Computing at CERN

Website for lectures for the 2002 CERN Summer Student programme.

This site contains background information for lectures on Computing at CERN, given July 22, 23 and 25 2002. 
The lecture material itself, including videos, is also available below.

Rough outline of the 2002 lectures:
  1. Computing at CERN today - PPT- PDF - Video
    Overview of the current computing environment at CERN
    Linux on PCs; C++ (mainly) and Java; distributed computing
    How did we (and these things) get where we (they) are today?
  2. Software at CERN today - PPT - PDF - Video
    Size and scope of the problem
    Why software is important (examples of famous disasters)
    How will we address these problems?
  3. The future: LHC Computing and the Grid - PPT - PDF
    Overview of the challenges of LHC Computing
    Current ideas of how these problems might be solved
    Where are we now and who are the other players?
Tony Cass' lectures on Computing at CERN:
Topics: Looking at Around - Looking at Data - Looking Forward (2001)

Some Pictures

The Old Computer Centre - the "White Coat" era
The CERN Cray - the mainframe era
The Shift Era - farms of RISC workstations
The PC Era - farms of Intel "white box" PCs


History of Computing at CERN: CERN Computer Newsletter (CNL) special editions:
Vol. 1 - Vol. 2 - Vol. 3 - 35 years of the CNL
Website on the History of Computing by former editor of the IEEE Annals of the History of Computing
The annual CERN School of Computing Website
The Creation of the Unix Operating System
The Unixica pages on Unix people and culture
The Free Software Foundation
The History of the Internet (many links)
The History of Xerox Parc
The History of the IBM PC
The History of Microsoft
The History of Sun Microsystems
Steve White's History of Computing pages
IT Timeline (one of many - try Google!)
Time's 1982 "Man of the Year" - The Computer!
Augmented Reality
Nothing to do with computing, but an interesting article on the definitions of Fahrenheit and other temperature scales.


Alan Turing: The Enigma
The Cathedral and the Bazaar - Musings on Linux and Open Source by an Accidental Revolutionary
Douglas Adams - The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy: official Website


Famous and not-so-famous quotes.

"I think there is a world market for maybe five computers. " [Thomas J. Watson Sr., Chairman of IBM, 1943]
"The number of UNIX installations has grown to 10, with more expected." [Unix Programmer's Manual, 2nd Ed., June 12, 1972]
"If I had to do it over again?  Hmm...  I guess I'd spell 'creat' with an 'e'. [Ken Thompson (on the Unix operating system)]
"Computers are useless - they can only give you answers." [Pablo Picasso]
"If you were plowing a field, what would you rather use?  Two strong oxen or 1024 chickens?" [Seymour Cray (on massively parallel architectures)]
"There is no reason for any individual to have a computer in his home." [Ken Olson, President, Digital Equipment, 1977]
"There will never be a faster [VAX] computer than the VAX 11/780 [Digital Employee, 1985]
"A distributed system is one in which the failure of a computer you didn't even know existed can render your own computer unusable."  [Leslie Lamport]


Many famous people are not mentioned in the list below: this is not to undervalue their contribution to computing but rather to focus on those mentioned in the lectures themselves and the relevance of their contributions to Computing at CERN.

Herman Hollerith - applied use of punched cards to US census, founder of the Tabulating Machine Company, forerunner of the Computer Tabulating Recording Company (CTR), which changed its name in 1924 to IBM.
Grace Hopper - developer of the first compiler, first to use term "debug" (to physically remove a moth from a computer)
Alan Turing - founder of modern Computer Science
John Backus - inventor of Fortran
Doug Engelbart - inventor of the mouse
Ken Thompson, Dennis M. Ritchie, Brian W. Kernighan - all inseparable from Unix
E.F. Codd - inventor of the Relational Model
Various Internet Pioneers
Robert Metcalfe - inventor of the Ethernet
Bjarne Stroustrup - inventor of the C++ programming language
James Gosling - original designer of the Java programming language
Tim Berners-Lee - inventor of the World Wide Web & Marc Andreesson, author of MOSAIC
Linus Torvalds - inventor of Linux


Last change June 10, 2004 12:23, Jamie Shiers