20 years Grid Computing Centre Karlsruhe - GridKa celebrates anniversary

On 7/22, the SCC celebrated the 20-year success story of GridKa. The hardware and software of the data and analysis center for particle and astroparticle physics has been continuously expanded and adapted over the years.

The words of welcome are given by Prof. Oliver Kraft, Vice President Research at KIT

Translated with DeepL.com

On Friday July 22, the SCC celebrated the 20-year success story of the Grid Computing Centre Karlsruhe GridKa. The data and analysis center for particle and astroparticle physics is one of the major research infrastructures at KIT and serves as an international user facility all four LHC experiments (ATLAS, ALICE, CMS, and LHCb) and furthermore other international experiments with German participation: COMPASS, Belle-II, the Pierre Auger Obervatory, Babar, and IceCube. The computer and storage systems as well as the required software tools have been continuously expanded and adapted over the years according to the requirements of particle physics at CERN in Geneva. Today, GridKa has approximately 61,000 CPU cores, nearly 100 petabytes of disk storage and 135 petabytes of tape storage, and 400 gigabits of network connectivity for storing and analyzing data from the Large Hadron Collider (LHC). As a Tier 1 center in the worldwide LHC Computing Grid (WLCG), GridKa stores about 15% of the LHC's experiment data worldwide, making it currently the largest WLCG center in the world and also a major contributor to the discovery of the Higgs particle in 2012, which would not have been possible without the data and analysis infrastructures connected around CERN.

Achim Streit, Director of the SCC, had invited external and internal guests to the celebration. Because of the Corona situation, the SCC opted for a hybrid event solution, so that about 40 people could participate in the hall and all the others (more than 60 at peak) via videoconference. After twenty years, it is appropriate not only to honor the goals achieved in 2022 in terms of capacities and functions of the data center, as well as the outstanding work of the entire GridKa team, but also to take a look back at the genesis of GridKa, because the first discussions and planning took place back in 2000. Among the guests were a representative of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research, which has funded GridKa since its inception, as well as important GridKa companions, such as members of the GridKa Overview Board and GridKa Technical Advisory Board.

Professor Oliver Kraft, Vice President Research of KIT, addressed the participants. He particularly emphasized the important role of GridKa, especially for basic research in data-intensive computing at KIT and the emerging worldwide distributed data and information processing for research at the Karlsruhe location.

Those formerly in a management position, including Professor Reinhard Maschuw (then on the board of the Karlsruhe Research Center), Klaus-Peter Mickel (former director of the SCC) and Dr. Holger Marten (former GridKa project manager, now head of the RZ at Kiel University) reported on the exciting early days in the two-thousands with their challenges to be mastered and also on some adversity encountered along the way at various levels(slides).

After lunch, Professor Joachim Mnich, Director of Research and Computing at CERN since 2021, gave an exciting insight into the current status and an outlook on future plans at CERN, where the third data-taking phase (Run 3) of the LHC has just started, concrete preparations for the high-luminosity phase of the LHC (Run 4) are underway, and the first tender considerations are being made for the construction of a new, even larger accelerator ring (FCC)(slides).

Achim Streit expressed his thanks and appreciation to the GridKa team and the entire SCC team at the end of the event, and in a closing talk, which he gave on behalf of GridKa director Andreas Petzold, who was ill, he broadened the view from "GridKa today" to "GridKa 2030", where there is still a lot of work and challenges ahead for the SCC and KIT as well as the entire community. But don't worry: The outstanding commitment and the "good spirit" of the entire team as well as current extrapolation calculations make us confident that GridKa will be able to meet the requirements of the next generation physics experiments around the LHC at CERN and beyond in the future.


Achim Grindler