Cern OpenLab News

Subscribe to Cern OpenLab News feed
Updated: 47 min 18 sec ago

2017 CERN openlab Summer Student Programme comes to a close

Mon, 16/10/2017 - 10:54
Monday, 16 October, 2017

The final students participating in the 2017 CERN openlab Summer Student Programme recently left CERN. 37 students — representing 22 different nationalities — took part in this year’s programme.  They each spent nine weeks at CERN, working on advanced computing projects with applications in high-energy physics and beyond.

As part of the CERN openlab Summer Student Programme, the students attended a series of lectures given by IT experts on advanced CERN-related topics and had the opportunity to visit the CERN facilities and experiments, as well as other organisations.


Educational excursions

This year, the students went on a two-day trip to Zurich, where they visited Google, ETH Zurich, and Open Systems. As with the previous six years, this trip was organised by the team at Open Systems, who have been awarded the status of ‘CERN openlab associate member’. “We are very pleased to welcome Open Systems to our collaboration in recognition of their fantastic support for our educational activities,” says Alberto Di Meglio, head of CERN openlab.

"It is a great honour for Open Systems to be part of the CERN openlab family,” says Florian Gutzwiller, the company’s founder. “Hosting the summer students at our Zurich headquarters has become a genuine highlight for everybody at Open Systems. The diversity and talent that the CERN openlab Summer Student Programme attracts from all over the world never ceases to amaze.”

Two of the summer students also took a two-week trip to China, where they continued their project work in Beijing and Shenzhen, collaborating with Tsinghua University. These students, whose projects focused on citizen science and crowd computing, were both working with the SDG (Sustainable Development Goals) Summer School at the University of Geneva. Discussions are currently ongoing with representatives of this university about joining CERN openlab.  


Webfest creativity

Another highlight of the summer was the CERN Summer Student Webfest. The event is a hackathon, through which bright and creative minds meet over a weekend to build cool science projects using open

 web technologies. This year’s Webfest, which was supported by CERN openlab, featured over 70 participants collaborating on 14 projects over a weekend.

A diverse range of ideas were developed over the weekend, including augmented-reality apps, educational games, expert chat bots, puzzles, and more. Tony Al Najjar, a summer student working with the CMS experiment, was selected as the winner of the competition by a panel of judges. He created an interactive and educational LED-based game called CERcle, which puts players in control of the LHC.

“I truly enjoyed the competitive, yet cooperative atmosphere. I was absolutely amazed by quite a lot of the ideas presented and the amount of work completed in just two days,” says Al Najjar. “The dedication was there, the creativity was there, and — most importantly — the fun was there; that's recipe for innovation.” Al Najjar has won a trip to London to participate in the Mozilla Festival at the end of October.


Projects presented

While the students had lots of fun — and learnt much — during the trips, the webfest, and the lecture series, the main focus of their time at CERN was undoubtedly their projects. These covered a diverse range of topics, including high-performance computing, big data, visualisation, machine learning, and much more. The projects enabled the students to gain hands-on experience with some of the latest ICT solutions, working under the supervision of leading experts in the field.

On 11 and 15 August, the students presented their work in two dedicated public ‘lighting talk’ sessions. In 5-minute presentations, each student explained the technical challenges they have faced and described the results of what they have been working on for the nine weeks they have spent at CERN.

The best presentations from each of the two sessions were selected by a panel of judges. The winners from the first session were as follows:

1st:  Sharad Agarwal, IoT Security

2nd:  Agrima Seth, Anomaly Detection using Machine Learning for Data Quality Monitoring in the CMS Experiment

3rd: Alastair Cuthbert Paragas, Zenodo Keyword Auto-Suggest using Parallel Graph Analytics


The winners from the second session were as follows:

1st: Markus Sommer, Stateful Services in Containers

2nd: Yasmine Nasri, Building Effective Database Backup and Recovery Monitoring Using Elastic Stack

3rd: Clenimar Filemon Souza, Building Effective Database Backup and Recovery Monitoring Using Elastic Stack

“I feel incredibly thankful to have had this opportunity, to get to know and work with such incredible minds” says Sommer, a student from Philipps University in Marburg, Germany, who was selected as this year’s overall winner.

