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Google and Micron join CERN openlab

Google and Micron announce that they are joining CERN openlab at major US supercomputing conference


Computer Centre 2017
View of the CERN data centre. CERN openlab is a public-private partnership to develop cutting-edge computing solutions for the research community. (Image: Maximilien Brice/CERN)

Last week, at the 2018 Supercomputing Conference in Dallas, Texas, two new companies announced that they are joining CERN openlab. CERN openlab is a unique public-private partnership through which CERN collaborates with leading ICT companies to accelerate the development of the computing technologies needed by the high-energy physics research community.

On Monday 12 November, Micron Technology announced that they had joined CERN openlab. As part of the work with CERN, Micron will develop and introduce a specially designed Micron memory solution that will be tested by researchers at CERN to rapidly comb through the vast amounts of data generated by experiments. Specifically, the technology will be tested in the data-acquisition systems of the CMS experiment and the ProtoDUNE detectors.

“CERN collaborates openly with both the public and private sector, and working with technology partners like Micron helps ensure that members of the research community have access to the advanced computing technologies needed to carry out our groundbreaking work,” says Maria Girone, CTO at CERN openlab. “It is critical to the success of the Large Hadron Collider that we are able to examine the petabytes of data generated in a fast and intelligent manner that enables us to unlock new scientific discoveries.”

On Wednesday 14 November, Google published a blog post announcing that they had signed an initial agreement to collaborate with CERN through CERN openlab. Together, we are now exploring possibilities for joint research-and-development projects related to cloud computing, machine learning, and quantum computing. Google also participated in a quantum-computing workshop organised at CERN earlier this month.

“CERN has an ambitious upgrade programme for the Large Hadron Collider, which will result in a wide range of new computing challenges,” says Alberto Di Meglio, head of CERN openlab. “Overcoming these will play a key role in ensuring physicists are able to make new ground-breaking discoveries about our universe. We believe that working with Google can help us to successfully tackle some of these challenges, as well as producing technical breakthroughs that can have impact beyond our research community.”

With 2018 marking the start of a new three-year phase for CERN openlab, there are now around 20 ongoing research-and-development projects. E4 computer engineering also joined CERN openlab last month, bringing the total membership to 12 companies and nine research organisations. During this phase, the collaboration is working to address many of the ICT challenges laid out in its latest white paper.