Help Hunt The Higgs Boson Particle With LHC@Home
We’ve hunted for intelligent extraterrestrial signals, searched for cancer cures and even looked for cosmic gravitational waves… all from the comfort of our homes. This is all thanks to “citizen science” projects that use the idle time of home computers to solve some of the most complex problems facing science.
And now, CERN’s Large Hadron Collider (LHC) has re-entered the distributed computing world with LHC@home 2.0 — an updated version of the 2004 effort to simulate particle collisions on home computers.
The main aim, of course, is to help track down the most elusive subatomic particles theorized to exist — the Higgs boson — but the effort will ultimately allow physicists to tap into a huge amount of computing power to simulate how our Universe came into existence.
“Volunteers can now actively help physicists in the search for new fundamental particles that will provide insights into the origin of our Universe, by contributing spare computing power from their personal computers and laptops,” according to a statement issued by CERN via BBC News.
Of course, just because LHC data is being distributed to home computers doesn’t mean CERN’s 100 million Euro ($140 million) Worldwide Large Hadron Collider Computing Grid can’t handle the 15 million gigabytes of data being generated by the LHC every year; LHC@home will complement these in-house efforts.
Although the installation of the required software may seem complicated, if you follow the instructions on the LHC@home 2.0 website, it should only take you 5 minutes or so to get set up. Unfortunately, the creation of new accounts have been temporarily suspended, but it’s likely to be up and running again soon.
Related: What Is The Higgs Boson?