“The presentations opened my eyes to the importance of exploring every moment spent at CERN,” says Khaled Abushammala, from the Islamic University of Gaza in Palestine. “I was able to learn a lot, which impacted my skills, personality, and much more.” Abushammala’s participation in the programme was supported by UNRWA and GGateway, in line with the international cooperation agreement signed between CERN and Palestine in December 2016.


Student challenge

Five of this year’s summer students have also been selected to take part in the Intel® Modern Code Developer Challenge with Intel. This competition sees the students’ blog about their projects — all of which either make use of Intel projects or are connected to broader collaborative initiatives between Intel and CERN openlab — on a dedicated website. This website also features audio interviews and videos with the students discussing their projects.

One of the five students will be selected as the winner (the one whose project work over the summer is deemed the most successful by a panel of judges) and will be invited to present their work at two major events in November:  the Intel® HPC Developers Conference and the SC17 conference.

An overview of the five projects can be found below:

Smash-simulation software

Teaching algorithms to be faster at simulating particle-collision events.

Elena Orlova


Connecting the dots

Using machine learning to better identify the particles produced by collision events.

Antonio Carta


Cells in the cloud

Running biological simulations more efficiently with cloud computing.

Konstantinos Kanellis


Disaster relief

Helping computers to get better at recognizing objects in satellite maps created by a UN agency.

Muhammad Abu Bakr


IoT at the LHC

Integrating Internet of Things devices into the control systems for the Large Hadron Collider.

Lamija Tupo

“We are thrilled to support these students through the Modern Code Developer Challenge. Intel's partnership with CERN openlab is part of our continued commitment to education and building the next generation of scientific coders that are using HPC, AI & IOT technologies to have a positive impact on people’s lives across the world ,” says Michelle Chuaprasert, Director, Developer Relations Division at Intel.

“Training the next generation of developers — the people who can produce the scientific code that makes world-leading research possible — is of paramount importance across all scientific fields,” says Di Meglio. “We’re pleased to partner with Intel on this important cause.”


Join us next year

The 2017 CERN openlab Summer Student Programme was a great success,” says Maria Girone, CTO of CERN openlab. “We received enthusiastic feedback from the students on the programme; we were also very pleased to see their high level of engagement and commitment throughout the summer.”

Students wishing to participate in the 2018 CERN openlab Summer Student Programme should check the CERN openlab website again when applications open in December. In the meantime, more information about the programme can be found here:

Press Release: CERN openlab tackles ICT challenges of High-Luminosity LHC

Thu, 21/09/2017 - 09:28
Thursday, 21 September, 2017

CERN openlab has published a white paper identifying the major ICT challenges that face CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, and other ‘big science’ projects in the coming years.

CERN is home to the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), the world’s most powerful particle accelerator. The complexity of the scientific instruments at the laboratory throw up extreme ICT challenges, and make it an ideal environment for carrying out joint R&D projects and testing with industry.

A continuing programme of upgrades to the LHC and the experiments at CERN will result in hugely increased ICT demands in the coming years. The High-Luminosity LHC, the successor to the LHC, is planned to come online in around 2026. By this time, the total computing capacity required by the experiments is expected to be 50-100 times greater than today, with data storage needs expected to be in the order of exabytes.

CERN openlab works to develop and test the new ICT solutions and techniques that help to make the ground-breaking physics discoveries at CERN possible. It is a unique public-private partnership that provides a framework through which CERN can collaborate with leading ICT companies to accelerate the development of these cutting-edge technologies.

With a new three-year phase of CERN openlab set to begin at the start of 2018, work has been carried out throughout the first half of 2017 to identify key areas for future collaboration. A series of workshops and discussions was held to discuss the ICT challenges faced by the LHC research community — and other ‘big science’ projects over the coming years. This white paper is the culmination of these investigations, and sets out specific challenges that are ripe for tackling through collaborative R&D projects with leading ICT companies.

