The Worldwide Large Hadron Collider Computing Grid can draw on the computing power of more than 100,000 processors.
It will allow 7,000 scientists in 33 countries to process the 15 petabytes of data that will be produced each year at the particle accelerator at the Cern laboratories in Geneva, Switzerland.
Academics from across the globe at institutions linked into the grid joined the launch celebrations at Cern by video link on Friday.
Scientists who spent years building the grid and its dedicated 10Gbps connections to 11 key sites--the main universities and laboratories in the network--said high-bandwidth grid computing is transforming the way research is carried out.
Speaking to silicon.com, director general of Cern Robert Aymar said the additional processing and manpower will change the rate of scientific discovery. "About half the world's scientists will be looking at this data. It is a true world effort," he added.
In preparation for the launch, the grid ran around 44 million computing tasks in 2007 and more than 65 million jobs so far in 2008.
Cern has spent €100m on staff and materials for the grid. Funding for Cern's contribution has come from national governments and the European Union.
The LHC itself will not fire up again until spring 2009 after a fault stopped its operation.