At universities across the United States and at other institutions around the world, teams of computer research scientists and physicists are preparing for the largest physics experiment ever.
The collider will give protons a pop hoping to catch a glimpse of the Big Bang, or at least the subatomic particles that are thought to have last been seen at the big event 10 billion to 15 billion years ago that led to the formation of the universe. The CERN collider will begin producing data in November, and from the trillions of collisions of protons it will generate 15 petabytes of data per year.
By comparison, 15 petabytes would be the equivalent of all of the information in all of the university libraries in the United States seven times over. It would be the equivalent of 22 Internets, or more than 1,000 Libraries of Congress. And there is no search function.
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