Collision of black holes unleashes BEAST

14 June 2016

The Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) in the US is using Nexsan’s unified solutions to store more than 6.4PB of research data that confirm a major prediction of Einstein’s general theory of relativity.

LIGO was developed by Caltech (California Institute of Technology) in collaboration with MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology). 

It consists of two widely separated interferometers – one in Hanford, Washington and the other in Livingston, Louisiana. They are operated in unison to detect the presence of ripples in spacetime, or gravitational waves, that were first predicted by Einstein as part of his general theory of relativity in 1915.

According to researchers at the observatory, the theory was so radical at the time that it has taken 100 years to devise a way to develop, test, analyse and measure the physical reality of gravitational waves to prove it. 

Earlier this year, LIGO’s team made global headlines when they announced that they had observed gravitational waves from colliding black holes.

Their research project takes precise measurements, and more than 1.7 billion files of raw instrument data and analytics processing information are all contained in a central archive.

To meet its high-volume storage needs, Caltech turned to its strategic partner Westlake Technologies which recommended Nexsan’s E-Series and BEAST storage solutions.

The systems are used as the block storage devices that hook into Caltech’s data archive. Nexsan says its E-Series can be deployed with a mixture of HDDs and SSDs to optimise capacity, performance and cost requirements. The vendor adds that its BEAST storage systems offer Caltech capacity optimisation for "high reliability at an affordable price".

“We will continue to improve the sensitivity of the LIGO instruments and probe ever further out into the universe,” says Stuart B. Anderson, senior research scientist, LIGO. “Nexsan and Westlake will be with us on this ongoing exploration of colliding black holes, neutron stars and hopefully many other exciting unexpected discoveries.”