Computing infrastructure

This page summarizes the technical specifications for the Computing Infrastructure used at CSC. It applies to main and thematic Schools.

Exercise room 

Maximum number of students

The maximum number of students for a given school N (year) is determined every year by the CSC management after consultation with the Local Organizing Committee. 

As an indication, this number has been between 60 and 80

Student computers

Each computer is to be shared by two students. Therefore, the LOC must arrange for up to N/2 + 2 spare/test computers. Typical number of computers have been between 35 and 40.

The computers will run a Live image based on Fedora 22 64bit, which has been prepared by CERN technical staff. The organizers are required to test a Fedora 20 or higher Linux distribution on a student PC, in order to report on possible issues (e.g. with the video card or any other hardware) several months before the School takes place.

Minimal specifications

  • CPU Intel “Core i3/5/7” or higher
  • ≥4 GB RAM 
  • 100 GB disk space
  • 1 Gbps network card
  • USB bootable


  • US keyboards required. Local keyboards may be exceptionally considered in case of minimal differences with US keyboards.


  • Monitors should provide at least 1280x1024 screen resolution. Recommended: 1920x1080 or 1920x1200 or higher. 

Administration server

One computer is used as a central admin server to control all exercises and documents accessed by the students' computers.

Minimal specifications

  • Multi-core CPU (4 to 8 cores) 
  • Minimum 8 GB RAM, 16 GB RAM recommended 
  • Minimum 500 GB available disk space, more recommended 
  • US keyboard preferred, monitor with at least 1280x1024 resolution 
  • Two network interfaces, preferably 10 Gbps for the internal traffic
  • Must be able to run CentOS 7 or Fedora 20 64bit (installation should work “out-of-the-box”) 

Server location

A locked room, making unauthorized access difficult, possibly near the exercise room(s) or the secretariat.

The organizers should install the server in advance with a Fedora or equivalent linux distribution, and should provide remote access to CERN technical staff some months before the School takes place. The setup will be remotely customized by CERN technical staff.


A private network is to be setup behind the administration server for the exercise machines. The network will run on 10.0.0.x IPs and Internet access will be routed through the admin server. The admin server must have a public IP address and be accessible from the internet.

In case the School is hosted in a campus:

  • Cabled ethernet access to all student PCs, and at least 5 free ethernet sockets in the secretariat.
  • Access to the campus WiFi infrastructure from the secretariat, the exercise rooms and the lectures room.
  • It is highly desirable that a “CSC” WiFi SSID be deployed everywhere and that this network be managed by the admin server.

In case the School is not using a campus/installed infrastructure:

  • 1x 48 port switch (exercise room) + 1x 24 port switch (secretariat).
  • WiFi routers in the exercise rooms and the secretariat; the WiFi is routed and managed by the admin server.

External connectivity

The required bandwidth towards Internet, and in particular to CERN, is at least 10 Mbps bidirectional. Tests can be arranged with CERN technical staff to assess the quality of the external connectivity (bandwidth and round-trip time).


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