CERN makes progress on giant physics project

CERN's Large Hadron Collider project now has an uptime of almost 100 percent, thanks to a successful deployment of its Technical Infrastructure Monitoring (TIM) System.

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CERN's Large Hadron Collider project now has an uptime of almost 100 percent, thanks to a successful deployment of its Technical Infrastructure Monitoring (TIM) System.

The project, the world's largest and most powerful particle accelerator which aims to test the Big Bang theory for the existence of the universe, depends upon the reliability of its TIM system to alert researchers in the event of an emergency.

The TIM network is used to collect, evaluate, store and distribute information around the clock, to ensure the smooth running of the world’s largest physics laboratory.

When the LHC becomes fully operational over 150 systems with 50,000 measuring points will be delivering around 2.6 million values a day, and is monitored around the clock by the CERN Control Centre. It unites disparate data and systems without hampering CERN’s research efforts.

Eric Lienard, CERN's Technical Infrastructure Supervisor, says that the whole project would be like "a car without an engine" if the TIM was removed.

The data provided by the infrastructure systems is merged in TIM and provided to users via a graphical user interface. Lienard said key researchers would be "blinded" if the monitoring was taken away.

Apart from the failure of one of the transformers on the day after the Large Hadron Collider was first tested, the project has moved along "as expected, if not smoother" according to Lienard.

One of the factors that Lienard attributes to the success of the TIM has been the communications backbone provided by Progress SonicMQ enterprise messaging solution.

"Being online 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days per year is vital to the TIM, and since this system was first up-and-running in 2006 there has only been one failure in the SonicMQ system."

SonicMQ allows the system to immediately alert operators in the control centre if there is a project-threatening disruption, such as a fire, cooling system failure or technical breakdown, so that it can be tackled quickly.

Lienard added that he would encourage other elements within CERN to develop a monitoring system using the same software.

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