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Formally CERN

1121 Genčve 23







+43 1 9230096 (home)

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Prof. Dr. Ian Willers

A mathematician and computer scientist by training with extensive experience in computing research for high energy physics applications. Aptitude in running large international projects with major budgets for CERN, CERN based international collaborations and the European Union. Awarded diplomatic status in 2001 and a visiting professorship at UWE, Bristol, UK. He was head of the CERN group responsible for CERN computing within the CMS experiment. He retired in April 2009 and is now resident in Vienna, Austria.

Job History


1972 - 2009          Staff Member at CERN (European Centre for Nuclear Research)





Group Leader of CMS Computing group

This group took special responsibility for CERN aspects of CMS computing and was an integral part of the CMS Computing Project.


Chairman Offline Computing Finance Board.

I was responsible for the budgets of the Offline Computing Project of the CMS experiment.


CMS interface to Pakistani Computing collaboration

I was the main CMS contact for computing for CMS in Pakistan. This included the National University of Science and Technology School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (NUST-SEECS), Pinstech, National Centre for Physics and COMSATS. Especially fruitful for computing was the collaboration with Arshad Ali from NUST-SEECS. The last student M. Waseem Hassan obtained his Ph.D. in 2009.


Promotion assessor

I assessed the promotion recommendations for various departments of CERN.


Review of Computing for LHC experiments

I represented CMS on the Hoffmann Computing Review Management and Resources Panel.


Databases and the GRID, supervising Ph.D. student

I along with Richard McClatchey from the University of West England supervised a number of students.


WISDOM Project

In collaboration with Richard McClatchey and Jean-Marie Le Goff, I ran the WISDOM project which included CERN, the University of West England and the Computing Training Centre, Islamabad.


GRID Computing, supervising Ph.D. students

I supervised Heinz Stockinger, from the Technical University of Vienna, awarded a Ph.D. under the Austrian programme studying data replication using GRID tools at CMS regional centres.


Member of CMS Offline Computing Institution Board.

This board made decisions concerning aspects of computing which affected the international institutes taking part in CMS. The countries represented were from Europe, North America and Asia.


Resource Manager

Offline Computing Project


My main responsibility was for the CMS experiment Offline Software and Computing Project as resource manager on the CMS Finance Board, and for general planning and database management.


Technical responsible for databases within the Offline Computing Project of CMS.

I managed the database aspects of the experiment. I ran the Database User Club that met during CMS and Software weeks and chaired the CERN-wide Objectivity Developers’ Forum.


CMS computing model, databases, Grid and supervising Ph.D. students

Since 1992 I have close ties with Peter van der Stok and Eindhoven University. I managed a small group of students who based their work on the CMS computing model. They have studied in-memory databases, performance issues of distributed object databases, access to disperse data sources and object database replication to regional centres. Koen Holtman and Frank van Lingen received doctorates and remained part of the CMS experiment working at Caltech under Harvey Newman. Heinz Stockinger from the Technical University of Vienna, and Ergo Argante of Eindhoven conducted their studies within the CMS Computing group and both received doctorates.


Fellows and Associates

I was part of the team selecting CERN fellows and associates. I represented the PH department on the CERN Fellows and Associates Committee, was chairman of the PH Applied Fellows Board and was a member of the PH Fellows and Associates Selection Committee. I was the PH representative on the CERN Applied Fellows Ranking Committee and also represented PH on matters concerning the Portuguese and Spanish graduate programmes.


Scientific Information

I was, for a long time, chairman of the Computer Science Library Committee and represented the IT division on the CERN Scientific Information Policy Board.


European Union Projects, Parallel Computing and students

In 1988, I joined the Advanced Computer Group at CERN where I studied the use of parallel computers. This interest has been developed within Esprit projects where I collaborated with Robert Dobinson and Brian Martin. In GPMIMD, I controlled the finances and was leader of the GPMIMD ZEUS sub project that included the German Parsytec company, Scandinavian universities, and East and West German universities. I wrote the first version of the GPMIMD-2 proposal that was accepted by the European Union and later resulted in the installation of the Meiko CS-2 in the CERN computer center. I have participated and helped initiate the Macrame, Harmony, GPMIMD and GPMIMD-2 Esprit projects and have been involved in their finances. We had a large number of students; I supervised three students from the Technical University of Eindhoven and the University of Geneva and they all successfully obtained their Ph.Ds.


