GridPP At The Top Of Europe

Tue 1st May 2012

The LHC has just switched on for its first run of 2012 and is running at a world record 8TeV but the UK is well prepared for the challenges this entails. In the last 12 months GridPP has been the single biggest provider of computing time in Europe with UK computers doing over 350 Million CPU hours of work.

After the recent GridPP meeting in Manchester it is a good time to take stock of how GridPP is doing in an international context. It is looking great for the UK with 17% of the total time provided by the grid in Europe being done on GridPP machines. This amounts to almost 30 million more hours than Germany (in 2nd place) and puts France and Italy in 3rd and 4th places respectively.
Graph showing percentage of CPU hours provided by NGIs in Europe to all VOs (click to enlarge).

The UK has been involved since the very beginning of grid computing in Europe, even being one of the first countries to actually form the original testbed over a decade ago. Since then GridPP has been funded to provide support to the LHC with hardware and money allocated based on the depth of the UK’s involvement in a particular experiment. Despite the relatively low UK participation in ALICE and LHCb the collaboration processes over a million jobs a year for both these projects. “Efficiency is key to allowing us to perform at the level we do. I firmly believe it is our knowledge, expertise and experience that allows us to consistently be one of the top resource providers in the world. You can buy as much kit as you want, or think you need, but without the people and knowledge that 10 years brings you, you can’t run an infrastructure ” explains Pete Gronbech, GridPP’s Project Manager “We are delighted to support all of the LHC experiments and at the heart of this success is our operations team. The recent meeting in Manchester really demonstrated that the people we have are world class and I’m not surprised by these numbers”.

Graph showing percentage of CPU hours provided by all countires to all VOs (click to enlarge).
Sadly being number one in the world is not as easy but the UK comes close in 2nd place., the only bigger country worldwide is the United States of America. However there is one silver lining, the UK is a bigger supporter of non-LHC experiments with over 25 million hours compared to the USA’s 7 thousand hours.

“The U.S. is a much larger country than the UK and their support of the LHC experiments is exceptional but I still think we compare favourably” says David Britton, GridPP’s Project Leader “Especially when you look at our support of the other project’s using the grid. We are committed to making sure that the LHC researchers in Britain have the resources they need. However we are also aware that what we have built over the last 10 years can be used by all academics, regardless of their discipline. We are always looking for new collaborations and hopefully our work with NGS and EGI can help expand the use of grid into new areas”.

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