BriefsStanford's SLAC claims world's largest database at 500,000 Gigabytes
Last week at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center (SLAC), the BABAR experiment's database stored its 500,000th Gigabyte - a milestone that makes it the largest known database in the world. The BABAR experiment - a collaboration of 600 physicists from nine nations - observes collisions between subatomic particles to understand how the behavior of matter and antimatter shaped our universe. BABAR, also known as the “B Factory,” mass-produces huge quantities of scientific data with industrial efficiency. Up to 500 Gigabytes of data is sent relentlessly to the experiment's database daily.
The half million Gigabytes of data in the BABAR database, printed out, would fill one billion books. That's nearly 60 times the number of books in the Library of Congress, the largest library in the world. “The need to store the avalanche of information coming from the experiment and then efficiently search and retrieve specific data samples has driven physicists and computer experts to create innovative technology,” said SLAC Director Jonathan Dorfan.
In 1996, while work was beginning on the construction of the experimental apparatus, a small group of dedicated researchers at SLAC and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL), both U.S. Department of Energy laboratories, began the arduous task of constructing an efficient and convenient way of storing and retrieving the enormous output of information expected from the experiment. Working closely with physicists from the BABAR project, as well as researchers at other physics laboratories, the development team chose to base the system on a new object-oriented database technology. Objectivity/DB, a product of Objectivity, Inc. based in nearby Mountain View in the heart of Silicon Valley, was chosen to meet the demands of the BABAR data.
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