Consultant, University of Geneva

I consulted for the University of Geneva on the planning and introduction of their new computing system. The university adopted the recommended distributed computing solution, quite advanced at the time, using Ethernet, TCP-IP and SUN Unix workstations.


Personal Workstation Project

On my return to CERN after my sabbatical I became project leader of the Personal Computer and Personal Workstation projects within CERN. I was responsible for introducing this new technology into the organisation.


Relational Databases

From 1980 to 1982, I spent a sabbatical period at the Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory where I worked as a consultant on the design of the BART railway control system and I developed a relational database interface to a Codasyl system.


Compilers, Assemblers, Linkers, Loaders etc.

In 1972 I started work at CERN where I implemented compilers and assemblers. Techniques in cross compilers and assemblers lead to a machine independent object module format. While I was in the USA I set up an IEEE standards group that developed the IEEE standard object module format for microprocessors, IEEE-695. The standard was in wide use supporting In-Circuit Simulation (ICE) and program development tools for Micro-Controllers from Hewlett-Packard, Hitachi, Intel, Mitsubishi, Motorola, Philips, Siemens, Thomson and others. Hewlett-Packard was especially strong in supporting the standard; it was also supported by the Gnu suite of programming support tools. Notable users include Lucent and Mentor Graphics. During this period I supervised Yves Ligier, a masters student from the University of Geneva, and Yukio Karita, a Japanese student who later became head of computing in KEK.



Ph.D. in Computer Science

I went to Cambridge University where I obtained my doctorate in Computer Science in 1973 supervised by David Barton, in the Computing Department headed by Professor Maurice Wilkes.


BSc in Mathematics

I gained my first degree, in Mathematics, from the University of London where I was a student of Professor Herman Bondi at King's College.


My mother tongue is English and I have a workable knowledge of French which I used regularly within CERN. I am currently learning German.

Professional Experience

I am a visiting professor at the University of the West of England, UWE, and a member of the IEEE Computer Society. I was a registered expert consulting on the Esprit programme with the European Union and an adviser to the Technical University of Eindhoven on their academic programme. I have published a number of papers on database topics in reputable journals including IEEE Concurrency. I have also been invited to run workshops, for example, AIHENP in Lausanne, 1998, AIHENP in Crete, 2000, and a Database Workshop in Islamabad, Pakistan in 2000. In 2001, 2003 and 2005 I was on the programme committee and gave invited talks to Bulgarian and Russian computer scientists at a computing conference in Varna, Bulgaria.

I have a history of supervising Ph.D. students, all of which successfully obtained their Ph.D.s. I have also been examiner for 2 D.Phil.s for the University of the West of England.

As well as my professional qualifications, I have an AKC from King’s College, London, in religious studies and a teaching diploma from Cambridge University.

Personal Details

I was born in Boston, England on the 2nd of August 1944. During my university years I rowed for the Kings College London first boat and the Corpus Christi College first boat. At Corpus I also coached an eight that obtained its oars in the May Bumps. My current sport is horse riding.

I have a wife, Margaret, and two sons, Sebastian and Edward.




The following people may be contacted to obtain references:


Dr. Martti Pimiä

Former Head of CERN CMS computing group

CERN, European Centre for Nuclear Physics

1211 Genčve 23


University of West of England

Prof. Richard McClatchey

Director of Centre for Complex Cooperative Systems

University of the West of England

Frenchay Campus

Coldharbour Lane

Bristol BS16 1QY


Philips Research and Eindhoven University of Technology

Dr. Peter van der Stok

Senior researcher

Philips Research Laboratories Eindhoven

Prof. Holstlaan 4

5656 AA  Eindhoven

The Netherlands


Published Work:

Recent publications

1.      Anjum, A.; McClatchey, R.; Willers, I.; Data Analysis with the DIANA Meta-Scheduling Approach, Journal of Physics: Conference Series, 2008.

2.      Wijnant, L.; Aerts, A; Sinanis, N; Willers, I.; Modelling and Simulation of the CMS Tier0 input buffer with Yasper, Eurosim 2007, Ljubljana, Slovenia and CERN/CMS IN-2008/006.

3.      McClatchey, R; Anjum, A; Stockinger, H; Ali, A; Willers, I; Thomas, M; Data Intensive and Network Aware (DIANA) Grid Scheduling; Journal of Grid Computing, 2007, Springer, Netherlands.

