CERN openlab enters new phase

The newest phase of CERN’s openlab framework was inaugurated this week during a meeting of the openlab partners. This phase will last three years and will bring together existing openlab partners and a new contributor: Huawei.


Group picture taken at the first CERN openlab IV annual Board of Sponsors meeting, in the presence of the CERN Director-General, the partners and the openlab team members. © Fons Rademakers (CERN Photo Club).

Eleven years ago, the creation of the CERN openlab created a long-term link between industrial partners and the Organization. Its framework has allowed industry to carry out large-scale IT research and development in an open atmosphere – an “Open Lab”, if you will. For CERN, openlab has contributed to giving the computing centre and, more broadly, the LHC community, the opportunity to ensure that the next generation of services and products is suitable to their needs.

Now entering its fourth phase, openlab will take CERN computing to the next level. The focus will be on innovative computing that can accommodate record LHC data requirements. “We’ll also be looking at new subjects, such as cloud computing,” says Bob Jones, Head of CERN openlab. “This wasn’t as relevant during the last phase of openlab – where the focus included storage and GRID computing – but it is now an area of great potential for CERN computing.”

CERN openlab will also be working more closely with different aspects of the LHC experiments, for example the trigger and data acquisition systems. “The experiments will be looking at upgrades of these systems during the upcoming long shutdowns,” explains Bob. “Most of their systems were developed in the early 2000s, so they’ll want to re-examine their choice of technologies. CERN openlab will be providing them with an environment where they can do that.”

The fourth phase may also provide the opportunity to collaborate with other research labs, such as ESRF, ILL and European XFEL which have similar data acquisition and control needs to the LHC. European Commission projects may also be incorporated, as Horizon 2020 has placed significant emphasis on partnerships between public and private bodies. “In short, we’re looking into a lot of possibilities,” says Bob. “One of the great things about openlab is that nothing is set in stone – we just go wherever the technology takes us!”

For more information about the fourth phase of openlab, read the official CERN press release. Also, be sure to check out openlab’s new website.

by Katarina Anthony