Kelvin Lecture: From protons to petabytes - the science and computing challenges at the Large Hadron Collider

General event

Kelvin Lecture: From protons to petabytes - the science and computing challenges at the Large Hadron Collider

  • Event time: 6:00pm
  • Event date: 22nd March 2012
  • Speaker: (School of Physics & Astronomy, University of Edinburgh)

Event details

About the lecture

This lecture will present the physics motivation for the LHC and then explore the computing and data management environment needed to realise the project.

The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) collides protons together at very high energy, and the resulting interactions between the constituent quarks and gluons take place under conditions close to those existing at the time of the Big Bang. These conditions permit the study of the underlying forces of nature, the production of new particles such as the Higgs boson, and the search for for new physics processes such as evidence for supersymmetry.

The LHC has been running in full data-taking mode since 2010.  Collisions occur every 50ns leaving signals in the four large detectors (ATLAS,CMS,LHCb and ALICE) which contain many millions of sensitive electronic channels. This interaction rate gives rise to the "data deluge" of the LHC - requiring processing many tens of PetaBytes of data annually. The complete chain involves management and storage of raw data, its reconstruction using the worldwide distributed computing infrastructure known as the Grid, the replication and management of processed data, and the final analysis by physicists.  

Within the UK the "GridPP" project, in collaboration with the National Grid Service, provides the necessary computing infrastructure, connected to the World Wide Grid though the JANET academic network. There are over 250,000 processing cores in the Grid spread between sites from Brazil to Russia. This complex system works as a result of a very high level of standardisation, and a high level of cooperation with and between national authorities.


18:00 - Registration and refreshments
18:30 - Lecture commences
20:00 - Drinks reception
21:00 - Close

The lecture will be followed by a drinks reception where delegates can continue discussions on the evenings topics, meet old friends and make new acquaintances.

About the speaker

Peter Clarke is a Professor in the School of Physics & Astronomy at the University of Edinburgh. His early research work included the first measurements of direct CP violation in the Kaon system at the CERN NA31 experiment. At UCL he worked on construction of the ATLAS experiment for the Large Hadron Collider. He now works on studies of CP violation (the asymmetry between matter and anti-matter) as a member of the LHCb experiment at the LHC.


IET​ Prestige Lecture series

This talk is part of the IET Prestige Lecture series. Showcasing the latest ideas and technologies, the nine lectures in the series cover a range of engineering disciplines, from general interest to the more technical.

Further information

About General events

Our General events include one-off events and lectures that are hosted by, or are of relevance to, the School of Physics and Astronomy..

Find out more about General events.