ATLAS Tier-1 Data Centre

The Canadian Tier-1 Centre at SFU processes data collected by the ATLAS experiment at the Large Hadron Collider to enable researchers to discover the properties of new particles like the Higgs boson.

The ATLAS experiment studies proton-proton collisions (and heavy ion collisions) from the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN, Switzerland at the highest energy ever achieved in the laboratory. ATLAS is an interna­tional collaborative particle physics experiment constructed on a global scale, encompassing more than 3,000 scientists from 181 institutions in 42 countries. 

To analyze the enormous amount of data the ATLAS experiment records at the LHC, CERN coordinates an international network of high performance computing (HPC) centres, which are linked by grid tools so they act as one large system, the Worldwide LHC Computing Grid (WLCG). The Canadian Tier-1 Data Centre is one of ten worldwide ATLAS Tier-1 Data Centres located at SFU. The Tier-1 Centre is operated by a consortium of nine Canadian universities, led by SFU and TRIUMF (the ATLAS-Canada collaboration). The Tier-1 Data Centre is a large-scale data-intensive facility, which provides dedicated resources to enable searches for new phenomena at the forefront of particle physics today.

Analysis of data collected during LHC operation already produced outstanding results, culminating in the discovery of the Higgs boson jointly by ATLAS and the CMS experiment. This discovery led to the 2013 Nobel Prize in physics. The 2012 discovery of the Higgs boson unlocked a new window in particle physics; the goal now is to precisely measure its properties.

The Canadian Tier-1 Data Centre is a state-of-the art facility and provides:

  • Computing capacity for data processing of LHC collisions recorded by ATLAS;
  • Storage of raw and secondary datasets from the ATLAS experiment;
  • Simulation, and physics analysis activities;

For questions about the ATLAS Tier-1 Data Centre, please contact Bernd Stelzer and Reda Tafirout

If you are a student interested to join the ATLAS experiment at the LHC and do research using the Tier-1 Data Centre, please contact us or any faculty of the ATLAS-Canada collaboration.

SFU and TRIUMF created the Tier-1 Data Centre thanks to the tremendous support from the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) and the B.C. Knowledge Development Fund (BCKDF). The Tier-1 Data Centre has also received significant in-kind contributions and support from industry.

The original location of the Tier-1 Data Centre was at TRIUMF (2007-2018). Following the decision to consolidate high-performance computing in Canada into a small number of centres managed by Compute Canada (CC), which is now the Digital Research Alliance of Canada, the centre was moved to the same centre at SFU that also hosts SFU's supercomputer CEDAR.

Selected Links connected to the ATLAS Tier-1 Data Centre


ATLAS Tier-1 Data Centre
Water Tower Building
8888 University Dr
Burnaby, BC V5A 1S6

Bernd Stelzer
Professor, Physics
Scientific Director, ATLAS Tier-1 Data Centre

Reda Tafirout
Research Scientist
TRIUMF Department Head, Scientific Computing
Director of Operations, ATLAS Tier-1 Data Centre