UT Puts Force10 Switch at Heart of Physics Research

The University of Tennessee's (Knoxville, TN) physics department has installed a C300  resilient switch from Force 10 Networks (San Jose, CA) to help analyze data from CERN's large hadron collider (LHC), a particle accelerator.

The Force10 C300 is at the foundation of the university's new high energy physics cluster, which will have the processing capability to efficiently analyze the LHC's massive amounts of data. The C300 switch will provide the interconnect more than 150 nodes involved in processing the large volume of data.

With support for 384 line-rate gigabit Ethernet ports, the C300 provides not just the scalability and network control the project requires, but UT will also leverage the switch's line-rate 10 Gigabit Ethernet density to connect the physics cluster to the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory via StarLight, one of the largest research and education access points in the world. A tier-one center for the LHC project, Fermi Lab acts as a distributor of the data to the university as well as other research and education organizations.

"To analyze the data from CERN's collider in a meaningful way, we knew that we would need a supercomputer that was both scalable and demonstrated predictable performance under all situations," said John Lankford, senior infrastructure architect at the University of Tennessee, in a prepared statement. "The Force10 C300 brings us the reliable high performance we need to study the LHC data and the seamless interoperability between our high energy physics cluster and the Force10 E-Series switch/routers in StarLight through which we gain access to that data."

To advance science, CERN shares data it collects with research organizations around the world via a 10 gigabit Ethernet WAN link from its campus in Geneva to StarLight in Chicago, the largest research exchange in the world.

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About the Author

David Kopf is a freelance technology writer and marketing consultant, and can be reached at david@dkcopy.com.

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