Powerful features are needed for powerful research.
Answering some of physics' biggest fundamental open questions concerning the basic laws and forces of elementary objects, space time, quantum mechanics, and general relativity is a lofty job. The LHC produces tens of petabytes worth of data every year. With so much data, its computer network infrastructure (Worldwide LHC Computing Grid
) is made up of 170 computing centres from 36 countries, making it the largest distributed computing grid in the world. Yet according to CERN
, "the operation of the Large Hadron Collider to date has cost less than the development and creation of a single new US aircraft carrier, the USS Gerald R. Ford
", a $13 billion project.
However, like any particle physics experiment, the LHC suffered from diminishing returns after a few years and a "high-luminosity" upgrade was commissioned. In 2013, CERN temporarily shutdown the LHC for two years. In 2015, the LHC was able to produce protons that move faster than light in air (but still slower than the speed of light in a vacuum) and a vacuum that is purer than that of outer space! The increase from 600 million to over 1 billion proton-proton collisions will not only increase scientific experimental capacity, but also the amount of data to more than 30 petabytes every year.