1754 Days to the LHC and counting!

Computer-generated image of the LHC

The CERN* Council, where the representatives of the 20 Member States of the Organization decide on scientific programmes and financial resources, held its 118th session today under the chairmanship of Professor Maurice Bourquin (CH).

Director General's Status Report

The Laboratory's Director-General, Luciano Maiani, presented the commissioning schedule for the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) for the first time. The LHC will collide its first beams in a pilot run starting on 1 April 2006 - "We are 1754 days from the LHC". A full seven-month physics run will begin in August 2006. The LHC's heavy-ion programme will start in February 2007.

Professor Maiani underlined to Council that the LHC is now CERN's most important single activity, accounting for over 70% of the Laboratory's resources. Moreover, with some 70% of the total LHC cost adjudicated and 30% paid, the project is very far advanced. With the adjudication this Autumn of the contracts for the 1158 fifteen meter superconducting dipole magnets, the placing of major contracts for the LHC will be completed. The first two pre-series LHC magnets have already arrived at CERN and both perform excellently. A second test string of LHC magnets, representing a full cell of the final machine, complete with all necessary technical systems, is in preparation. String-2 will give LHC engineers a final chance to study the behaviour of LHC systems before installation begins.

The Director-General (photo : second from the left) referred to activities around the world for the construction of the LHC accelerator. Complex superconducting magnets are being finalised in the USA and in Japan and he cited the recent arrival at CERN from Novosibirsk in Russia of the last of 360 dipole magnets and 180 quadrupoles that will form the transfer lines carrying protons into the LHC.

Turning to the experiments, the Director-General reported that the ATLAS and CMS experiments for LHC have moved into full-scale production. Both have achieved the majority of their milestones to date, and both are confident of having working detectors ready for 1 April 2006. The same is true for the smaller experiments on LHC, ALICE and LHCb.

LHC commissioning schedule

December 2005

work completion

February 2006

first beam

April 2006

first collisions

August 2006

first physics run

March 2007

first heavy ion run

LHC Computing

In his presentation of LHC computing, the Director-General said that the complexity of LHC data means that the experiments will require more computing power per byte of information than ever before. "LHC computing", he said, "will have to exceed Moore's law!" However, he demonstrated that this will not be the first time that CERN computing has exceeded the famous law that predicts the evolution of computing power. For LEP computing, when CERN moved from a central facility to distributed computing, Moore's law also had to stand aside. That project was known as SHIFT, and it recently earned CERN a prestigious 21st Century Achievement Award from the Computerworld Honors Program. For the LHC, the solution adopted is called the GRID. It will complete the marriage of networks and computers to produce an integrated and fully distributed system worldwide. With financial support from several Member States and the European Union, CERN has embarked on the DataGRID project in partnership with several other scientific organisations covering disciplines as diverse as particle physics, biomedical science and earth observation. GRID technologies are also being actively developed in the US, frequently in relation with particle physics research. US GRID capacity will contribute to the final computing capabilities for the LHC. The Laboratory foresees about one third of LHC computing infrastructure being installed at CERN, with the rest distributed around the globe.

Senior staff appointments

Prof. R. Cashmore (GB) was re-appointed as Director of Collider Programmes from 1 January 2002 to 31 December 2003.
Prof. C. DŽtraz (FR) was re-appointed as Director for Fixed Target and Future Programmes from 1 January 2002 to 31 December 2003.
Dr H. Hoffmann (DE) was re-appointed as Director for Technology Transfer and for Scientific Computing from 1 January 2002 to 31 December 2003.
Dr J. May (DE) was re-appointed as Technical Director from 1 January 2002 to 31 December 2003.
Dr. L. Evans (GB) was re-appointed as LHC Project Leader from 1 January 2002 to 31 December 2003.
Mr. J. Ferguson (GB) was re-appointed as Leader of the Administrative Support Division from 1 January 2002 to 31 December 2004.
Dr. Ph. Lebrun (FR) was re-appointed as Leader of the LHC Division from 1 January 2002 to 31 December 2004.
Prof. M. Delfino (ES) was re-appointed Leader of the Information Technology Division from 1 January 2002 to 31 December 2002.

Elections

Dr. H. Schunck (DE) was elected Vice-President of Council for a period of one year as of 1 July 2001.
Professor M. Calvetti (IT) was re-elected as a member of the Scientific Policy Committee for three years from 1 July 2001.
Dr. J. Bezemer (NL) was re-elected as Chairman of TREF for a period of one year as of 1 July 2001.
Mr. F Gruber (CH) was elected as Vice-Chairman of TREF for a period of one year as of 1 July 2001.

Footnote(s)

*CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, has its headquarters in Geneva. At present, its Member States are Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.   Israel, Japan, the Russian Federation, the United States of America, Turkey, the European Commission and Unesco have observer status.

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