CERN openlab enters new phase

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The fourth phase of CERN openlab, an industry collaboration that aims to accelerate the development of cutting-edge solutions used by the worldwide community working on LHC data, has been officially launched during a meeting of its board of sponsors. Created more than 10 years ago, CERN openlab is a unique public-private partnership between CERN and information technology companies HP, Intel, Oracle and Siemens, with contribution from Huawei for this new phase.

The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is the world’s largest particle accelerator and it generates hundreds of millions of particle collisions each second. To record, store and analyse these vast amounts of collisions present a massive data challenge as the LHC produces roughly 20 million gigabytes of data each year.

The third phase of CERN openlab was officially closed during the meeting of partners and key achievements of the projects carried out were reviewed and agreed on their positive impact on the development of the Grid and computing services, which underpin the LHC. The work was organised into four competence centres: Automation and Controls with Siemens, Database with Oracle, Networking with HP and Platform with Intel.

The fourth phase will address new topics crucial to the CERN scientific programme, such as cloud computing, business analytics, the next generation of hardware, and security for the myriads of network devices. The industry investment over the three years of the fourth phase represents more than eight million Swiss Francs (approx 6.5 million Euros).

Frédéric Hemmer, head of the IT Department at CERN, commented: ‘In 2011, the LHC experiments took data at rates and volumes exceeding the most optimistic forecasts. In such a demanding environment, agility is a key requirement for the computing infrastructure but also a challenge in itself. In this context, the collaboration with the IT industry in the CERN openlab framework is an outstanding catalyst to sustain a steady stream of innovative solutions.’