Frequently asked questions
For other queries about CERN openlab, please do not hesitate to contact us directly.
CERN openlab is a public-private partnership between CERN and leading ICT companies. Since 2015, other research institutions can also become members of CERN openlab.
CERN openlab’s mission is to accelerate the development of cutting-edge ICT solutions for the worldwide LHC community and wider scientific research.
The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is the most complex machine ever built; it produces enormous amounts of very complex data. CERN established CERN openlab in 2001 to help ensure that members of its scientific community have access to the very latest ICT solutions, thus helping them to gain scientific insights from this data and further push back the frontiers of physics.
Our current list of members can be found here.
Through CERN openlab, CERN provides access to its complex ICT infrastructure and its engineering experience. 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.
In preparation CERN openlab’s new three-year phase, which began at the start of 2018, we published a white paper identifying 16 key ‘challenge areas’ related to the ICT that underpins large-scale scientific research. 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. For more information, please see our white paper.
Information about CERN’s data centre is available on the website of the CERN IT department. The latest figures for the CERN data centre can be found here. You can also find out about the Worldwide LHC Computing Grid here.
An overview of the LHC is available here. The website includes information on the history of the LHC, facts and figures, and even a virtual tour.