For National Projects

With its extensive knowledge CSCS supports different National Projects with high requirements respect on high-performance supercomputing.

In order to be able to explain what happens when elementary particles collide at virtually the speed of light in the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN, there is a global network of supercomputers. CSCS runs one of those. Large systems such as the planned X-ray laser SwissFEL at the Paul Scherrer Institute can also benefit from the expertise and infrastructure of CSCS, since they cannot operate without high-performance computers. The same is true of big European Union projects (FET Flagship Projects) such as Human Brain, Guardian Angel or FuturICT. Swiss scientists are playing an important role in these and therefore help bring Switzerland’s investment in the EU back to Switzerland.

Phoenix, the cluster dedicated to analyze data from the LHC experiment at CERN in Geneva

Analysis of data from the Large Hadron Collider (LHC)

The international high-energy physics community at CERN has built the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) - the world biggest accelerator. One of the greatest challenges of the LHC project is the acquisition and analysis of the data. The relevant data volume is between 100 MByte/sec and 1 GByte/sec. Each experiment is expected to collect 1 PByte of raw data per year. 2000 physicists per experiment contribute to the development of hardware and software and they expect to have almost instantaneous access to the data and to a set of up-to-date analysis tools, [Ref: www.cern.ch/lcg].

Switzerland, as a member state of CERN, actively participates in the LHC project as a whole. CHIPP is the virtual institute of all Swiss particle physics laboratories involved in scientific analysis and development of the data produced by the experiments of the LHC. CSCS has operated the computational infrastructure for CHIPP since 2003.

The grid cluster operated by CSCS is called Phoenix.

Blue Brain 4 is an IBM Blue Gene/Q acquired from the Blue Brain Project (EPFL) and operated by CSCS

HPC Infrastructure for the BlueBrain Project

Reconstructing the brain piece by piece and building a virtual brain in a supercomputer—these are some of the goals of the Blue Brain Project at EPFL. The virtual brain will be an exceptional tool giving neuroscientists a new understanding of the brain and a better understanding of neurological diseases.

The computing power needed is considerable. Each simulated neuron requires the equivalent of a laptop computer. A model of the whole brain would have billions. Supercomputing technology is rapidly approaching a level where simulating the whole brain becomes a concrete possibility.

The Blue Brain project began in 2005 with an agreement between the EPFL and IBM, which supplied the BlueGene/L supercomputer acquired by EPFL to build the virtual brain. Starting in late 2013 CSCS is operating Blue Brain IV, an IBM Blue Gene/Q acquired from the Blue Brain Project.