The Sunday Times | Coming Soon: Superfast Internet | Jonathan Leake | Apr 6 2008
Scientists involved in the Large Hydron Collider project (LHC) realized early on that the current internet infrastructure would crumble under the amount of data that LHC will generate. “LHC would generate annual data equivalent to 56m CDs – enough to make a stack 40 miles high.” (45,000 Terabytes). To handle such capacity CERN (European Center for Nuclear Research) began work on a network called “the Grid”.
The Grid is composed of a very high speed parallel internet with a dedicated fiber backbone connecting CERN to 11 centers throughout the North America, Europe, and the Far East. These centers are then connected to academic institutions and research facilities. The speed of this Grid is said to be 10,000 times faster than normal broadband connections. Depending on the metric of normal this is easily 30+ Gps (Gigabit per sec). The analogy is given that ““the grid” will be able to send the entire Rolling Stones back catalogue from Britain to Japan in less than two seconds.”
There is no consumer use planned for the grid but it is astounding the sheer size of this project and the technology behind it will have a NASA like trickle effect.
Very cool stuff.