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Research grid passes crucial network test

Grid sustains a continuous data flow of on average 600 megabytes per second for 10 days between Europe and North America.

One of the world's largest grid projects passed a major test by juggling enough data to fill a couple of desktop hard drives every second for 10 days.

The institutions behind the grid for the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) successfully completed a challenge to sustain a continuous data flow of on average 600 megabytes per second for 10 days between the European Center for Nuclear Research (CERN) in Geneva and seven sites in Europe and North America.

In all, 500 terabytes were transmitted during the challenge. On a household connection of 512 kilobits per seconds, the transfer would take about 250 years, according to CERN.

The goal of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is to link roughly 6,000 scientists so they can perform large-scale experiments and simulations to help the world better understand subatomic particles. The grid will ultimately link more than 200 research institutions.

"This service challenge is a key step on the way to managing the torrents of data anticipated from the LHC," Jamie Shiers, manager of the service challenges at CERN, said in a statement. "When the LHC starts operating in 2007, it will be the most data-intensive physics instrument on the planet, producing more than 1,500 megabytes of data every second for over a decade."

The test is the second in a series of four leading up to the official opening of LHC in 2007. The results of the test exceeded expectations by sustaining roughly one-third of the ultimate data rate for the LHC and reaching peak rates of more than 800MB per second, according to CERN.