CERN Accelerating science

About CERN openlab

CERN openlab is a unique public-private partnership that accelerates 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 IT infrastructure and its engineering experience, in some cases even extended to collaborating institutes worldwide. Testing in CERN’s demanding environment provides the ICT industry partners with valuable feedback on their products while allowing 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 R&D with more than one company.

CERN openlab was created in 2001 and is now in the phase V (2015-2017). This phase tackles ambitious challenges covering the most critical needs of IT infrastructures in domains such as data acquisition, computing platforms, data storage architectures, compute provisioning and management, networks and communication, and data analytics.


2016 marked 15 years of CERN openlab. Founded in 2001 to help develop the innovative systems needed to cope with the unprecedented ICT challenges of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), CERN openlab unites science and industry at the cutting edge of research and innovation.

Collaboration is central in enabling CERN to fulfil its mission; CERN openlab is a prime example of this. For 15 years, this unique publicprivate partnership has worked to ensure that members of CERN’s scientific community have access to the very latest ICT solutions to help them carry out their challenging physics research. I would like to thank each of the companies collaborating in CERN openlab — as well as, most importantly, the people themselves — for their terrific efforts in supporting CERN’s work.

Throughout its existence, both education and training have been central to CERN openlab’s mission. The young researchers hired by CERN and funded by the collaborating companies continue to play a key role in CERN openlab’s work; they are the catalyst for many creative ideas. To date, the CERN openlab Summer Student Programme alone has seen over 270 students — selected through a highly competitive process — come to the laboratory.

2016 was also an important year for looking forward. CERN openlab is continuing its work to support our research community, with a particular focus on the upgrades to the LHC and the experiments that will be carried out during the next two ‘Long Shutdown’ periods, known as ‘LS2’ and ‘LS3’. With the data rates from the experiments set to increase significantly, efforts have been focused on supporting the work to overhaul and modernise their data-acquisition systems.

Work was also invested in ensuring that the maximum benefits are gained from the available hardware by contributing to making sure the software running on it has been fully optimised. Work has now begun to identify the ICT challenges that will need to be tackled in CERN openlab’s sixth phase, which will run from 2018 to 2020. I am sure CERN’s scientific community will continue to greatly benefit from the solutions this unique public-private partnership produces.

Fabiola Gianotti
Director General of CERN
CERN openlab Annual Report  2016