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From the Web to the Grid

When Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web at CERN in 1989, that was just the tip of the iceberg. The Web was CERN's response to a new wave of scientific collaborations, bigger and more distributed than ever before. As those collaborations approach their conclusion and CERN gears up for the LHC, a new generation of experiments is set to dwarf those of the 1990s. The computing requirements of these experiments are unprecedented.
Meeting the LHC computing challenger will require collaborative work by many people around the world over the coming years. Because CERN is not alone in facing an explosion in computing needs, the laboratory aims to tackle the LHC computing challenger by involving computer scientists, scientists from other disciplines and above all industry. Their combined efforts could well produce solutions as important in the next ten years as the Web has been in the last.

LHC computing represents a tremendous technical challenge with demands for processor power, storage, and networking at least a hundred times more than we know how to handle today.

The model that the particle physics community is using for LHC computing is multi-tiered, with a large centre at CERN linked by a high-speed network to approximately 10 centres in national or regional data centres, each of which will have significant resources. These in turn fan out to local regional centres with the ability to perform smaller subsets of analysis and so on down to individual universities.


To be continued


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