Wednesday, September 10, 2008

See you tomorrow... LHC permitting?

This morning the LHC (Large Hadron Collider) at CERN, the most powerful particle accelerator in the world, was finally switched on, and a beam of protons was successfully fired around the 27 km tunnel. This is a great milestone in research, because it could lead to several breakthroughs about the "internal working" of the Universe.

The LHC is composed by thousands of elements that have to work together with great precision and very small (I mean it) tolerances. Today the system was released in a production environment, well after its components had been tested in isolation and several integration testings have taken place. I think I'll analyse thoroughly the testing process adopted in the building of the the accelerator to compare it with the software testing process, and I'm sure this will lead to interesting results. More on this to come.

As always, when dealing with things such as this, many opponents arised, concerned about the high risk involved with the experiments that could lead - they say - to the complete destruction of life on Earth (well, to say it all, of Earth itself).

A commission has been instituted by CERN to study all the possibile risks related to the use of LHC, but the results of their work still did not seem enough to alarmists.

Up to now, alarmists were wrong.

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