Tagged: Oxfordshire

Episode 10a: War of the Cotswolds

Anyone who knows the AST crew personally may have noticed a cock-sure swagger that they seem to conduct themselves with these days. It’s the confidence that only comes from doing almost a year of audio drama podcasts.

Recently we decided to harness this power and put it to work. So we entered a competition. This competition:
War of the Worlds 75th Anniversary Contest
(In case you were wondering, we didn’t win. Or come in the top 3. Which obviously means it’s brilliant, but misunderstood.)

And here we make available to you, our sophisticated audience, our entry for this competition: War of the Cotswolds.

What do you do if your budget’s been cut, your marking isn’t finished, you’ve run out of biscuits, and aliens land in the playing field? Time to find out…

Herbert “Spadger” Watkins  – Dan Bond
Terry “It Must Be Alive” Smythe – Brian Macken
Gareth “Epic Fail” McPhail – Dan Booth

Written by Dan Bond, Brian Macken & Dan Booth

Produced by Dan Booth

Original music by Dan Booth

Some sound effects provided by Freesound.org

Computer Magic

Image via CERN

Computer Magic at the LHC (Image via CERN)

At the Large Hadron Collider, two protons are accelerated to a fantastic speed and then smashed into each other. This piece of sub-atomic vandalism is not just for kicks. Scientists there are looking for the Higgs Boson, a particle that, if found, could help explain why some things are heavier than others. It looks like they might have found one last July, too.

Now these collisions are watched by all sorts of detectors. And each collision creates about 1Mb of data (if you had the first minute of a classic song stored as an mp3, that would be about 1Mb, to give you an idea). Which doesn’t sound like much! Except, and here’s where things get tricky, there are millions of collisions a second. Even if you’re reading this blog post on a high-end computer, your hard-drive would fill up within 30 seconds. And the LHC operates throughout the year, and will for years to come. Too much data is generated for anyone to possibly store, never mind sift through.

So when they designed the LHC they had a huge problem to solve – just how do you store and process that much information?