by Abdel Nasser Tawfik. Published: 13 October 2012

The Egyptian Center for Theoretical Physics (ECTP)
A research center of excellence dedicated to theoretical and computational research

The history of Egypt's participation in the ALICE experiment dates back to spring 2009, when seeds for this cooperation are exposed. At that time, I was proceeding with the establishment of the Egyptian Center for Theoretical Physics (ECTP) as a new research center dedicated to theoretical and computational research in physics and applied mathematics. The ECTP is an ambitious quasi-independent scientific institution, while at the same time bundling research activities mainly at the MTI University and other Egyptian Universities and research centers. The ECTP has the vision to create constructive scientific atmosphere in Egypt, cultivate young researchers and establish a coherent scientific community for mutual, active and effective collaboration with the rest of the world. Practicing of such key strategy top priority led to various emails exchanges and intensive discussions with the ALICE collaboration.

Certain infrastructure and facilities had to be founded in Cairo. Having approval from high political levels was on top of the check list. Last but not least, we had to establish two research teams, secure funds, offer exchange and training. We started with the construction of a grid node in Cairo. With the constructive assistance from ALICE-IT, the node was satisfactorily functioning. Its inclusion in the "production” was conditioned by broadening the bandwidth available to the ECTP. The worthwhile investment in this huge infrastructure has been made by the country. Egypt has newly become the first African country to be linked to the high-speed Global Ring Network for Advanced Applications Development (GLORIAD) offering research institutions speeds of up to 10 gigabits per second. In the near future, the grid node at ECTP will be connected to the GLORDIAD and throughout to CERN.

2 October 2012 - Egyptian Academy of Scientific Research and Technology President M. Al Sherbiny signing a protocol agreement with CERN Director-General R. Heuer, witnessed by Ambassador to the UN W. Bassim and Paolo Guibellino spokesperson of ALICE. This signature is followed by the signature of an MoU with ALICE collaboration

During 2009-2010, different Egyptian scientists and engineers visited CERN. Early in 2012, the Academy of Scientific Research and Technology, the legal and politically empowered Egyptian partner of CERN, agreed on an "Associate Membership". One assistant has been awarded with a fellowship to attend the CERN summer students’ programme 2012. Another three assistants are supported by fellowships from the ICSC-World Laboratory. In April 2012, ALICE approved the application which was put up for voting by the Collaboration Board, which adopted it in June 2012. A Memorandum of Understanding was signed on October 2nd at CERN. Accordingly, the Egyptian research team is expected to contribute to the activities of the ALICE collaboration, in particular to the computing resources, by purchasing, installing and operating a large Grid node for the ALICE experiment, to the offline data analysis, and to the participation in ALICE meetings and other working group activities. The Egyptian team consists of 7 staff members and 8 assistants coming from 7 universities.