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iSGTW Feature - STAR of the show

Feature - STAR of the show

The world made smaller, with the help of a new Tier-2 site in Prague.

Image courtesy of EPSRC

Without the need to connect remotely to Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL) from all the way across the world to get analysis data, collaborating scientists in Prague can now do their analysis at lightning speed, thanks to their new local Tier2 site.

In an experiment called STAR, researchers aim to recreate the quark-gluon plasma (a soup-like state of the matter) that permeated the universe less than a second after the Big Bang. To do this, they analyze data from BNL's high-energy heavy nuclei collisions. Before installation of the Tier2 site at the Nuclear Physics Institute of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic (NPI ASCR) in Prague, STAR collaborators had to connect to BNL remotely each time they needed to retrieve analysis data, and network latencies made this a tedious task.

For the Prague collaborators to analyze data more efficiently, the datasets from BNL needed to be brought onsite at NPI ASCR. With the new Tier2 site, NPI ASCR now has 20 terabytes of space to store these datasets, which can be rotated periodically depending on the researchers' demands and interests.

A server on the Golias farm.

Image courtesy of the Regional Computing Center for Particle Physics.

1 Gigabit line

Researchers at NPI ASCR retrieve the data from BNL via a physical fiber cable running between the two countries that provides Ethernet connectivity at 1 Gigabit line. The Tier2 data transfer framework allows the BNL datasets to be deposited into a "Disk Pool Manager," developed by the LHC Grid Computing project, where Prague collaborators can easily access them using tools developed by Open Science Grid.

Once the BNL datasets arrive at the local site at NPI ASCR, researchers use a transparent interface to access the data and launch jobs that run at the Regional Computing Center for Particle Physics "Golias" farm, the biggest site in the Czech Republic that is fully dedicated to particle physics data processing.

"With the local computing farm, large storage, and newly developed tools, we are able to bring our analyses and data close to us with minimal effort," says NPI ASCR physics graduate student Petr Chaloupka. "We can obtain results faster and support larger number of scientists at much lower costs, and the local computing is a vital component of this success."

-Amelia Williamson, iSGTW

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