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Home > iSGTW 30 April 2008 > iSGTW Feature - Sicily's TriGrid tames "unbeatable" monster


Feature - The Sicilian grid tames “unbeatable” monster

Born from the god Thyphoon and the dragon Echidna, the Chimera was a terrible and unbeatable monster with a lion’s head, goat’s body and snake’s tail. The CHIMERA particle multidetector takes its name from this monster.
Images courtesy of the CHIMERA Collaboration

Not a fire-breathing monster, although just as extraordinary, CHIMERA—or Charged Heavy Ion Mass and Energy Resolving Array—is one of the few tools that allow study of the fascinating process of nuclear fragmentation, where high-speed particles crumble into various pieces of exotic nuclear matter

A particle multidetector installed at the INFN’s Laboratori Nazionali del Sud in Catania, Italy, CHIMERA measures and observes this process, producing conspicuous amounts of valuable data that are used by researchers to further technical innovations, understand the nature and behavior of matter, and much more.

The evolution of global science

As a worldwide collaboration, CHIMERA and the data it produces must be made available to researchers across the globe. Further, the physical variables coming into play in CHIMERA experiments are numerous and complex, require extensive analyses and produce considerable amounts of data that must be stored in a unique and easily accessible database.

Our solution is grid computing.

This silent clip gives a good idea of the 3D structure of the CHIMERA detector. Data from the CHIMERA are made available to scientists in remote locations thanks to the Sicilian e-infrastructure.
Image courtesy of the CHIMERA Collaboration

Sicily’s growing grid

Porting CHIMERA to the grid became an important goal for both the TriGrid Virtual Laboratory and PI2S2, two projects that aim to provide Sicilian researchers with a virtual grid-powered region-wide laboratory for scientific and industrial applications. The projects’ missions are to establish a distributed, on-demand and cutting edge e-infrastructure that is “open,” general purpose and connected to other national and international grids.

CHIMERA applications have been successfully grid-enabled using GENIUS, the user-friendly grid portal jointly developed by INFN and NICE srl. Now, users belonging to the CHIMERA world-wide collaboration can simply login from their Internet browsers and perform the analysis of  experimental data.

This work was carried out in the context of the TriGrid Virtual Laboratory  and PI2S2 projects. TriGrid is financed by the Sicilian Regional Government under its “Programma Operativo Regionale 2000-2006” and PI2S2 is financed by the Italian Ministry of University and Research, under its “Programma Operativo Nazionale 2000-2006”. The Sicilian  Grid infrastructure of TriGrid VL and PI2S2  is distributed over eleven  sites and counts, altogether, more than 2500 CPU cores and 350 TB of disk storage.

CHIMERA, designed and built by searchers belonging to INFN–LNS and Section of INFN Catania and Physics department of Catania, was financed by the INFN. EGEEs gLite middleware is used as an underlying support for the projects.

Gaetano Lanzalone, INFN-LNS


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