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Accessing LHC data

  1. Sep 5, 2008 #1
    Hi Chaps,

    As I'm sure we all are, I'm literally jumping up and down with excitement about next weeks first beam circulation - and only 31 days till the first collisions!

    Obviously, the CERN / LHC website is a great resource, but to someone who is still finding their feet in the particle physics - what would people say is the best way of monitoring the different experiments? There seems to be lots of charts and data, but i'm struggling to work out what, if any of it, is "live" and what is already decommisioned or irrelevant. I'm looking at a few places, in particular:

    http://lhc-operation.web.cern.ch/lhc-operation/Default.htm" [Broken]
    http://ab-dep-op.web.cern.ch/ab-dep-op/vistar.php?usr=LHC" [Broken]

    Also, does anyone know what CERN's intentions are on releasing data to the public? I'd love to get some mitts on some raw numbers, not that i'd really know what to do with them....

    Thanks very much,

    Last edited by a moderator: May 3, 2017
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 5, 2008 #2


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    I very much doubt that raw data will be distributed to the general public. Of course, it depends on what you mean by "raw" also: firstly, the detectors are computers which decide which data is important in real time. This data then gets sent to another computer which "reconstructs" interesting events before the physicists ever get to see anything. It's done this way because, if it weren't, there would be literally too much data for even a computer to digest. Then, I presume the data will go to CERN, who will then choose what they wish to release. I can't see this happening for quite a while, though.

    So, whilst I understand you're excited for the first collisions in just over a month, nothing "interesting" will really happen for quite a long time after that!
  4. Sep 5, 2008 #3
    yeah fair point... I was reading the other day about the datacentre they've built for it which is mind-blowing in itself.

    I guess it's just a case of sticking to the press releases and the papers. I'm just impatient.

    Many thanks

  5. Sep 5, 2008 #4
    Unless you are a collaborator, you don't have access to raw data. Being a collaborator implies contributing, like calibrating a detector or writing a piece of useful software. Now, that applies to a team of people, so some students will indeed only see raw data analysis but they are part of a larger group, itself part of the collaboration.
  6. Sep 5, 2008 #5

    Vanadium 50

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    Humanino is right. The way it works is that if you want access to the data, you need to make a contribution.

    A while back, a number of theorists were clamoring to have the Tevatron experiments release their raw data, and a few of the more excitable ones even started making sounds like "Freedom of Information Act". At one point, the experiments said something like "If you really want a copy, we'll make you one - but you have to provide the blank media and pay the overtime for the computer operators to copy it." This would run into millions and probably tens of millions.
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