Big data and tiny particles

Processing data from the Large Hadron Collider

Eleanor is the University's cloud based research platform similar to Amazon Web Services. This service allows users to create multiple bespoke computing systems without having to purchase or maintain additional hardware. This can be particularly useful if you're at a proof of concept stage, or you need to process massive volumes of data on an ongoing basis, such as data coming from the Large Hadron Collider.

One of the largest and best known science facilities in the world, the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) produces more data than any other scientific endeavour. Processing and analysing these data is a major international effort and the University of Edinburgh is proud to contribute to this as part of the UK's GridPP project.

GriddPP forms part of the Worldwide LHC Computing Grid, a distributed computing system designed to handle the vast amounts of data generated by the LHC. Spread across 19 centres in the UK GridPP comprised approximately 70,000 processing cores and 200 PB of data storage. Edinburgh's GridPP contribution is a partnership between the Particle Physics group in the School of Physics and Astronomy who provide the scientific expertise, and the Information Services Group who provide the technology in the form of various services including Eleanor.

The GridPP team use instances of Eleanor primarily to run sophisticated codes that simulate tens of millions of proton collisions. these simulations are vital to help researchers understand the LHC detectors and interpret their experimental output. Some recent results enabled as part of this include precise studies of the Higgs boson at ATLAS to better understand its detailed behaviour, and the discovery of particles made of 4 and 5 quarks at LHCb.

"Edinburgh have played a core part in the distributed GridPP computing system for decades. I am really delighted that we have done this in partnership with IS from the start of the LHC programme. This has only been possible because of the extremely helpful and flexible manner of the IS team in ECDF, Eleanor and the IS management who clearly put research needs first, and strive to support the very diverse requirements across the University." - Prof Pete Clarke, Deputy Project Leader of GridPP.

More about GridPP

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