The Large Hadron Collider is more than just the world's coolest/most dangerous science experiment — it's also producing a frankly ridiculous amount of data. I mean, you may think it's a long way down the road to Geneva, but that's just peanuts to the LHC.
Stefan Gillard is chief commercial officer for Steam Engine, an Australian high performance computing company which is one of the outfits helping crunch all the numbers spewed out by the LHC. And the numbers associated with the process that Gillard quoted at an Intel press lunch yesterday are worth a quick eye-goggle:
They turn the LHC on for a 12-second burst, and then it takes them four weeks to drop it to to zero. That 12 seconds produces two petabytes of data, which is chunked up into ten-terabyte blocks which each generate five years' worth of research data.
In case you were wondering: two petabytes is the equivalent of about 700 million MP3 downloads. Try throwing that at iTunes and see what happens.