The Crystal Experiment

Linux is now being used in high-energy nuclear studies in Geneva by CERN.

Thanks to the introduction of Linux in our lab, we were able to realize a complete data acquisition and monitoring system using an off-the-shelf Pentium PC and a low-cost CAMAC board.

The system has been performing flawlessly since the beginning of 1996, and the data collected have been used to study the properties of PWO crystals, which will be used in the CMS experiment at CERN.

The key points in using Linux were the availability of the kernel code and the enthusiasm and technical knowledge of the Linux community which enabled us to create a personalized device driver for our data acquisition system. The standard UNIX tools and the GNU compilers guaranteed a perfect integration with the existing machines and an immediate acceptance of the system by all the physicists in our group.

As soon as we started to show our work, we were invited to several congresses dedicated to computing for high-energy physics and data acquisition systems all around Europe (the PCaPAC'96 Workshop in Hamburg, Germany, the ESONE'97 Workshop at CERN and the CHEP'97 Conference in Berlin, Germany). Everywhere we got in touch with many other Linux enthusiasts working on related items; the interest of the high-energy physics community in Linux is very high indeed.

We now plan to use this same system for a larger automatic bench which will be used in the next six years to measure the properties of the tens of thousands of crystals which will be used to build the electromagnetic calorimeter of the CMS experiment.

For those interested in our work, an archive containing the latest version of the device driver code and the interface libraries can be found on our FTP site at


Emanuele Leonardi got his Ph.D. in physics in 1997 at the University “La Sapienza” in Rome. He is now working as a technology researcher for the National Institute of Nuclear Physics in Rome.

Both authors worked in the L3 experiment at CERN where they published several physics papers and are now collaborating on the CMS experiment R&D phase.

Giovanni Organtini got his Ph.D. in physics in 1995 at the University “La Sapienza” in Rome. He is now a physics researcher at the University RomaTRE in Rome.

Both authors worked in the L3 experiment at CERN where they published several physics papers and are now collaborating on the CMS experiment R&D phase.


White Paper
Linux Management with Red Hat Satellite: Measuring Business Impact and ROI

Linux has become a key foundation for supporting today's rapidly growing IT environments. Linux is being used to deploy business applications and databases, trading on its reputation as a low-cost operating environment. For many IT organizations, Linux is a mainstay for deploying Web servers and has evolved from handling basic file, print, and utility workloads to running mission-critical applications and databases, physically, virtually, and in the cloud. As Linux grows in importance in terms of value to the business, managing Linux environments to high standards of service quality — availability, security, and performance — becomes an essential requirement for business success.

Learn More

Sponsored by Red Hat

White Paper
Private PaaS for the Agile Enterprise

If you already use virtualized infrastructure, you are well on your way to leveraging the power of the cloud. Virtualization offers the promise of limitless resources, but how do you manage that scalability when your DevOps team doesn’t scale? In today’s hypercompetitive markets, fast results can make a difference between leading the pack vs. obsolescence. Organizations need more benefits from cloud computing than just raw resources. They need agility, flexibility, convenience, ROI, and control.

Stackato private Platform-as-a-Service technology from ActiveState extends your private cloud infrastructure by creating a private PaaS to provide on-demand availability, flexibility, control, and ultimately, faster time-to-market for your enterprise.

Learn More

Sponsored by ActiveState