At speeds about 10,000 times faster than a typical broadband connection, The Grid is a new network, in effect a parallel internet, is now built, using fibre optic cables that run from Cern to 11 centres in the United States, Canada, the Far East, Europe and around the world.

The power of the grid will become apparent this summer after what scientists at Cern have termed their “red button” day – the switching-on of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), the new particle accelerator built to probe the origin of the universe. The grid will be activated at the same time to capture the data it generates.

The grid has been built with dedicated fibre optic cables and modern routing centres, meaning there are no outdated components to slow the deluge of data. The 55,000 servers already installed are expected to rise to 200,000 within the next two years.

Britain alone has 8,000 servers on the grid system meaing in theory any student or academic will be able to hook up to the grid rather than the internet from this autumn.

The London Times has details on The Grid