The white paper identifies 16 ICT ‘challenge areas’, which have been grouped into four overarching ‘R&D topics’ (data-centre technologies and infrastructures, computing performance and software, machine learning and data analytics, applications in other disciplines). Challenges identified include ensuring that data centre architectures are flexible and cost effective; using cloud computing resources in a scalable, hybrid manner; fully modernising code, in order to exploit hardware to its maximum potential; making sure large-scale platforms are in place to enable global scientific collaboration; and successfully translating the huge potential of machine learning into concrete solutions   .

“Tackling these challenges — through a public-private partnership that brings together leading experts from each of these spheres — has the potential to positively impact on a range of scientific and technological fields, as well as wider society,” says Alberto Di Meglio, head of CERN openlab.

“With the LHC and the experiments set to undergo major upgrade work in 2019 and 2020, CERN openlab’s sixth phase offers a clear opportunity to develop ICT solutions that will already make a tangible difference for researchers when the upgraded LHC and experiments come back online in 2021,” says Maria Girone, CERN openlab CTO.


Follow the launch event for the white paper live via webcast from 09:50 CEST today:



CERN openlab white paper on future IT challenges in scientific research (PDF):


Further information

CERN openlab website:

CERN openlab press pack



Andrew Purcell

CERN openlab communications officer

Tel: +41 22 76 62287


About CERN openlab

CERN openlab was established in 2001. It is a unique public-private partnership that works to accelerate the development of cutting-edge solutions for the worldwide LHC community and wider scientific research. Through CERN openlab, CERN collaborates with leading ICT companies and research institutes.

Within this framework, CERN provides access to its complex ICT infrastructure and its engineering experience — in some cases even extended to collaborating institutes worldwide.

Testing in CERN’s demanding environment provides the ICT industry collaborators with valuable feedback on their products, while enabling CERN to assess the merits of new technologies in their early stages of development for possible future use. This framework also offers a neutral ground for carrying out advanced research-and-development activities with more than one company.

Today, the following companies and research institutes are collaborating in CERN openlab:

Partners: Huawei, Intel, Oracle, Siemens

Contributors: Brocade, Cisco, IDT, Rackspace, Seagate

Associates: Comtrade, Yandex

Research members: EMBL-EBI, GSI, INFN, Innopolis University, Kazan Federal University, King’s College London, Newcastle University, SCImpulse Foundation.

Tackling tomorrow’s ICT challenges today

Mon, 14/08/2017 - 16:51
Monday, 14 August, 2017

CERN openlab is organising an open day on 21 September 2017 — everyone is welcome! Come and learn about our work: collaborating with leading ICT companies and research institutes to accelerate the development of cutting-edge solutions for the worldwide LHC community — as well as for wider scientific research.

As CERN openlab's current three-year phase comes to a close, discover the technical highlights from our diverse range of projects. And find out more about future ICT challenges we aim to tackle too! The event will see the launch of the new CERN openlab white paper on future ICT challenges: this is the culmination of a process of deep consultation with representatives of the experiments here at CERN.

The event will take place at CERN in the Council Chamber, as well as in the upstairs mezzanine area (“salle des pas perdus”) of the Main Building. It will feature hands-on technology demonstrations from companies working with CERN openlab, so that you too can discover the latest ICT innovations.

If you’re interested in finding out more about how research and industry can work together in close partnership to drive innovation in support of the scientific community, then this event is for you.

More information:

CERN openlab students give “lightning talks” on 11 and 15.08

Wed, 26/07/2017 - 16:14
Wednesday, 26 July, 2017

Want to learn about the exciting projects the CERN openlab summer students have been working on? Then come along to the “lighting talk” sessions on Friday, 11 and Tuesday, 15 August. The students will each give five-minute presentations on their projects, explaining the technical challenges they have faced and describing their results so far. Topics covered in the students’ projects this summer include machine learning, distributed computing, data analytics, and “the internet of things”.

