Latvia Joins CERN Supercomputer Network, Giving Scientists More Opportunities to Perform Complex Computational Functions

5th of June
RTU Rector Tālis Juhna (first from left), Minister of Finance Arvils Ašeradens, CERN Information Technology and Research Director Joachim Mnich and Latvian representative at CERN Toms Torims, Photo by Toms Norde

Latvia has become part of the global high-performance computing infrastructure community by joining the European Nuclear Research Centre (CERN) supercomputer network, so that large-scale scientific data processing will now also take place in Latvia. This historic moment was confirmed by a Memorandum of Understanding signed on 5 June by the Minister of Finance, Arvils Ašeradens, on behalf of the Minister of Education and Science, and CERN's Director of Information Technology and Research, Joachim Mnich.

In reality, this means that Riga Technical University (RTU), the University of Latvia (UL), Rezekne Academy of Technologies, Ventspils University and the National Library of Latvia have pooled their High Performance Computing (HPC) resources in the federated computing centre «Latvia CERN CMS TIER2», part of which will be made available to CERN for processing large volumes of scientific data.

«The Large Hadron Collider remains the largest producer of scientific data in the world,» said Joachim Münch, signing the memorandum. Latvia's supercomputer resources will serve CERN's CMS (The Compact Muon Solenoid) experiment, which uses the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) to simulate the Big Bang at very high energies and to measure the Universe to discover new physics. Latvian scientists and students from the joint RTU and LU programme «Particle Physics and Accelerator Technology», who are working on their PhD theses at CERN, are also working on this experiment.

«Our scientists will be able to use the resources of the Latvian supercomputer to carry out scientific calculations,» explains Toms Torims, the Latvian representative at CERN and RTU.

The TIER2 single federated network in Latvia has been created and connected to the Worldwide LHC Computing Grid (WLCG) thanks to investment from the Latvian government. The WLCG brings together around 170 computing centres in more than 40 countries and provides computing resources for the analysis and storage of data from LHC experiments.

Data collection, storage and processing take place at several levels. At the TIER0 level, data activities take place in CERN's data centre, at TIER1 in some very large global research institutes, and at TIER2, which Latvia joins, in the institutions with which CERN agrees to use supercomputer resources.  

Joining the CERN supercomputer network is another step towards Latvia's goal of becoming a full member of CERN, which could happen in a few years' time. At the Memorandum signing event, A. Ašeradens confirmed that this goal has the full support of the Government and that the Government is ready to take the next step to integrate Latvia even more deeply into CERN. Latvia is currently an Associate Member of CERN as of 2 August 2021.

After signing the Memorandum, J. Mnich visited the National Library of Latvia (NLL), where he saw the future CERN exhibition - a classroom where the Latvian public can learn about CERN research and the work of Latvian scientists at this world-class science centre, where work is underway to identify possible new physics phenomena.

During his visit, J. Mnich presented the People's Bookshelf of the LNB with a copy of James Gillies' «Herwig Schopper. Scientist and Diplomat in a Changing World» with a dedication inscription. The book chronicles the life and professional achievements of the eminent German physicist and former Director General of CERN.

Federatīvā skaitļošanas centra «Latvia CERN CMS TIER2» atklāšana

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5th of June at 17:50

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