The Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS) collaboration consists of 2,680 physicists, faculty members, students and engineers from 182 institutes in 42 countries and operates and analyzes high energy proton-proton collision data from the CMS experiment at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN, Geneva, Switzerland. CMS is one of the two large general purpose experiments at the LHC and was co-discoverer of the Higgs boson back in 2012. The Higgs result eventually lead the Nobel committee to award the 2013 Nobel prize in Physics to Higgs and Englert for their theoretical work in the late 1960s on the Higgs mechanism.
A few years ago the CMS collaboration began to host one collaboration meeting a year away from CERN. Mostly these meeting have been held in Europe but recently institutions outside of the EU have been selected to host these meetings. There is a bidding process between interested institutions in which they compete for the honor to host one of these meeting. Last year the CMS Collaboration Board selected Florida to host the meeting through a joint venture between FIU, FSU and UF. However, FIU lead the effort and did nearly all the work. The other institutions contributed mostly funding, a little over $10K. Funding was also obtained from private vendors such as Intel, Dell, DDN, CISCO, CDW and others. The full list is on the conference poster. FIU contributed a significant amount of funding, more than any other institution or vendor.
The conference took place at the Miami Downtown Marriot and was attended by 249 participants (40% from abroad), with meetings starting at 8:00 AM on Monday and ending at 5 PM on Friday. Each day was packed with plenary and parallel sessions. At times there were 6 simultaneous sessions, with each session accessible from the web via video conferencing so any and all of the 2,600+ collaborators could join. This was a particular challenge but the organizers pulled it off and received lots of praise for their efforts. By all accounts the meeting was a huge success. Participants have been commenting on how smoothly things ran and how well organized everything was.
The conference was very important because it was the last collaboration meeting before resumption of data taking when the accelerator comes back on line in a few months. The 27 km long particle beam has been off-line since the spring of 2013 for routine repairs as well as a significant upgrade that will provide collision capabilities with double the energy previously available. Past experience suggests that increases in collision energy usually lead to new discoveries in fundamental physics. Thus the possibility of even greater discoveries than the Higgs particle lies ahead!