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Initial releaseSixTrack: 1 September 2004
Test4Theory (Virtual LHC@home): 1 August 2011
Stable releaseSixTrack: v451.07
(May 11, 2014; 5 years ago (2014-05-11))
Virtual LHC@home: 261.80
(June 6, 2016; 3 years ago (2016-06-06))
Development statusactive
Operating systemCross-platform
Average performanceSixTrack: 5.3 TFLOPS[1]
Test4Theory: 1.9 TFLOPS[2]
Active usersSixTrack: 7,800
Test4Theory: 1,800
Total usersSixTrack: 95,300
Test4Theory: 3,800
Active hostsSixTrack: 12,500
Test4Theory: 2,600
Total hostsSixTrack: 245,600
Test4Theory: 5,200

LHC@home is a distributed computing project for particle physics based on the Berkeley Open Infrastructure for Network Computing (BOINC) platform.

LHC@home consists of two applications: LHC@home Classic, SixTrack, which went live in September 2004 and is used to upgrade and maintain the particle accelerator Large Hadron Collider (LHC) of the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), and LHC@home 2.0, Test4Theory (now is Virtual LHC@home), which went live in August 2011 and is used to simulate high-energy particle collisions to provide a reference to test the measurements performed at the LHC.

The applications are run with the help of about fifteen thousand active volunteered computers processing at a combined more than 15.5 teraFLOPS on average as of June 2014.[1][2] LHC@home uses idle computer processing resources from volunteers' computers to perform calculations on individual workunits, which are sent to a central project server upon completion. The project is cross-platform, and runs on a variety of hardware configurations. Virtual LHC@home uses VirtualBox, an x86 virtualization software package.


The project was first introduced as a beta on 1 September 2004 and a record 1000 users signed up within 24 hours. The project went public, with a 5000 user limit, on September 29 to commemorate CERN's 50th anniversary. Currently there is no user limit and qualification. Data from the project is utilized by engineers to improve the operation and efficiency of the accelerator, and to predict possible problems that could arise from adjustment or modification of the LHC's equipment. The project is administered by volunteers, and receives no funding from CERN. There are currently no plans to use the project to do computation on the data that will be collected by the LHC.

The project software involves a program called SixTrack, created by Frank Schmidt, downloaded via BOINC onto participant computers running Windows, Linux or Mac OS X. SixTrack simulates particles accelerating through the 27 km (17 mi)-long LHC to find their orbit stability.

  • In one workunit, 60 particles are simulated travelling 100,000 or 1,000,000 loops, which would take about 10 seconds in an actual run. This is sixtrack.
  • The orbit stability data is used to detect if a particle in orbit goes off-course and runs into the tube wall—if this happened too often in actual running, this would cause damage to the accelerator which would need repairs.
  • A new experimental version called SixTrackbnl started to be sent to computers in early November.
  • Garfield is a newer application, although not many workunits have been seen lately.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Willy de Zutter. "LHC@Home Classic - Credit overview". boincstats.com. Retrieved 16 December 2011.
  2. ^ a b Willy de Zutter. "LHC Test4Theory@Home - Credit overview". boincstats.com. Retrieved 16 December 2011.

External links[edit]