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Data Storage Supercomputing Linux Science

Linux Played a Vital Role In Discovery of Higgs Boson 299

Posted by timothy
from the more-nobel-juice-for-linus dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Scientific Linux and Ubuntu had a vital role in the discovery of the new boson at CERN. Linux systems are used every day in their analysis, together with hosts of open software, such as ROOT. Linux plays a major role in the running of their networks of computers (in the grid etc.) and it is used for the intensive work in their calculations."
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Linux Played a Vital Role In Discovery of Higgs Boson

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  • C++ too (Score:3, Funny)

    by Jorl17 (1716772) on Thursday July 05, 2012 @03:21PM (#40555535)
    Yup, C++ too. They couldn't make it out of thin air -- now everybody wants a bit of success.
  • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn@gmai l . c om> on Thursday July 05, 2012 @03:22PM (#40555541) Journal
    The only thing that would be newsworthy is if you managed to do something highly technical without having Linux play a vital role. For everyone who thinks that a complete absence of Linux is the norm: Did you use the internet?

    After tinkering with Debian on my Raspberry Pis, it's pretty clear that kids are going to learn how pervasive Linux can be. As long as other operating systems are closed source or require money to run, Linux will be more than abundant. I worked at a Fortune 500 company and aside from some hilariously painful Sharepoint servers, everything was Linux. If OSX is Uranium on the periodic table, Linux is Hydrogen. If Windows is as abundant and costly as diamonds, Linux is as abundant and costly as carbon. It may be no-frills, it might be forever doomed to be passed over by gamers and musicians ... but it's the de facto standard where I work when you need serious shit done -- large or small.
    • (r)Amen!
    • by f3rret (1776822) on Thursday July 05, 2012 @03:53PM (#40556047)

      If OSX is Uranium on the periodic table, .

      So if I install OS X enough times on my computer it'll achieve super-criticality? Does it also mean that OS X is technically illegal under the NPT?

  • Wow, Imagine what they would discover with a Bewoulf Cluster then...

  • by jellomizer (103300) on Thursday July 05, 2012 @03:24PM (#40555575)

    They probably would had still found it.

    I would also like thank Expo Dry Erase markets, without them we wouldn't get our first draft of the calculations.

    The Vital Role is technology that without it, it wouldn't happen. Not something without it, you would have a perfectly usable substitute.

    • There is no perfect usable substitute for Linux.

      • Solaris (Score:5, Insightful)

        by anyaristow (1448609) on Thursday July 05, 2012 @03:52PM (#40556037)

        Scientific installations used to use Solaris a lot. Linux isn't better. It's just cheaper.

        • by devent (1627873)
          Linux is just cheaper? The LHC was budged at 7.5 billion euros. You think they had a few millions for a few Solaris (or anything else) workstations if they needed Solaris?
      • by fatphil (181876)
        Including the null substitution.

        (Don't get me wrong, I've been a part-time linux-ite since 1993, and have been exclusively linux (OK, apart from one NetBSD box) for the last 12 years. However, it's far from perfect even in my nerdy little corner of the world.)
    • the cafeteria staff, without them, we wouldn't have ate

      Heh, I wonder if service people would put that on their resume?
      Janitorial staff when Higgs was found.

      Turned out he was on holiday leaving magnum to fend for himself.

    • It would have eaten up all the funds for building the actual LHC though...

    • If Linux wasn't there, they'd have to write it (using another name, of course).

      Or do you think Linux has any ready substitude for high throughtput computing?

  • by Kensai7 (1005287) on Thursday July 05, 2012 @03:25PM (#40555587)

    Linux is indeed used in many scientific fields. Speed? Customization? Open source tools? Probably all the above. If anyone is working on Neuroscience, for example, I bet he/she already knows NeuroDebian [debian.net] or will be interested to use it.

  • plus (Score:3, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 05, 2012 @03:34PM (#40555735)
    oxygen played a vital role in the discovery of the new boson at CERN. Oxygen plays a major role in the running of their brains. Finally the world will take oxygen seriously as a means to move humanity forward.
  • Vital? (Score:2, Insightful)

    The only truly vital piece of equipment involved was the LHC, which created the necessary energy levels to find something like the Higgs Boson. Everything else seems like interchangeable tools: if it wasn't one operating system it would be another, if it wasn't one open source solution, it would be another maybe even closed source solution.
    • Re:Vital? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 05, 2012 @03:46PM (#40555927)

      It has been noted by others (in the article, for example) that Linux is the undisputed king of high-performance computing, in the public sector at least. My only assumption is that that is not random, that there are reasons for it.

      As far as other open source solutions BSD kernels generally do not have such good support for hard real time applications.

      I have seen a lot of posts by you on this site and Engadget. You put down open source solutions and champion MS almost always. You also tend to almost always use populist ignorant style rhetoric. Consider the possibility that the internet would be a better place if you would just shut up and listen for a while.

  • ...and you'll find god.

    Am I interpreting that right?

  • by darkpixel2k (623900) <aaron@heyaaron.com> on Thursday July 05, 2012 @03:43PM (#40555895) Homepage
    So that's why it took them so long to find the Higgs Boson. They had to 'see' it.
    If they'd had a properly working audio stack, they would have been able to hear it years ago...
  • by loufoque (1400831) on Thursday July 05, 2012 @03:46PM (#40555915)

    Computers played a major role in the discovery of the Higgs boson.

    I hear electricity played a pretty important role, too.

  • Ubuntu? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by scheme (19778) on Thursday July 05, 2012 @03:58PM (#40556119)
    Wait, where does Ubuntu come in? CMS and ATLAS are standardized on SL5/6 and I'm guessing LHCb and ALICE are also using SL. Who's using Ubuntu?
    • Wait, where does Ubuntu come in? CMS and ATLAS are standardized on SL5/6 and I'm guessing LHCb and ALICE are also using SL. Who's using Ubuntu?

      Also the LHC computing grid [wikipedia.org] is built on Scientific Linux.

  • This reminds me I of a comic I saw years ago that was at the expense of Mac users. I believe the comic was even related to CERN and pictured a bunch of mac users in a coffee shop. Has anybody else seen it, know where it can be found on the interweb?
  • by Dcnjoe60 (682885) on Thursday July 05, 2012 @04:22PM (#40556441)

    I hope people appreciate the gravity of that statement.

  • by Tough Love (215404) on Thursday July 05, 2012 @05:17PM (#40557213)

    If Microsoft had been involved they would have discovered the Zune boson, the particle that mediates pogo dancing.

  • by detain (687995) on Thursday July 05, 2012 @06:14PM (#40557913) Homepage
    Didn't we already prove linux has a place in the world? Why are we still getting these stories still trying to validate linux.
  • by Xtifr (1323) on Thursday July 05, 2012 @08:41PM (#40559053) Homepage

    Others have commented on just how widespread Linux really is these days, but that overlooks another reason why this is not news: CERN has been active in the Linux community since the '90s! I remember running into CERN scientists over here to talk about their use of Linux at Linuxworld around '98 or so. Back then, they were basically rolling their own in-house distro, but I'm not surprised to hear they're using Scientific Linux now. Five'll getcha ten that they've had a hand in the development of Scientific Linux. Indeed, if you go to https://www.scientificlinux.org/ [scientificlinux.org] you'll see, right at the top of the page: "SL is a Linux Release put together by Fermilab, CERN, and various other labs and universities..." So, they're using the Linux they helped develop! Boy, there's some shocking news!

Sigmund Freud is alleged to have said that in the last analysis the entire field of psychology may reduce to biological electrochemistry.