Computing at CERN

The Computer Centre handles 15,000 to 20,000 jobs per week

11 November 1974

A Data Handling Division report by Philipe Bloch states:

Around the CERN sites more than 150 computers of widely varying sizes are installed. They vary from small mini-computers (PDP8, HP2115A) via larger mini's and control computers (PDP11/45, HP4100, Nord-10, IBM1800, Modular One, Ferranti Argus 500) over medium sized computers such as PDP-10, IBM-360/44, CII 10070 and CDC 3200 to very large computers (CDC 6600, CDC 7600) in the Computer Centre itself. Many mini-computers are used by experimenters for data collection but accelerator control, remote batch stations and process control application use most of these. The medium sized computers are normally dedicated to particular types of processing for individual groups or divisions: measurements of bubble chamber pictures (CDC 3200, ERASME on the PDP-10), support for data collection for the OMEGA spectrometer and the Split Field Magent (CII 10070). 

The Computer Centre is part of the Data Handling Division and provides a general purpose scientific computing service to both Laboratories... About 700-800 different users run approximately 15,000-20,000 jobs per week on the main computers and mount about 4000 tape reels from a total tape library of more than 6000 reels. Remote batch and terminal services as well as high-speed data links and a delivery service make computing easily accessible practically everywhere on the site round the clock. 



Computing at CERN

The world's first website and server go live at CERN

20 December 1990

By Christmas 1990, Berners-Lee had defined the Web’s basic concepts, the URL, http and html, and he had written the first browser and server software. was the address of the world's first website and web server, running on a NeXT computer at CERN. The world's first web page address was, which centred on information regarding the WWW project. Visitors could learn more about hypertext, technical details for creating their own webpage, and even an explanation on how to search the Web for information. There are no screenshots of this original page and, in any case, changes were made daily to the information available on the page as the WWW project developed. You may find a later copy (1992) on the World Wide Web Consortium website.

You can see the orginal NeXT computer at the Microcosm exhibit at CERN, still bearing the label, hand-written in red ink: "This machine is a server. DO NOT POWER DOWN!!"

The birth of the World Wide Web
Computing at CERN
The history of CERN

LHC Computing Grid phase 1 launched

15 September 2003

The following is an extract from: "The LHC computing grid project at CERN" (Lamanna, 2004)

The first service of the LHC Computing Grid, called LCG-1 was opened on September 15th, 2003, with 25 sites worldwide. In this phase, the goal was to allow the experiments to try out the system and test their software on it. Although incomplete in functionality, in particular, due to some limitation in the data management interface to tertiary storage, LCG-1 is demonstrating very good stability and serving as a basis for the users to prepare for the 2004 data challenges.

Computing at CERN

EU DataGrid project passes final review

19 February 2004

The aim of the European Datagrid project was to produce a "production quality" computing Grid, in anticipation of the construction of the Worldwide LHC Computing Grid. According to the project's website:

The objective is to build the next generation computing infrastructure providing intensive computation and analysis of shared large-scale databases, from hundreds of terabytes to petabytes, across widely distributed scientific communities

The project passed its third and final review at CERN on 19 February 2004. 

Computing at CERN

CERN signs contract for a remote data centre in Budapest

8 May 2012

CERN today signed a contract with the Wigner Research Centre for Physics in Budapest for an extension to the CERN data centre. Under the new agreement, the Wigner Centre will host CERN equipment that will substantially extend the capabilities of the LHC Computing Grid Tier-0 activities. This contract is initially until 31 December 2015, with the possibility of up to four one-year extensions thereafter.

“Installing computing capacity at the Wigner Centre allows us to power additional equipment as well as secure our operations due to the remote nature of the resources” said Frédéric Hemmer, Head of CERN’s IT Department. “For example, should we suffer a prolonged power cut at CERN, we will be able to transfer critical functions to the Wigner Centre, mitigating the risk of having all of Tier-0 in one location."

Read the press release

Computing at CERN


Subscribe to Computing at CERN

You are here