Wednesday, September 26, 2012

What the Higgs Boson Particle Could Mean for Cloud Computing

Most businesses have come to realize the cost-saving potential of using cloud computing. Large and reliable resources for data storage have become essential, whether a company specializes in sales, marketing or particle acceleration. Making use of the cloud typically involves allotting resources over a network, while grid computing is a similar concept, but involves computing resources outside of a single network.

Both of these systems have been widely analyzed for managing data and computing resources. Companies can outsource their computing needs to a third party, just as an SEOcompany can be enlisted for online marketing, website creation and traffic monitoring. Small businesses and big corporations alike benefit from such services, even a company like the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN). The company recently used its Large Hadron Collider in the discovery of a once theoretical particle.

Cloud Computing and Particle Physics

With a 17-mile-long tunnel and repeated experiments, CERN produces a lot of data. As much as 1 GB per second is recorded in the facility’s datacenter. This adds up to so much data that even Moore’s Law, the principle that states memory capacity should double every 18 months, is not enough to keep up. Data are measured in petabytes, one of which is equal to a million gigabytes. Time during experiments is measured in nanoseconds; with an estimated 600 million particle collisions per second during experiments, up to a petabyte of information can be collected during each run.

Many businesses use a public cloud, but CERN has created a grid network consisting of 150 different computer systems spread around the world. Ethernet connections link most of them, allowing for the use of 300,000 cores to drive computational operations. When the Higgs boson particle, theoretically the generator of mass, was found, enormous quantities of data were created for collision analysis, particle path tracking and statistical analysis.

Progressive Efforts

European research organizations and CERN have begun experimenting with a cloud resource called Helix Nebula – The Science Cloud. The project was implemented in March 2012 and is a partnership between various research groups, IT businesses and cloud vendors. Simulations from the particle collider have already been run through this network as part of a two-year study.

Many scientists consider the particle discovery one of the most important in recent times, while the cloud has become perhaps the most significant aspect of computing for businesses. The Higgs boson particle itself may not yet have applications directly related to IT, but the research surrounding it seems to be driving a push to advance public computing resources on a wide scale. Data security is important for businesses no matter what their focus is.

Byline: My best friend Michelle is a Content Specialist and Blogger with a passion for the Internet, specifically social media and blogging. She loves how social media connects people across the globe, and appreciates that blogging gives her the opportunity to voice her thoughts and share advice with an unlimited audience.

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