Grid Network

A Grid Network - Depicted by HowStuffWorks

The Internet on Steroids

Since the invention of the Internet itself, the use of computational grids is probably the most noteworthy development in Information Technology. In a nutshell, the potential of computational grids comprised of inter-connected computer hardware is as significant as what the Internet did for computer software. The grid puts enormous quantities of computer hardware at the disposal of individual researchers and collaborations, enabling them to execute computationally intensive tasks in a mere fraction of the time that would be needed using the resources available at a single location.


Much of the development for this kind of computing has been carried out by the European Center for Nuclear Research (CERN). Data-taking by experiments at the Large Hadron Collider, based at CERN in Geneva, Switzerland, generates Peta Bytes of data (1 PB = 1 million GB) each year this data must be stored and processed. In order to carry out these tasks, dozens of computer farms distributed around the world, each with hundreds or even thousands of CPU nodes and many Tera Bytes (TB) of data storage, are linked together to form a computational grid known as the Large Hadron Collider Computing Grid (LCG). More than 100 sites worldwide are participating in the LCG, including sites in South Africa.

Wits HEP Group Involvement in Grid Development Work

Our High-Energy Physics Group in the School of Physics at the University of the Witwatersrand, together with the School of Electrical and Information Engineering, are working together on the development and deployment of the LCG via the South African National Grid (SAGrid). The SAGrid itself is a federation of institutes, Virtual Organizations and resources, acting as a platform for collaboration in order to provide services and resources to researchers. At Witwatersrand we operate an ATLAS Tier-3 site comprised of over 100 CPU nodes and nearly 100 TB of disk storage space.


Wits HEP Group, School of Physics,
University of the Witwatersrand,
1 Jan Smuts Ave, Johannesburg, South Africa
Telephone: +27 11 717 6848
Fax: +27 11 717 6879