With this kind of computing power, future generations will have the ability to collaborate and communicate in ways older people like me cannot imagine.”

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Yours in design,


Belinda Vesey-Brown About the author
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