Monday 30 July 2012

In search of the Higgs particle

Siemens Scada system supports Cern

The Cern European Nuclear Research Centre in Meyrin near Geneva (CH) is the site of the world’s biggest particle physics laboratory and accelerator centre. Cern is home to the world’s biggest particle accelerator, the LHC (Large Hadron Collider). Alongside the control, monitoring and documentation of experiments conducted in the LHC, since 2001 all technical processes at Cern have been monitored and controlled by a Scada system from the Simatic HMI family: Simatic WinCC Open Architecture (WinCC OA).

The scientific community is making ever greater use of high-end industrial standard systems. The decision taken at Cern to use the Simatic WinCC OA was down to its extreme stability and connectivity, its open system architecture and its resistance to external disturbances, as well as its capacity for coping reliably with data overload situations.

The demands made on the Scada system are enormous: Over ten million I/O (input and output) monitoring channels are processed by hundreds of computer systems using a widely distributed control system. Its ability to handle a large number of channels and high volumes of data makes the Simatic WinCC OA highly suited for networked and redundant high-end control systems. The Scada system ensures continuous, high performance communication right from the field level – in other words from the machine – to the control centre.

The open communication concept behind WinCC OA permits the integration of the most diverse components using OPC (Object Linking and Embedding OLE for process control), different field buses and telecontrol protocols. WinCC OA can also be used alongside Windows on Linux and Solaris operating systems, and offers scope for long-term data archiving using database management system software Oracle RdB, which features hierarchical compression stages and balancing functions. At the Cern, for instance, 200,000 value changes are processed per second in an Oracle Cluster.

Siemens subsidiary ETM professional control GmbH based in Eisenstadt (A) has developed and marketed the Scada system Simatic WinCC Open Architecture for over 25 years.  As part of their Simatic HMI family, the Scada system monitors and controls applications requiring a high degree of client-specific adaptability, large and/or complex applications and projects that impose specific system requirements and functions.

Cern, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, is a large-scale research centre near Meyrin in the Canton of Geneva, Switzerland. Cern is concerned studying the basic constituents of matter and the interaction between elementary particles. This addresses the fundamental question of how the universe was formed and how it works. Large hadron colliders are used to accelerate particles to almost the speed of light and to cause them to collide with one other. A large number of different particle detectors are used to reconstruct the trajectory of the particles generated by these collisions. This allows conclusions to be drawn about the nature of both the collided and the newly formed particles. This process is an enormous technical undertaking, both in terms of the manufacture and operation of the equipment and also of the extreme demands made on computing performance for evaluating the large volumes of data. This is another reason why Cern is operated and financed on an international level.

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