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NIKHEF Grid and Physics Data Processing

Nikhef, BiG Grid, and the Netherlands LHC Tier-1

The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) will produce rougly 15 Petabytes of data anually. By 2014 LOFAR had exceeded all LHC experiments combined with regards to data stored on tape in the Netherlands. The Grid, large-scale distributed data processing across many different institutes and countries, is essential to make the analysis of these data possible. It was one, but not the only, reason Nikhef joined the Grid projects in Europe, and together with NWO/NCF and NBIC proposed and won the BiG Grid project to provide a large-scale e-Science infrastructure in the Netherlands. The Netherlands Tier-1 Facility is enabled by BiGGrid and SURFsara as part of the national e-Infrastructure - as are many more sciences. Nikhef also promotes e-Science and grid solutions and participated in joint grid projects in Earth observation, the humanities, in astro-particle physics, Lofar, and other data intensive sciences.

The use of Grid technologies will greatly facilitate implementation of the distributed model for simulation and analysis, and enables efficient use of the computing and storage resources by the various experiments.

Getting on to the Grid

If you are at Nikhef, grid resources, computing and storage in the Netherlands, in the LHC Computing Grid, and through the European EGI e-Infrastructure are available for your use: just start using the Grid! To make the most of your experience, follow these simple steps. For help, you can always drop by at any room between H1.50 and H1.59!
  • Remember that all the grid tools you need are installed on all Nikhef desktops and on login.nikhef.nl.
  • Get a Grid identity: take the registration tutorial, and go get a certificate at the TERENA Certificate Service (or the DutchGrid CA).
    Nikhef employees and registered guests can now also use their Nikhef login and password to get a certificate immediately from the eScience Personal Certificate Service.
    If you already have a certificate from any of the EUGridPMA or IGTF accredited CAs, you can use that one.
  • Import the certificate in your browser (see here how) and - if you are affiliated to ATLAS, LHCb, or Alice - register with LCG at the Registration Site. If your community is not listed there, ask the grid team or go to the list of BiG grid supported communities.
    In a day or two (depending on your experiment management) you will have access to the Grid. Please do abide by the e-Infrastructure policies as well as of course the Nikhef AUP.
  • Add the Grid Software to your path and start working from any Linux workstation or on Stoomboot, following our step-by-step guide.
  • To start your work on the grid, also have a look at your experiment's software framework. For example, Atlas analysis requires the use of DonQuijote2 for data management, LHCb uses DIRAC, and Alice uses AliEn.
  • Access to Stoomboot is most convenient from either login.nikhef.nl or via elel22.nikhef.nl. For questions regarding the functioning of Stoomboot, ask the help desk (ext. 2200).
You can browse through the Grid documentation to tackle the complex use cases. For more information, you can contact the PDP and Grid team in H1.50 - H1.59, or by e-mail any time to grid.support@nikhef.nl. This is also the proper e-mail address for support questions and bug reports.

Our resources

The NIKHEF Data Processing Facility comprises a single production facility (LCG2ELPROD) and some smaller experimental systems. The LCG2ELPROD facility contains over 60 kSpecInt2006Rate (4500 CPU cores) of raw compute power and about 3000 TBytes of disk space. Some of this capacity is dedicated to usage by the WLCG community (and our local physicists), whilst all participants and users of the Dutch National e-Infrastructure coordinated by SURF can use it! It was developed over the years with support from the NCF NL-Grid project, and BiG Grid. The Nikhef facilities are predominantly distributed high-throughput data clusters interconnected globally, and high-throughput cloud. An even karger range of facilities is offered in the Netherlands - for those have a look at SURFsara.

Our Research

There are three main lines of Grid and fabric research and engineering of the NIKHEF PDP group: More information about the research projects can be found in the Nikhef PDP Strategy and elsewhere on the Nikhef web site.

Comments to David Groep