Now This Is A Flustercuck: CERN Has To Untangle 9,000 Cables Before The Next LHC Upgrade


If the sight of the spaghetti tangle of cables behind your desktop gives you anxiety, consider yourself lucky you’re not one of the CERN engineers tasked to remove old cabling at the Large Hadron Collider before its next big equipment upgrade. Over the years of upgrades and maintenance, the particle accelerator has grown in complexity, and has left colossal piles of cables crisscrossing in a surprisingly disorganized manner. Now a team of 60 engineers is being tasked with figuring out which cable does what before it can be unplugged, lest the entire system lose data or go into failsafe mode and stop working. All 9,000 of them. And these are only the ones associated with the Proton Synchrotron Booster (PS Booster), the Proton Synchrotron (PS), and the Super Proton Synchrotron (SPS). So far the team has identified “2,700 of the 9,000 obsolete cables that are believed to exist in the three instruments. Evrard believes they will be able to find 8,000 of them before the LHC comes back online, which should make it feasible to get all the cables out of the way when the time comes for installing new cables in 2019 and 2020.”

It’s an interesting bit of news that might put our mundane hardware woes into perspective.


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