High energy (or particle) physics studies the elementary particles that make up ourselves and the universe around us, focusing on subatomic particles and the interactions between them. As many of these elementary particles are only created through high energy collisions between other particles, experiments, such as CERN’s Large Hadron Collider (LHC), require vast amounts of infrastructure in order to operate.
The advanced technology and sheer size of these high energy physics experiments are driving three trends within the field – global collaboration, information sharing and new ways of working.
The cost of creating and running high energy physics experiments is vast and normally requires countries and institutions to work together to fund and maintain them. This in turn underpins greater collaboration as both the raw data and final results need to be shared globally between large communities of scientists.
Sharing on a petabyte scale
The information produced by these experiments is enormous – the Large Hadron Collider is the world’s largest ever scientific experiment and produces 22 petabytes of data per year. Sharing this information quickly and securely is imperative to enable scientific progress.
To access, analyse and process this data requires new ways of working. It would be impossible for a single location to process all the results of an experiment such as the LHC, meaning it needs to be shared amongst a network of computers across the globe, with researchers working together to analyse and share their results.
The impact of research and education networks
Distributing and processing the outputs of high energy physics experiments and then sharing the results requires a truly global collaboration, and would be impossible without research and education networks. The guaranteed high capacity and high speeds needed to transmit these huge amounts of data cannot be provided cost-effectively by the commercial internet. Consequently advanced research networks such as GÉANT are central to high energy physics, delivering the secure and reliable performance necessary for experiments to operate and share data amongst scientists.
High energy physics is a true global collaboration, bringing together researchers from across the world. Through its own close collaboration with research networks in other regions, such as Internet2 in the US, GÉANT enables the seamless transmission of data, at high speed, in order to underpin global projects. Due to the demands of high energy physics, GÉANT works closely with projects such as the LHC in order to provide tailored services to meet their specific needs – including high capacity point to point links that deliver guaranteed bandwidth (GÉANT Plus) and the advanced GÉANT Lambda service that lights dark fibre to provide 10 Gbps wavelengths for data intensive users.
Click here for more details and case studies on some of the leading global projects that GÉANT is involved with: