GridPP supports researchers
The GridPP Collaboration was formed to cater for the substantial computing demands of the Large Hadron Collider experiments, representing the UK in the Worldwide LHC Computing Grid (WLCG). As the GridPP community has grown and evolved, however, many user communities from a wide range of disciplines have taken advantage of the computing resources offered by GridPP.
Try it yourself
If you’d like to see if the Grid can meet you and your research group’s needs, you can try it right away by following our UserGuide. This step-by-step guide, complete with user checklists and unit tests, will take you through:
- Creating your own local Grid node with a Cern Virtual Machine (CernVM);
- Getting a Grid certificate – your X.509 passport to the Grid;
- Joining one of our “incubator” Virtual Organisations (VOs);
- Submitting and managing test jobs with GridPP DIRAC;
- Uploading and downloading data to GridPP Storage Elements (SEs);
- Deploying your software to the Grid with the CernVM File System (CernVM-FS).
If the tools on offer meet your needs, we can discuss creating a Virtual Organisation to represent your research group on the Grid.
Get started with GridPP by following the GridPP UserGuide – click here.
Research we support
If you’re looking for inspiration – or want to check if your research field is already represented by an existing Virtual Organisation – we’ve provided summaries of the research we support below.
The LHC Experiments
The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is a particle acclerator at CERN on the French/Swiss border. It was built to collide particle together and investigate the building blocks of the universe. It first collided proton beams in 2009 and by the end of that year had collided protons at a higher energy than any other collider. However, it was not until the running periods in 2010 and then in 2011 that the experiments at the LHC were able to collect sufficient quantities of data to enable scientists to investigate previously unprobed areas of physics. In order to process the data that they had collected, the LHC experiments relied on the Grid infrastructure provided by the LHC Computing Grid (LCG). While most of the LHC operations in 2010 and 2011 were dedicated to colliding proton beams with a centre-of-mass energy of 7 TeV, the LHC can also collide Pb ions at far higher energies. The LHC is now running at 13 TeV, close to its design energy, and following a re-vamp during the LHC shut-down period, the Grid is being used to analyse the data from this new energy frontier.
There are four main experiments at the LHC. The two general-purpose detectors, called ATLAS and CMS, are designed to investigate a very wide range of new physics. The two more specialized detectors are ALICE, which specializes in studying the collisions of Pb ions, and LHCb, which studies the physics of hadrons that contain beauty quarks. GridPP supports all four, developing the tools and infrastructure needed to process, transfer and store the data they produce.
Other than the four LHC experiments, GridPP is actively helping the wider particle physics community. Currently this includes:
- Based in Canada, this experiment is investigating a wide range of physics related to neutrinos. They use GridPP resources to run simulations and analyse data.
- The Muon Ionization Cooling Experiment (MICE) is a collaboration of particle physicists and accelerator physicists building a key element of a new type of physics experiment – a neutrino factory – and they are using GridPP resources to understand it.
- This experiment, based at CERN and making use of the Super Proton Synchrotron (SPS), aims to investigate the decays of the charged kaon. They are currently working with GridPP to run simulations and, in the future, analyse its data.
- This is a future experiment that will study flavour physics in B mesons. They are using GridPP to run simulations and prepare for data taking.
- This experiment studies the fundamental properties of neutrinos, the ghost-like particles that interact incredibly weakly with everyday matter. It is based in Japan and started taking data in January 2010. The T2K Collaboration uses the Grid to transfer and analyse their data sets.
- The Compact LInear Collider (CLIC) team are investigating the potential of a new kind of particle accelerator. They are simulating their designs using Grid resources, with GridPP being a major contributor.
- This experiment was one of the detectors based at the Tevatron in the U.S. It finished operations in 2011.
- This detector was also based at the Tevatron in the U.S. It finished operation in 2011.
- BaBar was an experiment that ran at the PEP-II accelerator at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center (SLAC). It finished running in 2008.
