First off I am new to computer science (first semester) and do not know anything about physics, so I am appologizing up front for this not very scientific question.

I've been wondering how data is processed at the LHC. I am sure CERN doesn't just use one programming language to write code but I am curious what the fastest (machine nearest?) language is, keeping in mind that particles at LHC are nearly moving at the speed of light.

So if for example a sensor senses a particle on one side of the LHC, and there is a sensor on the other side of the LHC, data from one side to the other would have a direct and shorter way, but the processing would have to take less than a 50 millionth of second (est.), right?

  • $\begingroup$ As far as I'm aware, the model at CERN is to generate huge amounts of data at the experiment sites and then store it for later processing. I'm not aware of any requirement to process and transmit data from one side of the accelerator to the other, in real-time, while experiments are going on. $\endgroup$ – David Richerby Mar 29 '14 at 0:17
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    $\begingroup$ There is also the possibility that some of the preprocessing runs in hardware (or at least programmable hardware). $\endgroup$ – Yuval Filmus Mar 29 '14 at 2:37
  • $\begingroup$ While the data processing CERN does is certainly interesting, questions about their technology are hardly ontopic here. That said, I'm sure they publish significant parts of if (them being scientists and all); questions about specifics of what they do can be valid questions for this site. Even then, you may be better off on Computational Science, Cross Validated or Physics, depending on the question. $\endgroup$ – Raphael Mar 29 '14 at 11:50
  • $\begingroup$ yes there are big challenges with "big data" and moving/processing massive amts of data. one of the central areas of efficiency focus is algorithms that process images/tracks and attempt to separate out "interesting" from "noninteresting" tracks... ie events that one wants to analyze vs pictures without the event being searched for. think there are some fast/optimized image processing algorithms for all that. yes think general algorithms in use here are on topic for this site & think its too bad/pity theres next to nothing on LHC/Higgs etc right now on this CS site esp given CS pivotal role. $\endgroup$ – vzn Mar 29 '14 at 15:56
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    $\begingroup$ @vzn thanks for putting the question to the chat. The reply by dmckee pretty much states what I was looking for. $\endgroup$ – qwertz Mar 30 '14 at 21:12