LHC Grid Fest – Switching the Grid on!

20 October 2008

GoogleEarth display of ATLAS Grid activities

On Friday 3rd October, Grid-enthusiasts gathered – physically and virtually – from around the world for a special event: to celebrate the official switch-on of the Worldwide Large Hadron Collider Computing Grid. Attendees were representatives of all Grid sites, the funding agencies, the LHC experiments, and, last but not least, scientific reporters from the world media.

A morning dense with formal talks was followed by more technical discussions and demonstrations in the afternoon, including visits to the CERN computer centre and to the ATLAS and CMS control rooms. More than 40 journalists signed up for the ATLAS tours and visited the main control room and the “worldwide computing control room” in building 3162.

The CERN-IT department leader, Wolfgang von Rüden, unveils the Grid Globe during the ceremony in the Globe.

Wolfgang von Rüden, head of CERN’s Information Technology department, in his welcome address to the 250 Grid enthusiasts gathered in CERN’s ‘globe’ building said: “I am very happy to tell you that we are ready to handle the unprecedented flood of data that will be generated by the LHC.”

CERN’s Director General Robert Aymar, highlighted the necessity of computing for studying particle physics: “This is just the first step in a long voyage. The LHC is a discovery machine, and its research programme stretches out two decades into the future,” he said. “There are three needed tools to study physics. You need accelerators, detectors and computing. It is the computing that turns the flow of data into useful information.”

On-site demonstrations, held throughout the day, showed attendees some of these applications live. Demos included the Worldwide LHC Computing Grid, the four LHC experiments, the Health-e-Child project (pediatrics), the ITER project (fusion energy), Open Science Grid and the WISDOM project (drug discovery). If you were not able to attend in person, check out many of these demos online, posted by the GridTalk project on YouTube. The ATLAS demo is directly visible here.

A new ATLAS demo was set up especially for this event by Benjamin Gaidioz and Ricardo Rocha. It shows jobs being dispatched around the world and data being transferred between Grid sites, on a GoogleEarth background. More details for interested viewers and users can be found in this web page.

Dario Barberis

Università & INFN, Italy