Postcard from Badisa, Week 3 at CERN; Soccer Diplomacy and CMOS Challenges!

Bonjour, STEM-Trek!

I’ve learned a bit of French and am enjoying my stay at CERN.

This week, I took a tour of the Synchrocyclotron, CERN’s first accelerator, and visited the ATLAS experiment control room. Both are breathtaking ‘sciency’ places. I also participated in the CERN summer students soccer match against CERN teams that play in a local league.

Our Neutrino cluster is taking shape. We performed a massive OS installation on Dell PowerEdge 1950 machines. I ran into a few challenges–including hardware issues, a CMOS problem and I had to change the default settings of the two Network Interface Cards that came with the machines (troubleshooting this was a good learning experience).

Next I will ‘CERNify’ Installations, which involves converting a system that is already installed with CentOS 7 to CERN CentOS 7. We are configuring IPMI – a message-based hardware management interface for the cluster  so that we can remotely monitor it. The plan is to work around the same IPMI tool to watch system health (i.e. if one of the nodes becomes overheated, we should be able to remotely shut it down). Also, I have to “puppetize” the cluster using Puppet software for configuration management of the cluster on the fly.

I attended insightful lecture series on particle physics and the standard Model. On the ROOT workshop last week, we were plotting functions, fitting data and shown how ROOT toolkit is used  to display Large Hadron Collider events (re: the CMS experiment). Today I attended a Machine Learning (ML) Workshop where I learned about ML methods such as boost decision trees, neural networks and the development of machine-learning applications for particle physics experiments.

I’ll attend more workshops next week and continue working on the cluster.

Kind Regards,

Badisa Mosesane
Undergraduate CS student
University of Botswana

See Badisa’s other postcards from CERN on the STEM-Trek site: (week 1, week 4, weeks 7&8).

Many thanks to Cray Computing for supporting Badisa Mosesane’s round-trip flight from Gabarone to Geneva where he participated in CERN’s eight-week international summer school.

There’s Badisa! Right of center, back row.

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