Apple has published a new feature story which looks at how scientists at the world's largest particle physics laboratory are using Intel-based Macs to help understand the structure of the universe.

The ALICE experiment at the CERN international particle physics laboratory in Geneva exploits the collisions created by the organisation's particle accelerator (the world's largest), which is scheduled to be switched-on in 2007.

The Mac project is one of five such projects that will test, "fundamental scientific assumptions about matter and anti-matter, and is likely to permanently alter our views about the universe," the report explains.

The project team is using a mini cluster of eight nodes of Xserves and Xserve RAIDs along with MacBook Pros to run their calculations. "Intel-based Macs reduce time to compile code from 1.5 hours to 10 minutes," the report claims.

"We know that a number of centres would like to run Macs, but if we weren't running our infrastructure on the platform, they could never make the move," a project team member claims.

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