back to article CERN publishes massive data set

The CMS Collaboration at CERN has dropped its biggest data publication ever: more than 300 terabytes of particle collisions and accompanying analysis. Unless you've got access to a mighty broadband account, forget this one: at 25Mbps download speed, you'll need a little over three years to have the full dataset. And that's …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    365 Tb > 300 Tb

    In keeping with this spirit, here is a reminder of how we monitor (your) CERN activities. We monitor all network Traffic coming into and going out of CERN.

    Our new analysis infrastructure will be able to cope with the automatic live analysis of about one terabyte of data every day. All this data is stored for one year.

    Transparent monitoring for your protection

    1. Yes Me Silver badge

      Re: 365 Tb > 300 Tb

      "We monitor all network Traffic coming into and going out of CERN."

      A bit silly, A.C. It's true of course that high energy physicists have often been at the leading edge of Big Data analysis and pioneered a lot of the techniques now used by many others including 5 Eyes. But since CERN's mission since 1954 has been open science, I don't think they give a shit who downloads their stuff or why.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: 365 Tb > 300 Tb

        you bet...

  2. Phil Kingston

    I do love a good inverse femtobarn

  3. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

    300 Terabytes of particle collusions and accompanying analysis

    The collusion is all about denying voters the right to vote and propel loose particles Trump/Hillary to the Red Button Golden Eagle Seat Of Utter Democracy Kitsch, isn't it?

    1. frank ly

      I always suspected that all those particles were in it together. It took a massive effort by CERN to flush them out into the open where we could see them and understand what they were up to.

      1. snaptacular

        beat me to it. those sneaky particles.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ach, right now that OneDrive no longer allows for unlimited storage...


  5. Chemist

    Barn ?

    "ver alive to the possibilities of new standard unit, decided that a Barn has to be suitably imposing, such as the 4,890 cubic metre Harmondsworth Great Barn."

    Sorry to rain on your parade but AFAIK a barn is unit of area not volume. ( I think it's derived from 'hitting a barn door') Can't e-mail at present so can't send via corrections.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Barn ?

      Yep, already a unit. I use it when I'm dealing with fission, and yes, there already are femtobarns.

      1. Chemist

        Re: Barn ?

        "Yep, already a unit. I use it when I'm dealing with fission, and yes, there already are femtobarns."

        I think the author already knows it's a unit - they were just trying to put it into a 'Reg' unit. Unfortunately as mention above it's an area Not a volume - so they should really look at the area of the door of the great barn unless they can find a bigger door on some other barn.

        1. PNGuinn

          Re: Barn ?

          What's the speed of a barn in a vacuum?

          With and without sheep if it matters.

          Or if it doesn't.

          AND What would be the effect of an inverse mosquito bite in / on a vacuum?

          Do mosquitoes bite aliens?

          Can they do it in a barn filled with vacuum filled sheep?


  6. scrubber
    Big Brother

    Free analysis

    If I download it won't GCHQ have to analyse it to work out what it is? Won't that save lots of scientists a load of work and finally put the Orwellian Panopticon to some good use for once?

    Of course, 300TB will be the proverbial needle in the pron haystack that is my download history. And not just any haystack, a Barn-sized haystack.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Free analysis

      ...maybe if we all torrent it? That should set a few alarm bells ringing around the Five Eyes and [m|r]iaa types :-)

      Out of 300TB of data, there ought to be more than a few coincidental film and music fingerprints.

      We all "know" that torrents are only ever used for illegal stuff </sarc>

      1. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

        Re: Free analysis

        I was thinking along those lines... is there a way to push all the experimental data (ALL the data from ALL the experiments) towards ALL the nosy TLAs?

        Or at least towards Redmond, using the W10 telemetry 'features'?

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: Free analysis

          Send it as an email attachment?

  7. snaptacular

    Ah, "Barn-sized", my favourite pron category, where the phrase "I'd hit that" is usually true

  8. David Glasgow

    Tsk.... primary school error

    ...confusing barn doors with shed-loads. Former area, latter volume.

  9. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge


    We are currently working on new fast particle tracking and track reconstruction software for a different detector, but I might well check out these data to see if we can apply our algorithms to this work as well.Should keep a couple of students out of mischief

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Nice!

      Given that cheap and disposable trainees — PhD students and postdocs — fuel the entire scientific research enterprise, it is not surprising that few inside the system seem interested in change. A system complicit in this sort of exploitation is at best indifferent and at worst cruel.

      Potential missing staff in some areas is a separate issue, and educational programmes are not designed to make up for it. On-the-job learning and training are not separated but dynamically linked together, benefiting to both parties. In my three years of operation, I have unfortunately witnessed cases where CERN duties and educational training became contradictory and even conflicting.

      Resolution of the Staff Council

      - the Management does not propose to align the level of basic CERN salaries with those chosen as the basis for comparison;

      - in the new career system a large fraction of the staff will have their advancement prospects, and consequently the level of their pension, reduced with respect to the current MARS system;

      - the overall reduction of the advancement budget will have a negative impact on the contributions to the CERN Health Insurance System (CHIS);

      And a warning to non-western members:

      "The cost [...] has been evaluated, taking into account realistic labor prices in different countries. The total cost is X (with a western equivalent value of Y) [where Y>X]

      source: LHCb calorimeters : Technical Design Report

      ISBN: 9290831693

      "How should we make it attractive for them [young people] to spend 5,6,7 years in our field, be satisfied, learn about excitement, but finally be qualified to find other possibilities?" -- H. Schopper

  10. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

    The barn already has a definition - and it is a small area

    The origin really is "Couldn't hit the broad side of a barn".

    Harmondsworth great barn is 58.55 x 11.3 x 11.9 metres, so its broad side is about 7x10^30 barns. TheRegister already has a unit of area, the nanoWales.

    1. Hurn

      Re: The barn already has a definition - and it is a small area

      Agreed - origin does stem from that phrase.

      However, at least in fission, the term is used to measure the probability cross-section for absorption.

      Example: to a neutron, the relative "target size" (such that the larger the target size, or cross-section, the more likely a neutron is to be absorbed) of a nucleus is measured in "barns" (likely-hood of hitting the broadside thereof) .

      The actual, physical properties are in terms of energy (speed) of both the neutron and the target nuclei, which is related to temperature. Thus, there are different values for "fast" vs "thermal" neutrons.

  11. Hans Neeson-Bumpsadese Silver badge

    How big, exactly?

    Is that 300 metric terrabytes or 300 binary terrabytes? At that scale, all those extra 24s will add up to a sizable amount.

  12. Chozo

    Say It Aint So

    Wait, what! no ElReg equivalent units for data storage???

  13. PaulAb

    I just like.....

    the pretty pictures, I'll leave nerd central to work it out.

    You scientists and your energy levels, have a Snicker (Other Choccy delights available)

  14. kryptonaut


    Ah yes, Kraftwerk's little-known follow up release never quite gained the recognition it deserved.

    Icon: Florian Schneider

  15. GavinC

    Download Failed: 99%

    >you'll need a little over three years to have the full dataset

    That would be a b*tch if your connection dropped out at 99%. Which with our countrys creaking infrastructure, is quite likely.

    1. NotBob

      Re: Download Failed: 99%

      I think I'll download it over dial-up.

      Take that you lousy political robo-callers!

  16. John70

    Take even longer at peak times and traffic shaping

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