August, 2014

CERN VM WebAPI for Running LHC@Home

Year: 2014
Expertise: Computer System Architecture, Parallel and Distributed Computing.
Outcome: Test Report.

Integration and Test of Web-based Interface for LHC@Home using CERN Virtual Machine WebAPI

Bagus Hanindhito
Department of Electrical Engineering, School of Electrical Engineering and Informatics
Institut Teknologi Bandung, Indonesia
Email : hanindhito@bagus.my.id

Abstract—The Experiments in Large Hadron Collider at CERN generate the petabyte of data every year. The need of high-performance computing power to process the vast amount of data becomes a concern. Building massive computer farms may solve the problem, but it will require an expensive cost to construct and maintain the infrastructure.

Another alternative is to connect much smaller computer around the globe to donate its spare computing power for LHC. The more computers are interconnected, the more computing power we can obtain. This is the idea of the volunteer computing. Some of the projects that involve the idea of volunteer computing are Folding@Home (protein folding simulation), SETI@home (analysis of radio frequencies from space in search for extraterrestrial life), and GIMPS (search for largest Mersenne Prime number).

Since 2011, CERN has been running a BOINC Project. The BOINC (Berkeley Open Infrastructure for Network Computing), developed by University of California, Berkeley, gives people ability to participate in the experiment at CERN by donating their spare computer power (i.e. unused CPU Cycle when the computer is left turned on). With the platform, the computation job in the form of work unit will be distributed to each client computer. During its idle time, each client computer processes the job. This project at CERN is named as LHC@Home.

However, some people find that it is not easy to join as a volunteer for this distributed computing platform. It requires considerable computing savvy on the part of successful volunteers. We need to build a new system to make it easier for people who want to participate in LHC@home. The system will be a web-based system using CERN WebAPI that requires as little user intervention as possible. The CERN WebAPI will run on most popular web browsers (i.e. Chrome, Firefox). Once run, CERN WebAPI will download and install CERN VM package in VirtualBox automatically in headless mode. Users can control the process using their web browser.

We hope with this new system, more people (especially those who has minimal computing skills) are attracted to participate as a volunteer in LHC@Home. Later on, the project will include Virtual LHC Challenge where the events that are simulated using LHC@Home will be at the same rate as the LHC would produce them if it were actually running.


Index Terms— ATLAS Insertable B-Layer, Back-of-Crate Module, Data Acquisition System, Low-Level Test, Read-Out-Driver Module.

Project Page

Access project page for more detail.

Having Fun with CernVM WebAPI during CERN Summer Student Webfest


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