Europe's Atom Smasher To Test New Internet

Europe is trying to match U.S. efforts to create a next generation Internet - provisionally known as the Grid -- with an ambitious project. The two sides are collaborating on the Grid, but core to the European effort will be Cern, the particle physics center near Geneva where much of the preliminary work for the Web was carried out a decade ago. Cern's $1.8 billion atom smasher, the Large Hadron Collider, has been chosen as test bed for the next-generation Internet because it presents the world's biggest challenge in distributed computing, a key ingredient of the future Grid. In the U.S. federal funds of $100 million have already been made available for pilot Grid work. In Europe, Britain is investing $160 million in the Geneva atom smasher project. First users of the Grid will be particle physicists, astronomers, genetic scientists, and meteorologists. The Grid is being planned to work far more quickly and reliably than the Internet. Scientists say it will enable computer users to get exactly the information they want within seconds and cut out today's tortuous, laborious search processes.

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