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What is CERN Doing with All That Data?

Pauline Gagnon writes that CMS and ATLAS, the two large experiments operating at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), have reached “five inverse femtobarn of data” which was the goal established for 2011.

Should we expect big announcements soon? It is hard to tell but we can all hope. We are tracking elusive particles that have escaped detection so far. If we don’t find anything new right away, we will at the very least show in detail where we have searched and map out all territory covered so far, where these particles can no longer hide. With lots of work, extreme rigor and huge computing facilities like the Grid, it can be done. At the very least, if we do not find new particles right away, we will be able to set limits that theorists will be able to take into account to draw a better picture of the world we live in. The more data we accumulate, the closer we get to this goal.

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