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Comment Re:Data to crunch (Score 5, Informative) 53

You have particles entering the detector every ~40ns and hundreds of different instruments making measurements, which leads to a ton of data very quickly.

Not exactly true. It's running at 40 MHz, so that's 25 ns bunch spacing. Further, you don't exactly have to 'crunch' the data as it comes in, there are multiple triggers that throw lots of data away based momentum cuts and other criteria before it ever makes out of the detectors.

In ATLAS, for example, there are ~ 10e+9 interactions/sec. The Level1 Trigger, consists of fast, custom electronics programmed in terms of adjustable parameters to control filtering algorithms. Input is from summing electronics in the EM and hadron calorimiters, and signals from the fast muon trigger chambers. The info is rather coarse at this point (transverse momentum cuts, narrow jet criteria, etc), and at level one the info rate is decreased in about ~2us (including communication time), from 40MHz to about 75KHz. Level2 now does a closer look, taking more time and focusing on specific regions of interest (RoIs). This process takes about 10ms, and data rate is reduced to about 1KHz for sending to the event filter. Here, the full granularity of the detector (the 'detector means all the bits - Inner detectors: Pixels, strips, Transition Radiation tracker - The calorimiters - The muon tubes at the outside radius) and runs whatever selections algorithms are in use. This takes a few seconds, and output is reduced to about 100Hz and written to disc for a gazillion grad students (like myself) to analyze endlessly and get our PhDs.

There is much more to it of course, but you can find info about it on line if you really are interested in the details. Have a look at the ATLAS Technical Design Report: http://atlas.web.cern.ch/Atlas/GROUPS/PHYSICS/TDR/TDR.html

Comment Re:Brilliant. Go Steve! (Score 5, Informative) 609

Actually, the transmission in the Prius is completely different from this. The Prius takes two full power inputs (the engine and the electric motor), and adjusts the power output from the two (balancing them) to achieve the end ratio. This takes a single full power input (and two factional inputs, perhaps a very small fraction if friction losses are small enough), and produces a variable end ratio. Quite a big difference between them. For the Prius transmission to work, both engines need to be of comparable power (A 100 hp gas engine would need somewhere near a 100hp electric motor). This would likely work with a 100hp engine and a pair of 1/2 hp (or less, depending on precision and friction) electric motors.

And FYI, an OTTO cycle engine is not most efficient at 2000 rpm. It's most efficient at its horse power peak RPM, and at full throttle. Anything less than that (RPM or throttle), and you lose volumetric efficiency. And when I say efficient, I'm saying the power/fuel use is the maximum. It's all about the intake and exhaust design (you can tune them for maximum efficiency at a particular RPM for a particular engine design). That's why hybrids typically use smaller engines. So that you can run it closer to its peak power for longer (40hp at full throttle would be plenty to cruise on the highway and still be able to charge the batteries without needing to be throttled back).

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