Higgs Reconstructed at CERN’s Computer Centre

Thanks to the enormous computing capacity of the CERN Computer Centre, which hosts about 12,000 servers with 16,000 CPUs (i.e. 64,000 computing cores) and 64,000 hard-disks distributed over 1,100 racks and storing another 22 PB (PetaByte, i.e. 22 million billion bytes) of LHC data during 2011, CERN computing specialists have managed for the first time to reconstruct the “Higgs” (see photo below in which the newly installed racks are highlighted).


In fact, as clear physics evidence of the Higgs is still pending and expected to be established in 2012, the CERN Computer Centre operators have instead rearranged their computer racks in the Computer Centre (Building 513) to spell the word “Higgs”. Bruce Peppa, group leader of the IT/CC group who manages the Computer Centre, said “As many people have noticed, for a few months serious construction work has been going on in the annex to the CERN Computer Centre. With the installation of more servers in the so-called “Barn”, the current capacity of 2.9 MegaWatt computing power will be increased to 3.5MW by October 2012. Since we had to modify the structures in the main computer room too, we decided to be a bit more creative and made this new layout. Unfortunately, we couldn’t make “Higgs” as explicit as we would have liked, as cooling the aisles is still of paramount importance.”

As IT/CC will have to make further optimisations, this new layout will not last for long. So if you would like to have a look, the current arrangement will be maintained just for this week-end, i.e. on 31 March and 1 April.