4.      Anjum, A.; McClatchey, R.; Stockinger, H.; Ali, A.; Willers, I.; Thomas, M.; DIANA Scheduling Hierarchies for Optimizing Grid Bulk Job Scheduling, eScience 2006 Amsterdam.

5.      Anjum, A.; McClatchey, R.; Ali, A.; Willers, I.; Bulk Scheduling with DIANA Scheduler, IEEE Transactions on Nuclear Science.

6.      Anjum, A.; Stockinger, H.; McClatchey, R.; Ali, A.; Willers, I.; Thomas, M.; Data Intensive and Network Aware (DIANA) Grid Scheduling. Journal of Grid Computing (Accepted).

7.      Ali, A.; Anjum, A.; Bunn; J.; Khan; F.; R.McClatchey; Newman; H.; Steenberg; C.; Thomas; M.; Willers; I.; A Multi Interface Grid Discovery System; The 7th IEEE/ACM International Conference on Grid Computing; Grid2006; Barcelona Spain.

8.      Anjum; A.; McClatchey; R.; Ali; A.; Willers; I.; Bulk Scheduling with DIANA Scheduler; Computing in High energy Physics (CHEP 2006); Bombay India.

9.      Ali; A.; Anjum; A.; Azim; T.;Zafar; A.;Mehmood; A. ;Newman; H.; Willers; I.; McClatchey; R. ;Bunn; J. ; Waqas-ur Rehman; Resource Management Services for the Grid Analysis Environment; 2005 International Conference on Parallel Processing (ICPP-2005) Oslo; Norway.

10.  Ali; A.; Anjum; A. ; Willers; I.; McClatchey; R.; Bunn; J. ; Newman; H.; Mehmood; A.; Predicting Resource Requirements of a Job Submission in Grid Environment; Chep 2004 Interlaken Switzerland.

11.  Ali; A.; Anjum; A. ;Azim; T.;Shah; Y.;Newman; H.; Willers; I.; McClatchey; R. ;Bunn; J. ; Iqbal, S.; Solomonides, T.; Distributed Heterogeneous Relational Databases Integration Services for An Interactive Scientific Analysis over the Grid; 2005 International Conference on Parallel Processing (ICPP-2005) Oslo; Norway.

12.  Ali; A.; Anjum; A. ; Willers; I.; McClatchey; R. ;Bunn; J. ; Newman; H. ; Mehmood; A.; A Taxonomy and Survey of Grid Resource Planning and Reservation Systems for Grid Enabled Analysis Environment; 2004 International Symposium on Distributed Computing and Applications to Business; Engineering and Science (DCABES);Wuhan; China.

13.  Ali; A.; Anjum; A. ; Willers; I.; McClatchey; R.; Bunn, J.; Newman; H.; Zafar; A.; Job Interactivity using Steering Service in Grid Enabled Analysis Environment; Chep 2004 Interlaken Switzerland.

14.  Ali; A.; Anjum; A. ; Willers; I.; McClatchey; R. ;Bunn; J. ; Newman; H. ; Rehman, W.; Job Monitoring in Interactive Grid Analysis Environment; Chep 2004 Interlaken Switzerland.

15.  Anjum; A.; Ali; A.; McClatchey; R.; Willers; I.; Optimal Replica Location for Efficient Job Scheduling in a Grid Analysis Environment; Prep2005 Lancaster; UK.

16.  Ali; A.; Anjum; A. ;Akram; A.;Ahmed; N.; Willers; I.; Richard McClatchey ;Bunn; J. ; Newman; H. ;Thomas; M.;Steenberg; C. Distributed Analysis and Load Balancing on Hand-held devices using Multi-Agents Systems for Grid Enabled Analysis Environment; GCC2004; China.

17.  Ali; A.; Anjum; A.; Azim; T.; Bunn; J.; Ahsan Ikram;McClatchey; R.; Newman; H.; Steenberg; C.; Thomas; M.; Willers; I.; Mobile Computing in Physics Analysis - An Indicator for eScience; The Third International Conference on Mobile Computing and Ubiquitous Networking (ICMU 2006) ;October 2006 ; London; U.K.

18.  Ali; A; Anjum; A; McClatchey; R; Willers; I; Bunn; J; Thomas; M; Steenberg; C; Newman; Mehmood; A; “A Taxonomy and Survey of Grid Resource Planning and Reservation Systems for Grid Enabled Analysis Environment”; DCABES 2004; Wuhan; China; September; 2004.

