Argonne physicists are using Mira to perform simulations of Large Hadron Collider (LHC) experiments with a leadership-class supercomputer for the first time, shedding light on a path forward for interpreting future LHC data. Researchers at the Argonne Leadership Computing Facility (ALCF) helped the team optimize their code for the supercomputer, which has enabled them to simulate billions of particle collisions faster than ever before.
With each collision producing about a megabyte of data, LHC, located on the border of France and Switzerland, generates a colossal amount of data. Even after filtering out about 99 percent of it, scientists are left with around 30 petabytes (or 30 million gigabytes) each year to analyze for a wide range of physics experiments, including studies on the Higgs boson and dark matter.
To help tackle the considerable challenge of interpreting all this data, researchers from the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Argonne National Laboratory are demonstrating the potential of simulating collision events with Mira, a 10-petaflops IBM Blue Gene/Q supercomputer at the Argonne Leadership Computing Facility (ALCF), a DOE Office of Science User Facility.
“Simulating the collisions is critical to helping us understand the response of the particle detectors,” said principal investigator Tom LeCompte, an Argonne physicist and the former physics coordinator for the LHC’s ATLAS experiment, one of four particle detectors at the facility. “Differences between the simulated data and the experimental data can lead us to discover signs of new physics.”
This marks the first time a leadership-class supercomputer has been used to perform massively parallel simulations of LHC collision events. Since 2002, LHC scientists have relied on the Worldwide LHC Computing Grid for all their data processing and simulation needs. Linking thousands of computers and storage systems across 41 countries, this international distributed computing infrastructure allows data to be accessed and analyzed in near real-time by an international community of more than 8,000 physicists collaborating among the four major LHC experiments.
“Grid computing has been very successful for LHC, but there are some limitations on the horizon,” LeCompte said. “One is that some LHC event simulations are so complex that it would take weeks to complete them. Another is that the LHC’s computing needs are set to grow by at least a factor of 10 in the next several years.”
Here is a link to the full unedited article: https://www.alcf.anl.gov/articles/alcf-helps-tackle-large-hadron-collider-s-big-data-challenge
Photo source: Taylor Childers, Argonne National Laboratory
Source: Argonne National Laboratory