The success of the CERN Alumni event “Moving out of Academia to Big data” (held on 21 September) demonstrates once again how critical and in demand computing technologies and skills are, as is the necessity to handle and exploit ever increasing amounts of data.

Let’s now have a look at the beginning of the process by which CERN creates a common culture in scientific computing amongst young scientists and engineers involved in particle physics or other sciences, and equips them with the skills as well as personal contacts necessary to contributing to large, international scientific computing projects.

Since 1970, the CERN School of Computing (CSC) has been welcoming students from all over the world to help scientists master computing technologies as a main tool for their research and help computer engineers understand their scientific needs in order to deliver computing services to research projects.

At the beginning of the week, the CSC 2018 opened in Tel Aviv, with 71 students from 25 different nationalities for two weeks of a long and intensive school.

Sebastien Lopienski (left) addresses the CSC Participants

Sebastian Lopienski, Director for the CSC says “The CERN School of Computing has been contributing, for many years now, to the fulfilment of CERN’s missions to educate and unite people.  CSC is unique, it is neither a conference nor a training session. Instead, we focus on delivering knowledge (rather than know-how) that will help our students carry out research efficiently on a large scale”

“I was very lucky to have participated as a student in the CERN School of Computing back in 2004” says Sebastian. “It has been an amazing learning period – it has open my eyes to so many aspects of physics computing. On the human level, many of the fellow students have become very good friends over the years. Finally, taking part in that school, and the subsequent Inverted CSC, had a direct influence on my professional career – it has triggered shifting it from software engineering to cyber security. Since then, I have been involved with the School as a lecturer, advisory committee member, and finally its director since 2017”

With equally fond memories of her attendance at the CSC 2013 in Cyprus, CERN Alumna Lisa Azzurra Chinzer, now a Patent Examiner at the European Patent Office, recalls ”without any hesitation, the CERN School of Computing was the most remarkable experience during my time at CERN. The lessons deepened several aspects of computing, physics and data analysis at an adequate level, which is expected by someone who is not a beginner in the field anymore, study time was never boring. It is an experience that really leaves a mark in one's life under so many perspectives.”

If you followed our Big Data event with particular interest, as a member of the CERN Alumni Network, the chances are that you also participated in a CERN School of Computing. All the alumni records of previous schools of computing can be found here ( ) why not enrich your network and please let us know how this school played a role at the beginning of your career.

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