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CERN School of Computing 2017: a successful 40th edition

Since 1970, the CERN School of Computing has trained more than 2600 participants from 80 countries in scientific computing


CERN School of Computing 2017: a successful 40th edition

Occasionally, even physicists and computer engineers dress up! Here, CERN School of Computing 2017 students attend the official Opening Gala Dinner. (Image: Nikos Kasioumis/CERN)

The CERN School of Computing (CSC) is one of the three schools that CERN has set up to deliver knowledge relating to the Organization’s main scientific and technical pillars – physics, accelerators and computing. The first CSC was held in Varenna, Italy in 1970. Since then, the School has visited 21 countries, and has been attended by over 2600 students from five continents and 80 countries. The aim of the two-week programme is to promote advanced learning and knowledge exchange in scientific computing among young scientists and engineers involved in particle physics or other sciences.

Since 2002, CSC has offered a diploma upon successful completion of an optional exam. In addition, since 2008 the university hosting the CSC has reviewed the school’s academic programme with a view to incorporating the CSC in its official teaching programme. As a result, a formal certificate of 5 to 6 ECTS Credit Points (European Credit Transfer System) is awarded by the host university. Those credit points are recognised in Europe for any PhD or Master’s programme. Since 2005, the CSC management has also run the inverted CSC (iCSC, "Where students turn into teachers") and since 2013 the thematic CSC (tCSC). The idea behind the inverted school is to invite CSC alumni to become teachers themselves, at a short school of three to five half-days, held at CERN in the winter. The thematic CSC is a one-week school that covers a particular topic in greater depth – the topic for tCSC 2017 was “Efficient Parallel Processing of Future Scientific Data”.

In 2017, the 40th CERN School of Computing took place in Madrid, Spain, organised in collaboration with the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (UPM). It welcomed 63 students selected from among 110 applications, from 37 different universities and institutes, representing 26 nationalities. The usual intensive academic programme (52 hours of lectures and exercises) was complemented by a particularly rich social programme, including scientific visits at UPM, a guided tour of Madrid and a pub quiz, among other activities. The students particularly enjoyed the special sports afternoon, where many tried kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding (SUP) or archery for the first time. At the end of the school, 59 students passed the optional exam – 14 of them with distinction!

Applications for CSC and tCSC 2018 will open in early 2018 – to find out more, please visit: https://csc.web.cern.ch/.

An article providing in-depth information about the history of the CSC was published in the CERN Courier in 2013.