19.  Ali; A; Anjum; A; McClatchey; R; Willers; I; Bunn; J; Thomas; M; Steenberg; C; Newman; H; Azim; T; Ikram; A; “A Grid-enabled Interface to Condor for Interactive Analysis on Handheld and Resource-limited Devices”; DCABES 2004; Wuhan; China; September; 2004.

20.  Muhammad; A; Liendl; M; van Lingen; F; Willers; I; Ali; A; “Migration of the XML Detector Description Data and Schema to a Relational Database”; CMS Note 2003/031; July; 2003.

21.  Ahmad; U; Hassan; W; Ali; A; McClatchey; R; Willers; I; “An Integrated Approach for Extraction of Objects from XML and Transformation to Heterogeneous Object Oriented Databases”; ICEIS; 2003.

22.  Ali A.; Munir K; Waseem Hassan M.; McClatchey R.; Willers I.; “Database Independent Migration of Objects into an Object-Relational Database”; CMS Note 2002/014; September; 2002.

23.  Munir; K; Waseem Hassan M.; Ali; A; McClatchey;R; Willers; I “Database Independent Migration of Objects into an Object-Relational Database”; ISCON2002; Lahore; August; 2002 and IWADS2002; the 2nd International Workshop on Autonomous Decentralized System; Beijing; P.R.China November 6-7; 2002.

24.  Waseem Hassan M.; Ali A.; McClatchey R.; Willers I. “Deserializing Object Data while Schemas Evolve”. Currently under review as CERN CMS Note.

25.  Van Lingen; F.; Case; M.; Liendl; M.; Willers; I. “XML for Modelling; Data Integration; and Meta data within CMS”; Advances in Infrastructure for e-Business; e-Education; e-Science; and e-Medicine on the Internet SSGRR 2002w; L'Aquila; Italy; January; 2002.

26.  Berti; L.; Willers; I.; et al. “CMS Grid Activities in Europe”; CHEP 2001; Beijing; China; September; 2001.

27.  Holtman; K.; Willers; I.; et al. “CMS Requirements for the Grid”; CHEP 2001; Beijing; China; September; 2001.

28.  Van Lingen; F.; McClatchey; R.; van der Stok; P; Willers; I. “XML for Adaptive Viewpoints in a Heterogeneous Environment”; accepted by 5th World Multi-Conference on Systematics; Cybernetics and Informatics; SCI 2001; Orlando; USA; July 2001.

29.  Stockinger; H.; Stockinger; K; Schikuta; E; Willers; I. “Towards a Cost Model for Distributed and Replicated Data Stores”; accepted by 9th. Euromicro Workshop on Parallel and Distributed Processing; Mantova; Italy; Febrary; 2001.

30.  Bahtti; N; Hassan; W; Le Goff; J-M; Kovacs; Z; McClatchey; R; Saeed; S; Stockinger; H; Willers; I. "Object Serialisation and Deserialisation Using XML"; accepted by ADCOM 2000; Cochin; India; December; 2000.

31.  Holtman; K; van der Stock; P; Willers; I; "Towards Mass Storage Systems with Object Granularity"; eighth NASA Goddard Conference on Mass Storage Systems and Technologies; Maryland; USA; 2000.

32.  Willers; I; "Database activities in CMS"; CMS Internal Note; CMS IN/1999-039; October; 1999.

33.  Willers; I; "Estimates of Future CMS Computing Costs"; CMS Internal Note; CMS IN/1999-046; October; 1999.

34.  Malon; D; Willers; I.; et al; “Status Report of the RD45 Project”; CERN/LHCC 99-28; September 1999.

35.  Le Goff; J-M; Willers; I; McClatchey; R.; Kovacs; Z; “Design Patterns for Description-Driven Systems”; presented at 1999 Enterprise Distributed Object Computing conference (EDOC'00); Mannheim; September 1999; and CMS Note-1999/045; July; 1999.

36.  Aderholz; A; Willers; I.; et al; “Models of Networked Analysis at Regional Centres for LHC Experiments (Monarc)”; LCB 99-5; June 1999.

37.  Holtman; K; van der Stok; P; Willers; I; “A Cache Filtering Optimisation for Queries to Massive Datasets on Tertiary Storage”; DOLAP ‘99; November; 1999.

