Summer student with ALICE: an invaluable experience

Aleksandar Rusinov

Being a summer student in CERN is an invaluable experience. As a Computer Science student I was eager to understand in depth how computer systems serve the physics scientific research in CERN and to bring my humble contribution. In general terms my project was to make a visualization of the task topology  editor for the process configuration that will be running on the upgrade of ALICE computing online-offline system - O2.

This system aims to serve as a replacement for the data acquisition, high level trigger and the offline systems for the ALICE experiment, starting from Run 3 of LHC. The visual topology graph that I am creating has to  be user friendly and intuitive for editing purposes. It has to be made as a browser application  with the use of modern libraries (ReactJS,  JointJS) in order  to be portable and usable everywhere. The visualization component to the editor that I managed to implement fulfilled the requirements and integrates smoothly into editor environment so I hope that it will be used in the near future.

During the process of development I got a better understanding of how an advanced computing system functions as a whole and in what way its different components - multiprocessing system, read out cards, data storage modules and Grid tiers - work together to reliably achieve a planned result. I am very grateful for the valuable advice I have constantly been receiving from the skilled professionals both from CERN and GSI Helmholtz Centre for Heavy Ion Research, Darmstadt, that collaborates with ALICE.

CERN is “accelerating science” in many different fields – the World Wide Web sprung from here, linear accelerator models development is used proactively in medicine to cure cancer and of course it has been pushing the frontiers of particle physics for more than 60 years now. As an institution of academic progress it has a goal to teach to the youth the noble virtues of science.

This summer it accommodated more than 280 students from 83 countries and I am very fortunate to be one of them. I was able to make new friends from around the world – Thailand, Argentina, Japan, China, Italy and many others. They all are smart and with high academic knowledge and personal motivation. This allowed us to share our professional and academic experience and to broaden our perception to a more global level.

I wish to everyone who has a true passion for science and technology to be able to join this place, even for a short period, and I hope to have an opportunity to work here again!

Alice Matters