Electronics Production | December 09, 2005

Intel and CERN in extended cooperation

Intel and the European organization for particle physics R&D, today launched a competence centre for validation and and testing of advanced processors.
The agreement was signed on 5th December 2005 at the CERN site in Geneva by Dr. Herbert Cornelius, Director of the Advanced Computing Center, Intel EMEA and Robert Aymar, Director General of CERN. Collaborating with Intel in openlab-II will enable CERN to evaluate future technologies that are anticipated to have a major impact on solutions for the scientific computing
of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) project, CERN's flagship accelerator and the largest scientific instrument on the planet. These include early access to new Intel processor, platform and network hardware, as well as a group of next generation embedded silicon-based technologies, referred to as Intel *Ts, designed to make infrastructure more efficient, secure and manageable.

As part of the agreement, Intel is also supporting CERN in the launch of a Grid Interoperability Centre to evaluate the benefits of grid computing for a global particle physics community and validate the integration of grid computing with existing CERN infrastructures.

During the first three-year phase of CERN openlab, the openlab industrial partners, which include Intel, Enterasys, IBM, HP and Oracle, have been testing and validating the CERN opencluster, a new Intel® Itanium® 2-based system featuring over 100 dual-processor servers, and evaluating its
performance as part of the global Grid of computers required to handle the torrents of data anticipated from the LHC experiments. The LHC, a vast particle accelerator 27km in circumference, is due to start operation in 2007, and will produce over 10 million Gigabytes of data a year. Over the
past eighteen months, the CERN opencluster has been playing a vital role in simulating real-life operation of the LHC Computing Grid, in particular assisting in Service Challenges which have attained sustained data rates of 600MB/s between CERN and seven major scientific computing centres around the world in April 2005. Over recent months, these Service Challenges have continued to expand in scope, and now involve data transfers over many weeks at a time to 20 computing centres globally. The Intel-based opencluster has also delivered critical results in record time to CERN engineers optimising heat-flow around the huge particle detectors. This engineering challenge demonstrated the opencluster's number-crunching abilities to the fullest. Intel processors also play a key role in the daily operations of CERN's Computer Centre, where some 2,000 Intel® Xeon® dual-processor servers have been deployed in a PC farm.

As part of the new agreement, Intel is providing access to its Advanced Computing Center programme, designed to accelerate the development of new HPC systems that offer greater flexibility and more supercomputing power. Intel technical experts will also support CERN workshops and deliver training in areas relating to Intel's technologies in grid computing, high
performance computing and clustering technologies.

"I am very pleased that Intel is continuing its commitment to this very fruitful partnership," said Robert Aymar, CERN's Director General. "The CERN openlab is an opportunity for CERN and its industrial partners to learn from each other, and help push the boundaries of advanced scientific
computing. I expect the new Platform Competence Centre to play a key role in the transition of our scientific community to 64-bit computing over the coming years"

"For more than fifty years, CERN has maintained its position at the forefront of particle physics research, collaborating with scientists spread across the world to search for signs of new phenomena that may provide clues to the origin of the Universe," said Dr. Herbert Cornelius, Director of the Advanced Computing Center, Intel EMEA.. "We are delighted to extend our
commitment to delivering the high performance computing foundations behind CERN's research, and are extremely excited that Intel technology will help CERN prepare for the launch of the world's most powerful scientific instrument. In return, CERN will surely provide Intel with useful feedback
on our latest technologies, by pushing them to the limit in CERN's very demanding computing environment."
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