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iSGTW - Link of the Week: LHC at home

Link of the Week - LHC at home

Image courtesy of LHC@home

Analyzing the 15 million gigabytes of data from the Large Hadron Collider is not just for the big guys.

The public can participate too, by using a screen-saver program that uses your computer's idle time to work on a piece of the project. By downloading LHC@ home, you are simulating a particle traveling round-and-round the 27-kilometer ring.

It's done using a program called SixTrack, which not only simulates the particle's travel but studies the stability of its orbits-thus producing information essential to verifying the long-term stability of the high energy particles in the LHC.

SixTrack was developed by Frank Schmidt of the CERN Accelerators and Beams Department. Lyn Evans, head of the LHC project, says that the results "are really making a difference, providing us with new insights into how the LHC will perform."

Typically SixTrack simulates 60 particles at a time as they travel around the ring, and runs the simulation for as many as 1 million laps around the ring. That may sound like a lot, but it is less than 10 seconds in the real world. Still, the site says, "It is enough to test whether the beam is going to remain on a stable orbit for a much longer time, or risks losing control and flying off course into the walls of the vacuum tube. Such a beam instability would be a very serious problem that could result in the machine being stopped for repairs if it happened in real life."

Give it a whirl!

-Dan Drollette, iSGTW

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