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Communications of the ACM


Big Data Meets Big Science

ANL chemist Karena Chapman peers inside vacuum tank

Argonne National Laboratory chemist Karena Chapman peers inside the vacuum tank of the new high-energy Si Laue monochromator recently installed in the Argonne Advanced Photon Source, an upgrade that increased the X-ray flux (the number of photons focused

Credit: Peter Chupas / Argonne National Laboratory

On a secluded hilltop outside Palo Alto, CA, Jacek Becla leads a team of researchers at the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory who are quietly building one of the world's largest databases.

Scheduled to go live in 2020, the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST) will feature a 3.2-gigapixel camera capturing ultra-high-resolution images of the sky every 15 seconds, every night, for at least 10 years. Ultimately, the system will store more than 100 petabytes (about 20 million DVDs' worth) of data, but that is barely a fraction of the data that will actually pass through the camera.


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