DESY Powers Science with Elastic Storage from IBM

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Science at DESY

Science at DESY

Today IBM announced a collaboration with Deutsches Elektronen-Synchrotron (DESY) in Germany to speed access to 20 GB of data/second flowing from its PETRA III accelerator, which is used by 2000 global scientists to explore the building blocks of matter. Based on the IBM Elastic Storage that powered Watson in its historic win on Jeopardy!, this Big Data architecture will speed up analysis of massive volumes of x-ray images of atom-sized particles, and can aid variety of research projects ranging from semiconductor designs to cancer therapies.

DESY’s 1.7 mile-long PETRA III accelerator is a super microscope that speeds up electrically charged particles nearly to the speed of light – approximately 186,000 miles per second – and sends them through a tight magnetic slalom course to generate the most brilliant x-ray radiation of its kind. This synchrotron radiation is used by more than 2,000 scientists each year to examine the internal structure of a variety of materials with atomic resolution. A key challenge in this process is managing huge volumes of x-ray data produced by detectors that take high-speed snapshots of tens of thousands of samples in quick succession and record the measurements.

A typical detector generates a data stream of about 5 Gigabit per second, which is about the data volume of one complete CD-ROM per second,” said Dr. Volker Gülzow, head of DESY IT. “And at PETRA III we do not have just one detector, but 14 beamlines equipped with many detectors, and they are currently being extended to 24. All this Big Data must be stored and handled reliably.”

IBM’s Elastic Storage scales to manage the deluge of data flowing every second from PETRA III. Elastic Storage can provide scientists with high-speed access to increasing volumes of research data by placing critical data close to everyone and everything that needs it, no matter where they are in the world. This architecture will allow DESY to develop an open ecosystem for research and offer analysis-as-a-service and cloud solutions to its users worldwide.

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