CSCS develops and operates cutting-edge high-performance computing systems as an essential service facility for Swiss researchers. These computing systems are used by scientists for a diverse range of purposes – from high-resolution simulations to the analysis of complex data.
Simulation Complements Experiment and Theory
Simulation is considered the third pillar of science, alongside theory and experimentation, and scientists from an increasing number of disciplines are using high-performance computing simulation for their research. For example, supercomputers are used to model new materials with hitherto unknown properties. Climate modelling and weather forecasting would be impossible without them. In social science, simulations can help prevent mass panic by predicting people’s behavior. In medicine, computer simulations aid diagnostics help improve treatment methods. Moreover, they can facilitate risk assessments for natural hazards such as earthquakes and the tsunamis they might trigger.
CSCS has a strong track record in supporting the processing, analysis and storage of scientific data, and is investing heavily in new tools and computing systems to support data science applications. For more than a decade, CSCS has been involved in the analysis of the many petabytes of data produced by scientific instruments such as the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN. Supporting scientists in extracting knowledge from structured and unstructured data is a key priority for CSCS.
On behalf of the Swiss Confederation, CSCS runs a User Lab [LINK], where researchers in Switzerland can apply for computational resources that are free at the point of use. A transparent review process by independent experts ensures that all deserving projects receive the computing resources they need to accomplish their aims.
Computational Services for Science
Swiss scientists, research institutions and projects with their own funding can access the computational resources at CSCS as contractual partners. The environment provided is either shared with the User Lab, or a dedicated solution can be deployed, depending on specific needs.
Examples of services provided by CSCS to contractual partners are the analysis of data from the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN, the archiving of data from the X-ray laser SwissFEL for the Paul Scherrer Institute and the provision of computational resources for the numerical weather forecasts of MeteoSwiss.
Founded in 1991, CSCS, the Swiss National Supercomputing Centre, develops and provides the key supercomputing capabilities required to solve important problems to science and/or society. The centre enables world-class research with a scientific user lab that is available to domestic and international researchers through a transparent, peer-reviewed allocation process. CSCS's resources are open to academia, and are available as well to users from industry and the business sector. The centre is operated by ETH Zurich and is located in Lugano.