select 'Hello World' from dual@CERN;

select 'Hello World' from dual@CERN;


Welcome to this new blog: “Databases at CERN, powering particle physics”. Why yet another blog?

The goal of this blog is to make the work around databases at CERN better known by sharing technical information to a wider audience.  And who knows… it might trigger your interest in joining us for an internship, a fellowship or as a staff member.


Blog entries will be written by members of the IT – Database services group as well as by members of the CERN and experiment development teams and Tier1 sites (contact us!). We have been very supportive of Oracle user groups for a long time (from the days of the European Oracle User's Group, see for example this paper -4th European Oracle Users' Group Conference, Gleneagles, UK, 27 - 29 Apr 1986-), sharing information at a number of conferences in the past at Oracle technology events (OpenWorld, UK Oracle User Group, Swiss Oracle User Group, …), High Energy Physics conferences (CHEP, HEPiX, …) and database related events like XLDB. The way to share information is evolving and we feel that using a blog can complement presentation and more formal publications. We are also avid readers of a number of blogs in the database area.


CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, was founded in 1954 and is “one of the world’s largest and most respected centres for scientific research” with computing playing a critical role in our day to day work in all areas from the accelerators to the experiments including the engineering and administrative systems. More information is available from CERN’s mission page as well these history highlights.

Enough about CERN itself, what about our use of relational databases? This goes back to 1982 (already 30 years ago!) when Oracle was selected as the database for the control of the LEP accelerator. See, for example, the note “Oracle: the database management system for LEP”:



As another piece of history, here's something I dug up from my colleague's store of old documents, a shrunken page 2 from the Oracle 2.3 manual (1981):

Since then, use of the Oracle database has expanded to cover almost all areas of work at CERN: Administrative Information Services, Engineering systems, accelerator and experiments (both online and offline). We get to push the technology in some areas like replication, RAC, scalability (there is currently a table in the "long term data logging for the LHC" which has more than 5 * 1012 rows) and expect to share on these in the upcoming posts. Another driver for technology exploration is our partnership with Oracle in the CERN openlab and work done here will doubtless feature in future blog entries.

So, in summary, welcome to the world of Databases at CERN!

  • for CERN people, contact us for suggesting and writing posts,
  • for all, we look forward to your comments.

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