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Particle Physics

Lund University

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e-Science

The e-Science challenge is to optimize the traditional computing infrastructures in order to meet the ever increasing requirements from research.

The goal of e-Science research is to ensure long-term reliable and efficient computing and storage support for researchers – the e-Science infrastructure. Swedish Particle Physics community contributes to the unique e-Science infrastructure, the Nordic Tier1 for LHC, operated by the Nordic eInfrastructure Clooaboration (NeIC). It uses an innovative software solution – the Advanced Resource Connector (ARC) software by NorduGrid.

Our researchers are key contributors to both Tier1 operations and ARC development. We provide liaison between CERN and the Tier1, and ARC software development is co-coordinated by a group of researchers at our division.

The amounts of data collected by the LHC are too large to be stored and processed in one place. Therefore, computing needs of LHC require a massive worldwide computing and data storage infrastructure, with data centers located in many countries. This unique e-Science infrastructure is called Worldwide LHC Computing Grid (WLCG). Unlike supercomputers or clouds, WLCG is optimised for non-stop high throughput processing of data that come from CERN. Being a true community effort, the infrastructure is built from very different facilities contributed by researchers around the world. This inhomogeneous system requires very special e-Science software in order to create a seamless uniform environment for researchers. Just like many different power plants and power lines create a power grid, many different data centers and high-speed networks create a computing grid. We develop software which makes it possible, called grid middleware.

The Lund e-Science team has been at the forefront of computing grid technology research since 2001, when NorduGrid was co-initiated in Lund together with other Particle Physics groups in Nordic countries. The main goal of the NorduGrid collaboration today is to provide grid-based solutions for the LHC experiments. ARC grid middleware developed by NorduGrid is one such solution, used not only to create the Nordic Tier1, but also to plug in more than hundred computing centers worldwide into WLCG.

Our e-Science team contributes to the development and support of the ARC middleware. While originally developed for the needs of LHC computing, ARC can be used to create any scientific computing challenge, being particularly optimized for massive data processing. Data caching technology implemented in ARC allows for most optimal resource utilisation, thus not only optimising costs, but also reducing carbon footprint of scientific computing.

ARC is an Open Source software developed as a community effort. It was previously supported by grants from various international and national funding agencies, such as e.g. the European Commission, NorduNet and eSSENCE, and today relies largely on voluntary contributions from researchers.

Practical Information