Grid computing

The Worldwide LHC Computing Grid (WLCG) is a global collaboration of computer centres. It was launched in 2002 to provide a resource to store, distribute and analyse the 15 petabytes (15 million gigabytes) of data generated every year by the Large Hadron Collider (LHC).

In 1999, when work began on the design of a computing system for LHC data analysis, it rapidly became clear that the required computing power was far beyond the funding capacity available to CERN. On the other hand, most of the laboratories and universities collaborating on the LHC had access to national or regional computing facilities.

These were integrated into a single LHC computing service – the Grid – in 2002. It is the world's largest computing grid, now linking thousands of computers and storage systems in over 140 centres across 35 countries. These computer centres together serve a community of over 10,000 physicists with near real-time access to LHC data. The Grid gives users the power to process, analyse and in some cases to store LHC data. 

This grid-based infrastructure is the most effective solution to the data-analysis challenge of the LHC, offering many advantages over a centralized system. Multiple copies of data can be kept at different sites, ensuring access for all scientists independent of geographical location; there is no single point of failure; computer centres in multiple time zones ease round-the-clock monitoring and the availability of expert support; and resources can be distributed across the world, for funding and sociological reasons.

For more on grid computing, check out e-Scienc City 

Google Earth WLCG Dashboard of live data

You can see data and jobs going around the world live from the last 10 minutes. You just need to install Google Earth, and add the "network link" file to view.

  • Install Google Earth on your computer.
  • Open Google Earth. In the menu Add choose Network Link.
  • In the Name box write a meaningful name for the map, say “WLCG Grid Activity”. In the Link box put the URL of this KMZ file:   and click OK.
  • In the Refresh tab you should set Time-based refresh to Periodically and set the period to 1 minute. Save.

    If you followed all the steps above, you now have the data with the WLCG activity imported into Google Earth and ready to be displayed, and it will be automatically refreshed.