Since CERN depends on a large computer grid, as does the Large Hadron Collider, it needs to be protected by any means necessary. That’s why the scientists are teaching an AI system about threats, how to recognize them, and how to deal with them. They hope that the concept of machine learning would be better protection of the valuable computer grid.
CERN’s grid consists of hundreds of thousands of computers that all need to work together at the same time. Science has asked a lot of questions, and in order to answer only some of them, scientists need time, space, and powerful tech.
CERN, which stands for Conseil Européen pour la Recherche Nucléaire (European Laboratory for Particle Physics in English), uses the CERN grid to ensure that its scientists have all the tech power they need in order to unravel the secrets of physics. Still, these scientists are not the only ones who wish to have access to such big and powerful grid.
Hackers from all over the world are interested in it, especially due to its massive size. In order to stop them from accessing it, scientists have decided to try out a new method. This includes bypassing the standard measures related to cyber security. Instead, they are deploying a new AI that is supposed to protect the grid.
Since malware is advancing too fast for humans to deal with it, the scientists have decided to give AI a chance. This artificial intelligence system is currently learning how to recognize and stop threatening behavior on the network it guards. If this way of protection turns out to be better, it could bring great changes at how network protection looks like.
Apart from its massive computer grid, CERN is also home to an LHC (Large Hadron Collider), which is used for creating high-speed collisions between particles on a subatomic level. This is an extremely valuable technology that has helped with unraveling many secrets of physics already.
Only in the past six months, scientists managed to collect over 50 petabytes of data about subatomic particles. This data is then transferred to multiple laboratories and universities across the globe, all in the favor of increasing scientific knowledge and understanding our universe better.
That much data needs to be stored and analyzed, and for that purpose, CERN uses its massive computer grid that goes worldwide. In fact, over 40 different countries are involved in sustaining it, with a total of 170 research facilities around the world. This grid also works as a power grid to some extent. However, keeping it safe from hackers and hacking attacks can be quite challenging.
Through the machine learning systems, the human error can be avoided, especially since antivirus and antimalware programs can’t always provide the best protection. The AI, however, is more flexible and able to learn about the dangers, instead of just recognizing the ones you update it for.
Still, this is no easy task, and one of the biggest issues is algorithm development. The AI needs to be able of distinguishing unusual behavior accurately and cause no false alarms. For now, multiple tests are being conducted, and upgrades to the AI are coming one after another. If only a part of the entire grid can be protected this way, it would be of huge help to future protection organization.