The Large Hadron Collider, a 27 km ring under ground across Switzerland and France (near Geneva), has been quiet for the last three years as maintenance and upgrade took place. It went back on service on April 22nd and just after 3 days it broke the record of energy reaching 6.8 Trillion electronVolt per beam (the previous record achieved in 2015 was 6.5 TeV).
The new “life” of the LHC, called Run 3, should achieve energy of 13.6 TeV doubling its present capability. It will keep operating till 2025 and then it will stop for 3 more years to resume service in 2030 with even higher capabilities. This is expected to open up a window on the very first moment of the present universe, providing insights on what went on in those first crucial moments.
The collision of charged particles happens at a rate of 1 billion per second, resulting in an avalanche of data. One Petabyte of data is harvested each day (this is the result of some massive cleaning of the overall data harvested) and over a year some 92 PB of data are archived (the other 270PB are discarded after having been processed). That is really a huge amount of data. And it is even more impressive if you think that in the first 20 years of operation, up to 2013, CERN had accrued some 100 PB of data. At that time, 2013, it seemed an astounding amount. Now they are harvesting that amount in just three months and are storing basically that amount every year.
The availability of artificial intelligence is a reason for storing those data. Processing can only be possible through a computer. Long gone are the times of sketching the patterns of particles collisions in the fog chamber on a block note ….