Lebanon joined the CERN family in 2016 through the signature of an International Cooperation Agreement. This triggered a strong development of the country’s contributions to CERN projects, particularly through the affiliation of four of its top universities to CMS. Yet the country is dealing with an unprecedented economic crisis, food shortages, Syrian refugees and the COVID-19 pandemic, all in the aftermath of the Beirut port explosion on 4 August. Even the most resilient higher-education institutions in Lebanon are struggling to survive. Despite these challenges, the Lebanese scientific community has reaffirmed its commitment to CERN and CMS, but it needs support. To help, CMS, in collaboration with the Sharing Knowledge Foundation (SKF) is launching a fundraising initiative.
One project, initiated to build the research capacity of the country, is particularly at risk: High-Performance Computing for Lebanon (HPC4L). This project was supposed to benefit from servers donated by CERN to Lebanon, but the hardware was unfortunately unable to leave CERN so far because of a lack of available funding for its shipping. HPC4L is designed to enable computing capacity development to support all research activities, including HEP and other scientific disciplines. The objective is also to transfer CERN and CMS knowledge and expertise to train a dedicated support team in Lebanon that will run the HPC facility there. This HPC centre will bring together the four Lebanese institutes contributing to CMS and should serve as a coordination hub for cooperation and communication across local key research players. But despite the opportunities that it will bring to the research community, these institutes are no longer able to absorb the cost of the programme. CMS and SKF are therefore fundraising to (1) Cover the shipping costs of the donated hardware to Lebanon, (2) purchase hardware to allow the installation of the aforementioned equipment and (3) support Lebanese experts while they get trained at CERN by the CMS offline computing team.
At this pivotal moment, every effort to help Lebanon counts. CMS is reaching out for donations to support this initiative, to help both the Lebanese research community and the country itself. Please visit cern.ch/fundraiser-lebanon to find out more, including how you can be involved.