The main CERN School of Computing (CSC) is our flagship School. It lasts two weeks and is a "summer university" providing a series of lectures and hands-on exercises, with an official CSC Diploma upon successful completion of the CSC exam.
It is open to postgraduate students and research workers, working at CERN or at external institutes, with a few years of experience in elementary particle physics, in computing or in related fields.
The participants come from worldwide laboratories and universities, even outside the particle physics community, generally attracted by the advanced topics that are taught. Attendance ranges from 60 to 80 students, typically of 15 to 30 different nationalities (60 different nationalities over the past 10 years). About 80% of the students come from European countries.
As the main summer School is very popular and there are a limited number of places, all applications go through a selection process.
The school lasts two weeks, and is generally hosted at a university campus. The two consecutive weeks are usually mid-August - early September, with lectures starting on Monday and ending on the Friday of the following week.
The School delivers a series of lectures and hand-on exercises for a total of approximately 50 hours generally equally divided between lectures and practical work. The hands-on part is a central component of the school, and may include projects or mini-competitions carried out between the groups of students.
CSC Diploma and ECTS credits
The school delivers an official CERN School of Computing diploma upon a successful completion of the exam that takes place towards the end of the school. The exam is optional and the students who successfully pass the exams obtains the diploma.
Depending on specific agreements with the local university, the students obtaining the diploma may also obtain some European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS) credits. The exact number of credits depends on the school programme and year, and is awarded by the hosting University.
The school also offers a sport programme of around 2-3 hours on most afternoons. The aim of the programme is not only to provide a healthy work-life balance before the late-afternoon working sessions begin, but it also provides additional opportunities for interactions between students, lecturers and organizers. The sports aspect is not compulsory, and no student should feel pressured to take part if not interested.
The sports that are offered depend on the local facilities, and usually include ball sports, racquet sports, running, biking as well as some 'special' sports such as kayaking, canyoning or scuba-diving.
The programme is also a great opportunity to discover new sport or to improve skills.