Forget the internet, here comes the grid

A new form of super-fast information transfer that could make the internet obsolete is being developed by scientists based at CERN (Conseil Européen pour la Recherche Nucléaire), the physics research centre.

The Times reports that the CERN scientists are working on a new better way of transferring information to accommodate the massive data output from a giant particle accelerator they are building, called the Large Hadron Collider.

The grid will be built from dedicated fibre optic cables and modern routing centres so that there are no bottlenecks or drag points to slow the movement of data, and run on more that 200,000 servers located in different countries around the world.

The result, once it is completed, will be a data network capable of transferring data at speeds 10,000 times faster than your average broadband connection. That would mean being able to transfer holographic images over large distances or, according to The Times, sending the entire Rolling Stones back catalogue from Britain to Japan in less than two seconds.

One of the lead researchers on the project, Glasgow university professor of physics David Britton, says if made more widespread, grid technologies could fundamentally change the way people live.

“With this kind of computing power, future generations will have the ability to collaborate and communicate in ways older people like me cannot even imagine,” Britton says.

If everything goes to plan, the grid will be switched on with the Large Hadron Collider in the middle of this year.


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