University of Agder Logo
UiA is the first university in Scandinavia to enter a research collaboration with CERN and the CMS experiment, as an associative member

Research collaboration between CAIR and CERN

UiA is the first university in Scandinavia to enter a research collaboration with CERN and the CMS experiment, as an associate member.


By Sissel Eikeland

"This will lead to increased research activity at the University of Agder within several areas of expertise", says Rygaard Hansen. Rygaard Hansen is Dean of the Faculty of Engineering and Science at the University of Agder (UiA). 

Foto Michael Rygaard Hansen, dekan på Fakultet på teknologi og realfag.

Michael Rygaard Hansen is Dean at the Faculty for Engineering and Science.

«The collaboration with CERN gives us access to a unique network for knowledge exchange with researchers in different areas of expertise.  It will also provide our students with exciting and relevant bachelor and master project opportunities in which they can collaborate with renowned international researchers”, says Rygaard Hansen.  

CERN  is a European organisation that collaborates word-wide with countries, universities and organisations for research studies on elementary particle physics, nuclear physics and nuclear chemistry. CERN experiments take place 100 meters underground in a 27-kilometre long tunnel.

UiA is now a member of CERN CMS, and this agreement is made directly between the Faculty for Engineering and Science and CERN’s CMS-experiment.  The CMS-experiment is one of three experiments that take place in a 27-kilometre long tunnel. The CMS-experiment revolves among others around the detection of particles of the world’s largest and most powerful accelerator, the Large Hadron Collider (LHC). 

Initially, the collaboration will focus on research and development projects within artificial intelligence, mobile communication, mechatronics and renewable energy. 

Artificial intelligence

According to Rygaard Hansen, CERN is always on the look-out for new research and development collaboration opportunities with other universities and research centres. CERN has been in contact with UiA for several years already, but they have only recently formalised the agreement. They increased their focus on UiA after the collaboration with the Priority Research Centre for artificial intelligence  (CAIR).

foto Christian Omlin er professor i kunstig intelligens ved Institutt for IKT ved UiA.

Christian Omlin is Professor in artificial intelligence at the Department of Information and Communication Technology at UiA. 

CERN generates large quantities of data, and they need assistance to handle these. Professor Christian Omlin and his colleagues at CAIR know how to do this.

«We have know-how on machine learning.  This means using statistic methods with computers to detect patterns in large quantities of data», says Omlin. 

CERN carries out many experiments where they use sensors to collect experimental data. These sensors make errors now and then, and CERN wants to prevent this.  In this project, CAIR receives access to the data and uses machine learning to find patterns in the data whenever the sensors are malfunctioning.  By recognising functional errors, the quality of the data will increase.  

Omlin is pleased with this exciting project and points out that UiA’s supercomputers can handle large quantities of data rationally and effectively. 

«We have both the research capacity as well as the infrastructure to help CERN with this», says Omlin. 

Supports SFI-application

This collaboration will also support CAIR in their application to the Norwegian Research Council to become a Centre for Research-based Innovation (SFI). Being part of the SFI-scheme implies financial support during several years and requires, among others, the participation of relevant national and international research partners. 

«Being able to list CERN  as a collaborative partnership will strengthen our application. Long-term collaboration is essential – for CERN, for us, and for our application», says Omlin. 

With CERN on board, CAIR expands their vast network for knowledge exchange with researchers within artificial intelligence from all over the world. 

Student projects

Already several projects have started up since the agreement was signed in February. For example, two students of the Bachelor programme on renewable energy collaborate with experts and Doctoral Research Fellows from CERN, the University of Bath and a Lebanese-American university. They work together on a cooling installation for the CMS experiment, and the result will be ready for use in the course of the next 3 to 4 years. 

«This is only the beginning of what we can achieve together with CERN», says  Omlin.

Published: Thursday 26 March 2020