The European Organisation for Nuclear Research (Cern) is building an enormous computer from 6,000 linked PCs to handle research data.
The computing network will be used to manage the information generated by Cern's Large Hadron Collider, the world's largest scientific instrument, to study elemental particles that make up the building blocks of all matter.
Cern has formed partnerships with technology firms to develop the computing centre, including HP which has provided 300 ProCurve switches for the PC farm.
"Sometimes our technical specification is slightly ahead of the industry standard. Therefore we like working with vendors which are flexible enough to invest in developing appropriate solutions," said David Foster, communications, systems and networking group leader at Cern.
However, the partnership works both ways as Cern's experience is fed back to the product teams and in some cases suggestions are incorporated into the final products.
"Customers such as Cern really drive product development and they drive us to a new level," said Wenceslao Lada, EMEA vice president and general manager for HP ProCurve networking.
"They have high expectations and requirements and that challenges us. We use the results to develop new products."
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