- H1 was a particle experiment using the HERA accelerator at the German lab DESY. It shutdown in 2007, but the collaboration has only just stopped using Grid resources to analyse data from the experiment.
GridPP also supports a number of physics-based projects:
- Scientists working on the ITER experiment are investigating the feasibility of fusion as a commercial power source. They are using the Grid to run simulations and analyse data.
- The Galactic Dynamics group at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) has started to use the grid with the aim of performing massively parallelisable galaxy simulations. They are using the Imperial DIRAC instance to run jobs and store data. Read more in the case study here.
- The team behind the satellite-based Langton Ultimate Cosmic ray Intensity Detector (LUCID) experiment have run GEANT4 simulations of their detectors on the Grid in order to better understand the data collected since its 2014 launch aboard Surrey Satellite Technology Limited’s TechDemoSat-1. Read more in the case study here.
- MAGIC (Major Atmospheric Gamma-ray Imaging Cherenkov Telescopes) is a system of two telescopes on La Palma, in the Canaries. They are at an early stage of investigating the use of Grid resources in their research.
- A group of physicists based at Durham University are using Grid resources to provide testable predictions from theoretical physics.
- Researchers at Queen Mary, University of London, Durham University, and Brown University are using the GridPP infrastructure to investigate supersymmetric theories.
- UKQCD aims to develop computing facilities for lattice field theory calculations in order to help increase the predictive power of the Standard Model of elementary particle physics.
- Researchers from the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST) have been using GridPP resources to answer questions about the dark matter and dark energy in our universe. Read more in the case study here.
- The “BioMed” Virtual Organization is a large scale international and multi-disciplinary VO supporting communities from the Life Sciences sector. The VO is operated on the EGI infrastructure and BioMed jobs account for a substantial fraction of non-LHC GridPP resource use.
- CERN@school brings CERN into the classroom. The programme is working to bring the power of the wLCG into the classroom too, to enable students to perform the physics analyses they need for publishable results.
- EPIC (Epidemiology, Population health and Infectious disease Control) is based at the University of Glasgow, and are using GridPP resources to model the spread of bovine tuberculosis in Scotland.
- ENROLLER is based at Glasgow university and is working to allow language and literature researchers to realise the benefits of using the resources provided by GridPP.
- MoSSaiC is a project including geographers based in Bristol and their colleagues in the Eastern Caribbean, modelling landslides and their after-effects in an effort to identify potential solutions. They are now porting the work on to the grid with support from GridPP.
- The National e-Infrastructure for Social Simulation (NeISS) project is developing e-Infrastructure to support their work, and GridPP is helping them to achieve this.
- Researchers from the Proton Radiotherapy Verification and Dosimetry Applications (PRaVDA) Consortium have been using GridPP resources to optimise detector equipment used in the treatment of cancers with hadron therapy. Read more in the case study here.
- Proteomics and Phylogenomics at QMUL
- A team of particle physicists with the Particle Physics Research Centre (PPRC) are working to harness the grid for protein chain analysis using the grid and CERN’s ROOT analysis framework. Funded by the QMUL Innovation Fund, they have reduced sequence processing times by an order of magnitude and are now looking to exploit their tools commercially. Another team at QMUL has used GridPP resources to study convergent evolution in genomes, which you can read more about in the Nature article here.
- The WISDOM initiative aims at developing new drugs for neglected and emerging diseases with a particular focus on malaria. GridPP has helped out with their work on malaria and avian flu.
- A number of GridPP researchers, such as Pete Clarke at UCL/Edinburgh and Robin Tasker at Daresbury Laboratory, are involved in the computer science network research community worldwide, playing important roles in projects such as UKLight, MB-NG, and EGEE. They are also working with the UK core e-Science programme and the Global Grid Forum, and with interdisciplinary projects such as Very Long Baseline Interferometry for radio astronomy and developing the Teragyroid project with the UK and US high performance computing community.