This year, the CERN openlab Summer Student Programme is hosting 37 students— representing 22 different nationalities — for nine weeks.  Undergraduate and Masters students in computer science, mathematics, engineering and physics have come from all over the world to spend a summer at CERN working on advanced computing projects with applications in high-energy physics.

As part of the CERN openlab Summer Student Programme, the students have also been invited to attend a series of lectures given by IT experts on advanced CERN-related topics and had the opportunity to visit the CERN facilities and experiments, as well as other organisations.


The lightning talks will take place in the IT Amphitheatre (31/3-004) from 1.30 p.m. to 3.30 p.m. on Friday, 11 August and from 3.30 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Tuesday, 15 August. Following the second session, there will be an opportunity to discuss the students’ work with them over drinks and snacks. For more information, please visit the Indico pages for the two sessions: 11/08/2016 and 15/08/2016.

CERN Summer Student Webfest: a weekend of science and creativity

Fri, 07/07/2017 - 10:12
Friday, 7 July, 2017

Are you passionate about science? Do you like communicating that passion to the general public? Then come along to the 2017 CERN Summer Student Webfest on the weekend of 21-23 July! The event is a grassroots initiative, open to all summer students, staff, and users. It aims to spark new ideas and innovation for the future of web-based education about CERN, the LHC, and particle physics, as well as in humanitarian aid, development, and health.


The CERN Summer Student Webfest is a weekend of online web-based creativity, modelled on the gatherings (sometimes called hackfests or hackathons) that energise many open-source communities. You can work with like-minded students and CERN staff, to design and build demos of the web apps you would like to see online. Prizes will be awarded to the best projects.

Participants in the CERN Summer Student Webfest will work in teams to design applications that encourage the public to learn more about science and, in particular, CERN’s work. Projects can range from designing online games for kids to creating citizen-science projects and developing low-cost mobile-phone-based cosmic ray detectors. Examples of past projects can be found on the Webfest website.

Although primarily targeted at CERN and CERN openlab summer students, the event is open to people of all ages at CERN with a passion for web-based science outreach and education. You do not have to be a software or hardware expert to contribute: many types of skill sets are needed, from writing and designing to physics and engineering.


So, come along for the weekend and create, innovate, and educate about science on the web!



Project ideas will be presented at a kick-off event on Friday 21st July, from 16:00 to 18:00. Participants will organise themselves into teams to work on the most exciting pitches. The kick-off event will also introduce a range of tools for web development, creating online educational tools, and contributing to science online.


Submitting your ideas

Anyone participating can pitch a project; pitches consist of short (less-than-five-minute) presentations. Participants are encouraged to submit their project ideas to via a tool on the Webfest website in advance, for the best chance forming a well-defined team.


Where will the participants work?
Teams will work on their Webfest projects primarily in CERN Restaurant 1. As the location is an open-space environment, there will be plenty of opportunity for interaction, both between participants and with the various technical experts taking part in the event. CERN openlab will provide meal tickets for participants.


Presentations and winners
The event will wrap up on Sunday 23rd of July at 16:00, with a judging panel reviewing the results (based on five-minute ‘lightning talk’ presentations by the teams) and awarding prizes.


Many thanks to our sponsors and organisers...
The event is organised by CERN openlab. Our event partners also include Citizen Cyberscience Centre, crowdAI, Citizen Cyberlab project, the Port, and the Mozilla Science Lab


Modular supercomputer enters next round with DEEP-EST project

Tue, 04/07/2017 - 16:02
Tuesday, 4 July, 2017

We’re very pleased to announce our participation in a new EU project, which officially began on 1 July. The project, called DEEP-EST, aims to develop ‘a modular supercomputer tailored to the complexity of state-of-the-art simulation codes and the growing range of tasks at computing centres’. It follows on from the successful DEEP and DEEP-ER projects. Find out more in the press release from Forschungszentrum Jülich:

University of Crete - Department of Physics - P.O Box 2208 - GR-71003 Heraklion, Greece
phone: +30 2810 394300 - fax: +30 2810 394301