38.  Argante; E; van der Stok; P; Willers; I; “CoCa: a Parallelization Model for High-Energy Physics”; IEEE Concurency; April 1999.

39.  Draskic; J.; Le Goff; J_M.; Willers; I.; Vialle; J-P.; Baker; N.; Estrella; F.; “Using a Meta-Model as the Basis for Enterprise-Wide Data Navigation in a Scientific Environment”; Third IEEE Meta-Data Conference; April 1999.

40.  Le Goff; J-M.; McClatchey; R; Vialle; J-P; Willers; I; “Providing Access for Physicists to the CMS ECAL Construction Database”; CHEP 98; September 1998.

41.  Holtman; K; van der Stok; P; Willers; I; “Automatic Reclustering of Objects in Very Large Databases for High Energy Physics”; IDEAS’98; July 1998.

42.  Malon; D; Willers; I.; et al; “Status Report of the RD45 Project”; CERN/LHCC 98-11; July 1998.

43.  Argante; E; van der Stok; P; Willers; I; "High Energy Physics Software Parallelization Using Database Techniques"; Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research; section A.

44.  Argante; E; van der Stok; P; Willers; I; "High Energy Physics Software Parallelization Using Database Techniques"; AIHENP'96; September 1996.

45.  Argante; E; Meesters; M; van der Stok; P; Willers; I; "A Database for On-line Event Analysis on a Distributed Memory Machine"; CHEP95; CERN/ECP 95-28.

46.  Argante; E; van der Stok; P; Willers; I; "On-line event reconstruction using a parallel in-memory database"; IEEE International Conference on Engineering of Complex Computer Systems; Nov 6-10 1995; CERN/ECP 95-29.

47.  Baker; M; Dobinson; R; Willers; I; "A Summary of Applications Mounted as part of the GPMIMD; GPMIMD 2 and Harmony Projects"; Project confidential; 1995.

A Selection of Older Publications

1.      Willers; I M; "Standards"; Encyclopedia of Microcomputers; Ed. Kent; A; Williams J; 1995; Volume 16; 323-344.

2.      Willers; I M; "Standards"; Encyclopedia of Computer Science and Technology; Ed. Kent; A; Williams J; 1991; Volume 24; 399-419.

3.      Dobinson; R W; Jeffery; D R N; Willers; I M; "An introduction to transputers and Occam"; 1990 CERN school of computing; Ysermonde; Belgium; 2-15 Sep 1990; Proceedings / Ed. by C Verkerk. - CERN; Geneva; 1991 - (CERN 91-05).

4.      Willers; I.; "Parallel computing: some activities in high energy physics"; Int. j. mod. phys.; C : 1 (1990) 343-353 - (CERN ECP 90-4).

5.      Willers; I.; "Personal computing in a physics environment"; Europhys. news : 19 (1988) 17-19.

6.      Willers; I.; "Personal workstations : Where are we now?"; Contrib. to the 1987 CERN school of computing; Troia; Portugal; 13-26 Sep 1987; Proceedings / Ed. by C Verkerk - CERN; Geneva; 1988 - (CERN 88-03) - 329-344.

7.      Willers; I.; "Personal computers"; Comput. stand. interfaces : 6 (1987) 9-16.

8.      Willers; I.; "Single user systems"; CERN School of Computing; Aiguablava; 9-22 Sep 1984; Proceedings - CERN; Geneva; 1985 - 362-373.

9.      Willers; I M; "Personal Workstations"; Workshop on software in high-energy-physics - where do we go from here?"; CERN; Geneva; 4-6 Oct 1982; Proceedings 194-200.

10.  von Eiken; H; Montuelle; J; Willers; I; Blake; J. "Cross software for microprocessor program development at CERN"; Topical conference on the application of microprocessors to high energy physics experiments; CERN; Geneva; Switzerland; 4-6 May 1981; Proceedings - (CERN 81-07).

11.  Montuelle; J; Willers; I M; "Cross software using a universal object module format; CUFOM"; European conference on applied information technology; London; 25-28 Sep 1979; EURO IFIP 79: Proceedings / Ed. by P A Samet. - North Holland; Amsterdam; 1979 - 627-632.

12.  Willers; I M; “Mathematical software for the initial value problem”; Ph.D. Dissertation; University of Cambridge; 1972.