Title: The CMS Experiment at the LHC: the First few Years

Abstract: The Large Hadron Collider LHC, the highest energy collider in the world, will start its operation at CERN by the end of this year. The present status of the construction and expected schedule of the machine, and the progress to completion of the CMS experiment will be presented. The vast amount of data we have available today from previous and current particle physics experiments, in addition to the cosmological observations point towards a rich discovery potential for the LHC. The main physics highlights, such as searches for new physics and precision measurements, as recently reported in the CMS Physics TDR will be discussed. In particular, "first days" physics topics and sensitivities to new physics at the start-up of the LHC will be examined.