CERN Accelerating science

2016 CERN openlab summer student programme closes with ‘lightning talks’

Friday, 19 August, 2016

Earlier this week, this year’s CERN openlab summer students presented their work in two dedicated public ‘lighting talk’ sessions. In 5-minute presentations, each student explained the technical challenges they have faced and described the results of what they have been working on for the nine weeks they have spent at CERN.

Projects presented covered a diverse range of topics, including high-performance computing,  big data, visualisation, and machine learning.

The lightning talks were split into two sessions. A panel composed of CERN IT department experts and the audience voted for their three preferred talks from each session.


The winners from the first session were as follows:

1st place: Mayank Sharma (‘real-time visualization tool’).

2nd place: Shubham Gupta (‘database consistency verification for CMS metadata’).

3rd place: Dominik Ernst (‘performance studies on different accelerators using OpenCL’).


The winners from the second session were as follows:

1st place: Ahmad Hesam (‘Human Brain Development Project’).

2nd place: Dinika Saxena (‘resource visualisation’).

3rd place: Esther Kok (‘GeneROOT).

Following careful deliberation by the judges, Ahmad Hesam was selected as the overall winner for 2016. “I was new to both the ROOT and the BioDynaMo platforms that were central to my project, so I needed to work hard to get acquainted with these, says Hesam. “It’s been a real challenge, but it’s definitely been worth it. I’ve learnt a lot!”

“I’m very interested in big data technologies and physics, so CERN is definitely the place to be. My time here has really helped me to put the term ‘big data’ into perspective,” continues Hesam. “Working together with other students from all around the world has also been a great experience.”

The students have come from all across the globe for a summer internship at CERN, working on specialized advanced computing projects with applications in high-energy physics. As part of the programme, the students have also attended a series of lectures given by IT experts on advanced CERN-related topics and had the opportunity to visit the CERN facilities and experiments, as well as other research laboratories and companies such as ETH Zurich, OpenSystems, and EPFL.

Another highlight of the summer was the CERN Summer Student Webfest. The event is a hackathon, through which bright and creative minds meet over a weekend to build cool science projects using open web technologies.

This year’s Webfest, which was supported by CERN openlab, featured over 50 participants collaborating on 13 projects over a weekend. It was a challenge to do something meaningful in such a short time, but I definitely learnt a lot,” says Aytaj Aghabayli, one of several CERN openlab summer students who participated in the event and who was a member of the ‘Blind Navigation’ team. “It was a very valuable experience and it was good to work with people with a wide variety of skills.”

“Overall, this year’s CERN openlab summer student programme has been another great success,” says Alberto Di Meglio, head of CERN openlab. “Once again, we’ve been greatly impressed by the drive and energy of the participating students. Their ideas and fresh perspectives help to drive CERN’s work forward.”

“On behalf of the whole CERN openlab team, I would like to thank each of the students for their excellent presentations this week,” continues Di Meglio. “Education and training are core parts of CERN openlab’s mission; we hope to see as many of you as possible back here at CERN in the future.”