CERN School of Computing 2011 was… awesome


As exemplified on the pictures above (from the photo gallery of one of the students), CERN School of Computing includes a good deal of extracurricular activities. Which probably goes a long way in explaining the good and humorous atmosphere in the classroom.

Having spent a lot of energy preparing the exercise with the great CSC team, it really was great fun to see my software in the hands of 60 energetic students from all over the world. Here you have the exercise as presented by CSC:

In just a few minutes, these guys (mostly non-physicists) carried out the vision of GridFactory: created a classroom cloud and started simulating and anlyzing 500’000 collision events in the Large Hadron Collider at CERN.

The actual student exercise was formulated as a competition (see – the winner being the first to create a histogram showing the result of an analysis of 500’000 simulated TTBar events in the Large Hadron Collider.

Worker nodes were fired up and jobs submitted. Obviously, if all had been equally fast in doing this and no collaboration was taking place, each might as well have run the exercise on her own PC. Equally clear, if there had been an overall aim of just generating one histogram with 500’000 events as fast as possible, all should have fired up worker nodes and only one should’ve submitted jobs. In the end what happened was that a few were very fast in submitting jobs and quickly 25 different jobs were queued and running, whereas the jobs of the rest were submitted later and ended up sitting in the queue. Interestingly, the ones who won were apparently not among the fast submitters. Instead they realized that all were running with the same credentials on the server and that therefore they could simply download the output files of the first 25 different jobs to finish and make a histogram. Congrats to the winners :-)

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