EPFL is located in the French-speaking part of Switzerland; the sister institution in the German-speaking part of Switzerland is the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich (ETH Zurich). Associated with several specialised research institutes, the two universities form the Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology Domain (ETH Domain), which is directly dependent on the Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research.
The École d'ingénieurs de l'Université de Lausanne, from which EPFL in its modern-day form originates, was located in the center of Lausanne. In 1974, five years after EPFL was separated from University of Lausanne and became a federal institute under its current name, the construction of a new campus at Dorigny in Écublens, a suburb south-west of Lausanne on the shores of Lake Geneva, began. The inauguration of the first EPFL buildings of the new campus took place in 1978.
In connection with research and teaching activities, EPFL operates a nuclear reactor CROCUS, a Tokamak Fusion reactor, a Blue Gene/Q Supercomputer and P3 bio-hazard facilities. Like every public university in Switzerland, EPFL is obliged to grant admission to every Swiss resident who took the maturité high-school certificate recognized by the Swiss Federation. As such, for Swiss students, EPFL is not selective in its undergraduate admission procedures.