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The LHC is back and it is smashing harder as ever

The Large Hadron Collider, the world’s most powerful particle accelerator is back in business, after a 3 year stop, and already breaking record. Image credit: Getty Images, CERN

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 ….

About Roberto Saracco

Roberto Saracco fell in love with technology and its implications long time ago. His background is in math and computer science. Until April 2017 he led the EIT Digital Italian Node and then was head of the Industrial Doctoral School of EIT Digital up to September 2018. Previously, up to December 2011 he was the Director of the Telecom Italia Future Centre in Venice, looking at the interplay of technology evolution, economics and society. At the turn of the century he led a World Bank-Infodev project to stimulate entrepreneurship in Latin America. He is a senior member of IEEE where he leads the New Initiative Committee and co-chairs the Digital Reality Initiative. He is a member of the IEEE in 2050 Ad Hoc Committee. He teaches a Master course on Technology Forecasting and Market impact at the University of Trento. He has published over 100 papers in journals and magazines and 14 books.