A Word from the Director-General

CERN openlab is a unique public-private partnership. It was founded by CERN in 2001 to provide a way to collaborate with leading technology companies to tackle tomorrow’s ICT challenges. Together, we are able to accelerate the development of cutting-edge computing technologies, to the benefit of research in particle physics and beyond.

This collaboration is also of great value to the companies. Their membership enables them to test their latest technologies in CERN’s uniquely challenging environment, receiving valuable feedback from our experts.

In 2018, Oracle became the second company, after Intel, to have spent over 15 years collaborating with CERN through CERN openlab. The continuing appeal of this collaboration is not only shown by the desire of already-engaged companies to continue working in CERN openlab for phase after phase, but also by the range of new companies signing up. In 2018, Micron Technology, IBM, E4 Computer Engineering, and Google all joined CERN openlab.

CERN openlab runs in successive three-year phases, making it possible for both CERN and the companies to take stock at regular intervals. 2018 marked the start of CERN openlab’s sixth such phase, with work beginning on a series of new projects. These aim to address the key ICT challenges faced by our research community, as identified through an in-depth consultation process with experiments and teams across the laboratory (http://openlab.cern/whitepaper). Building upon the success of pilot collaborations in CERN openlab’s fifth phase, advanced discussions are also now underway with a number of new laboratories and universities about joining CERN openlab.

In addition, CERN openlab is exploring a range of emerging, disruptive technologies that offer the potential to change fundamentally ICT processes at CERN and beyond. For example, in 2018 CERN openlab began investigation of technologies related to quantum computing. While these technologies are still at an early stage of development, they do hold significant potential, and CERN openlab is ideally positioned to help drive innovation in this area forward.

Read the full text in our 2018 annual report.