October 7, 2011 - By Simone Ulmer, CSCS

The American ambassador Donald Beyer was given a glimpse into the computer infrastructure and day-to-day work at CSCS. He has already announced that he will be returning next year.

American Ambassador Donald Beyer and Henry Bisharat, a counsellor of political and economic affairs, arrived at CSCS (Swiss National Supercomputing Centre) on Thursday morning. After the diplomat, who is interested in technology and science, kept reading and hearing about CSCS, he decided it was high time he saw it for himself. In doing so, he also seized the opportunity to compare notes with American CSCS staff members in a laid-back atmosphere.

After a tour of the premises and CSCS computer room, during which CSCS Director Thomas Schulthess offered the ambassador a glimpse into the work of the CSCS and the existing HPC infrastructure, Beyer was enthusiastic: “Once again we discover that Switzerland ‘punches above its weight’. From processing the Swiss weather forecast to unravelling CERN data, from the Higgs Boson search to analyzing large amounts of complex data, CSCS is on the cutting edge of supercomputing worldwide.”

Beyer was especially delighted that CSCS’ HPC infrastructure largely stems from American hardware manufacturers like Cray, IBM or SGI and that CSCS enjoys close ties with American computer centres: “I am proud that American computers are represented at CSCS and that it fosters an on-going relationship with the Oak Ridge centre in Tennessee.”

After the visit to the premises in Manno, the American guest was also shown the new building in the Lugano district of Cornaredo, which CSCS will be moving into next spring. Highly impressed, Beyer bid farewell after lunch: “I found my visit to the Swiss National Computing Centre fascinating. I am looking forward to visiting CSCS in its new home next year – more and more supercomputing power to help solve the world’s hardest problems.”