CRISP: Physics and collaboration

At the 2nd Annual Meeting of CRISP in Switzerland, CERN delegates discussed the IT challenges the laboratory faces to deal with LHC data


A longer version of this article first appeared in International Science Grid This Week

Last week, International Science Grid This Week attended the CRISP 2nd Annual Meeting in Villigen, Switzerland. CRISP, or "The Cluster of Research Infrastructures for Synergies in Physics" is a European FP7 project established to help encourage and enable collaborating partners to combine their know-how and complementary expertise in the field of physics research. The event was hosted by the Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI), a multidisciplinary research centre running several particle accelerators, including the Swiss Light Source.

Ian Lishman of the CRISP coordination team spoke about the project’s development over the first year and a half of its existence during the welcome session on the first day of the meeting. “We’ve now achieved cruising speed,” he says, pointing out that CRISP has already produced 13 major publications. “We’ve contributed to reinforcing the European Research Area through generation and dissemination of new knowledge, knowledge transfer to industry, increasing mobility of researchers, and supplying a driving force in a multidisciplinary network of networks,” he says. “We’re asking suppliers to develop technology beyond the state of the art and that has to be good for the European research community.”

During the event, presentations were given covering a range of physics research infrastructures, many of which are reliant upon leading-edge e-infrastructures to support them in their scientific activities.

Laurence Field and Ivan Calvet also spoke at the event about the IT challenges CERN faces in dealing with the huge amounts of data produced by the various experiments using its Large Hadron Collider (LHC). Calvet gave audience members a brief rundown of the Worldwide LHC Computing Grid, which is a global collaboration of more than 170 computing centres in 36 countries, linking up national and international grid infrastructures.

Launched in 2002, the WLCG now manages over 25 petabytes of data per year, says Calvet. Field, who is the IT and data management topic leader for the CRISP project, also spoke about the challenges faced by IT infrastructure in facilitating scientific research at large physics research organisations like CERN at last month’s IT requirements for the next generation of research infrastructures workshop.  “As we go towards 2020, we’re looking at data rates of terabytes per second,” said Field at the workshop. “We really have to understand how we can deal with these increasing data rates.”

Read more: "Seeking synergies in Switzerland" – International Science Grid This Week