Making the “High-Performance Computing for Lebanon” project start!

Guest post by May Alali

I remember the first time I learned about High-Performance Computing for Lebanon (HPC4L). Unsure exactly how or when the servers would reach Lebanon, I whispered to myself, "I hope this works." 

Lebanon joined the CERN family in 2016 through the signature of an International Cooperation Agreement. Despite the many crises afflicting the country since the end of 2019, its scientific community continues to contribute to CERN and CMS, who, through the efforts of many people and the initiative of Martin Gastal, CERN Adviser for the Middle East and North Africa Region, started the High-Performance Computing for Lebanon (HPC4L) project in 2016 to send CERN computer servers to Lebanon where a computing center would be installed.

The project was entirely supported by the Lebanese government, which issued a decree to complete the necessary measures to put it into practice. HPC4L is a public-private partnership that aims to promote research and development and help Lebanese universities and other institutions accelerate discovery and broaden impact using 3,452 computing cores.
The project was only possible through a fundraiser that CMS launched in March 2021 in collaboration with the Sharing Knowledge Foundation (SKF). The donations collected since were used to cover the shipping costs of the donated hardware to Lebanon, purchase hardware to allow the installation of this equipment, and train the Lebanese experts at CERN by the CMS experts.

On January 14, 2022, Martin Gastal, Joachim Mnich (CERN Director for Research and Computing), Enrica Porcari (Head of the Information Technology department at CERN), representatives of the Lebanese scientific community and of the foundations that have pledged financial support, and the Ambassador of Lebanon to the international organizations in Geneva celebrated the shipping of the donated computer servers to Lebanon.

The fundraiser at the time opened a new insight into the possibility of HPC4L becoming a reality. Today, the computing data center in the heart of Beirut has evolved into an inspiring reality and will endure in its own success, against all odds.
The servers are now running in a Data Center developed by Ogero with international specifications and a high-speed Internet connection between Lebanon and Geneva.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in CMS blogs are personal views of the author and do not necessarily represent official views of the CMS collaboration.