Important reason for squashing software bugs accuracy of scientific discoveries

  • #1
rhody
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CERN's[/PLAIN] [Broken] boson hunters tackle big data bug infestation
It's the software or the science that's been wrong

CERN says it has squashed 40,000 bugs living in ROOT, the C++ framework it is relied upon to store, crunch and help analyse petabytes of data from the Large Hadron Collider (LHC). The massive collider generates 15PB of data each year from 600 million proton collisions per second.

ROOT contains 3.5 million lines of code while CERN's army of 10,000 physicists have surrounded that core with a further 50 million lines of software they have built to try and sift out Higgs boson from the petabytes. Higgs boson is the particle that theoretically gives mass to all other particles, but it has to date proved elusive.

The bugs have lived in ROOT since the data-munching framework came online in 1995, and were only finally winkled out using the application of commercially available static-code analysis tools from development testing specialist Coverity.

CERN reckons the bugs had helped muddy results from the LHC, throwing them off the Higgs-boson scent. Further, there were programs built by those 10,000 scientists that could never be properly tested prior to Coverity.
One's analysis when processing experimental data must account for possible errors in the tools used to identify and detect expected behavior, not an easy task, which is why multiple, usually three or more methods are deemed necessary to rule out the possibility for false or erroneous results, before staking one's reputation and credibility on the accuracy of them.

Rhody...
 
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Answers and Replies

  • #2
jhae2.718
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That wasn't their big announcement, was it??
 
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rhody
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That wasn't their big announcement, was it??
No, I was just providing insight into how they verified the software for the data analysis tools that CERN uses. From the wiki link, apparently the Coverity Toolset is used by US Homeland Security as well.

I find it odd that it is now 10:30 am EST in the US and about 3:30 PM in Geneva, and their isn't any internet stories breaking yet, previous experience with this sort of thing usually means about an hour to two hour delay before it hits the "Net", so to speak. If the conference is at 2 pm their time, I would expect to see news breaking in the next hour or so, so stay tuned.

Rhody...
 
  • #4
rhody
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FYI, According to this story... the CERN conference will begin at:
3.40pm: Press conference begins. If you have questions, you can tweet them to the Cern press office with the hashtag #higgsupdate
If this time is correct, I anticipate the announcement at or before 12:40 EST in the US from internet sources, not mainstream media, TV, radio which will be ahead of the curve, so to speak.

edit:

This story does include details of the conference, but they are only quotes out of context so I would wait for the official News feed from CERN for the whole story.

Rhody...
 
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