In order to further strengthen COMSATS’ collaborative links with international organizations of the North, a delegation of COMSATS Secretariat and COMSATS Institute of information Technology (CIIT), visited the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), Geneva, Switzerland, on 30th and 31st January 2012. The delegation was led by the Executive Director COMSATS, Dr. Imtinan Elahi Qureshi. Members of the delegation included Rector CIIT, Dr. S.M. Junaid Zaidi; Dean of Office of Research, Innovation and Commercialization, CIIT, Prof. Raheel Qamar; and Dean Faculty of Sciences, CIIT, Dr. Arshad Saleem Bhatti. The purpose of the visit was to explore avenues of CIIT’s participation in A Large Ion Collider Experiment (ALICE) Collaboration of CERN.
Prior to the formal visit programme, preliminary meetings were held with Dr. Luciano Musa (ALICE, Inner Tracker System) and Jean-Pierre Revol (COMSATS’ Technical Advisory Committee member and former CERN Team Leader for ALICE). A review of CIIT’s contribution as Associate Member of ALICE Collaboration was organized on 30th January, where members of the visiting delegation were joined by Dr. Paolo Giubellino (Spokesperson, ALICE Collaboration), Dr. Wisla Carena (CERN Team Leader for ALICE), Dr. Luciano Musa and Catherine Decosse (Resource Coordinator ALICE Collaboration). Rector CIIT expressed his intention on this occasion to apply for full membership of ALICE Collaboration. Financial and Technical requirements for proceeding with the plan were thoroughly discussed.
On 31st January, the visiting delegates of COMSATS received a briefing from Dr. Rüdiger Voss, Adviser for Islamic Republic of Pakistan at CERN’s International Relations Office, introducing them to CERN’s activities and recent scientific results obtained during the operation of Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at 7 TeV center-of-mass energy. The COMSATS’ officials were then shown around CERN experimental areas that included LHC superconducting magnet test hall, CERN Control Centre (CCC) and LHC accelerator and tunnel. The officials were also escorted to ALICE surface exhibition and ALICE underground experimental area, where a briefing was given by ALICE Spokesperson, Dr. Paolo Giubellino.
A presentation was made on LHC Computing Grid Project of CERN by Dr. Robert Jones, Head of open lab; I.T Department CERN, who also accompanied the COMSATS’ officials to CERN’s Computer Center. Other CERN officials that facilitated the visit included Dr. Marta Bajko, Technology Department; and Dr. Rende Steerenberg, Beams Department.
During the visit to CERN, a lunch was hosted by Prof. Dr. Rolf-Dieter Heuer, Director-General CERN, in honour of the visiting delegation of COMSATS that was also attended by other senior officials of CERN. Recording his impressions of the visit, the Executive Director wrote in the visitor’s book that it is a matter of great honour for CIIT to be a partner of CERN, which is an outpost for observing the origin of universe and for uniting mankind behind a common purpose of understanding nature.