--- Retirement reception for Shirley Jones Thursday, Apr. 2 from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. in the FCC lobby.

--- FESS is scheduled to close a section of Road B on Thursday, April 2 to unload a new generator fuel tank. See a map of the section that will be closed. The road leaving the FCC parking lot going right towards the Tevatron will remain open.

--- The Open Science Grid (OSG) All-Hands meeting took place last week from Monday, March 23 to Friday, March 27 at Northwestern University’s Evanston Campus. About 150 attendees came together to discuss many different facets of the OSG, learn more about projects which have benefitted or could benefit from it, to brainstorm with colleagues and to attend tutorials. See the agenda and talks in Indico.

--- STEM Expo April 22
This year’s STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) Career Expo, organized by the Fermilab Education Office and local educators, will take place at Fermilab on Wednesday, Apr. 22 from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 pm.  All high school students are welcome. You can read about the 2014 event here.

--- New Training Module: Scientific/Technical Publications
Did you know there is a new 20-minute online course to inform all those who do scientific or technical work at Fermilab or use Fermilab facilities about requirements and responsibilities regarding scientific and technical publications? You should!
Fermilab’s status as a government contractor means there are mandatory rules, and so a course has been added to the ITNAs of scientific/technical workers to ensure understanding and compliance.  Remember, “publication” can be broader than you think, including, for example, technical memos, conference reports and theses.  If you have any questions about the course, please contact Heath O’Connell, head of Fermilab Information Resources.

Congratulations to Rebecca and Tim Skirvin (SCD/Scientific Facilities, Experiment Computing Facilities/CMS Facilities), who welcomed their son, Robert G’Kar Skirvin on Tuesday, March 24.

New employees

Kevin Retzke (SCD/Scientific Distributed Computing Solutions) Timofey Zolkin (SCD)

March Anniversaries
(5, 10, 15 & 20+ years)

Irwin Gaines - 40 years

William Boroski - 34 years
Chuck Andrews - 26 years
Mike Diesburg - 25 years
Matt Arena - 23 years
Andy Rader - 15 years
Art Lee - 10 years
Parag Mhashilkar - 10 years
Eric Stern - 10 years

-- Bonnie King, from the Scientific Linux and Architecture Management group, took part in a Fermilab panel for the National Science Teachers Association conference tour (40 teachers) at Fermilab on Thursday, March 12.

-- Several physicists at the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) in Chicago are important collaborators on projects here at Fermilab, but the lab is not well-known to other departments at IIT. Adam Lyon, associate head for Systems for Scientific Applications, was invited to give a colloquium to IIT’s Applied Mathematics department to introduce the laboratory to them and start a dialog about opportunities for collaboration. Faculty there have expertise in statistics, simulations and modeling, and Lyon’s talk described several simulations that Fermilab employees and collaborators have written and do here. Discussions continue, and IIT will visit SCD in mid-April.

-- Ruth Pordes attended a meeting at Argonne National Laboratory (ANL) with Sandra Charles from Fermilab’s Equal Opportunity and Diversity Office and Greg Bock, deputy Chief Research Officer at Fermilab, to discuss opportunities for collaboration between Chicago State University, ANL and FNAL. The agenda covered information about current partnerships, followed by discussions on opportunities for further collaboration. The meeting was very well organized and participants came up with some good ideas to focus on in the future – some of which may be opportunities for Computing. We are in a very early stage of this engagement at FNAL and there is a follow-up meeting at Fermilab planned soon.

-- Now playing in the FCC lobby:

"Computing Facilities and Services," Oliver Gutsche, Fermilab 2015 Institutional Review, February 11, 2015.

"High Performance Computing Activities at Fermilab," James Amundson, Fermilab 2015 Institutional Review, February 11, 2015

"Physics and Detector Simulations," Gabriel Perdue, Fermilab 2015 Institutional Review, February 11, 2015.

"HSF and CMS," Elizabeth Sexton-Kennedy, HEP Software Foundation Workshop, January 20, 2015

Scheduling updates to Call 'n' Ride program

Pace has announced updates to its Call 'n' Ride program schedule. Read about the progam on the Fermilab Transportation website.

~Amy Pavnica

Tips of the month

Service Desk: After-hours outage notifications

This template (stored in FermiPoint) should be used in the event of a service outage that requires notification and occurs during non-business hours. Business hours are Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. During business hours, the regular Service Desk communication process should be used.


FermiPoint: When documents don't appear in library for all members

FermiPoint documents may not appear in a library for all members if mandatory fields are enabled. Until uploaded documents are checked in for the first time, they will not be visible to anyone other than the site member that first uploaded them if a library has a mandatory column enabled (without a default value set for that column).

Read more in this knowledge base article.

From the CIO: Will CMS win the World Series?
Rob Roser
Chief Information Officer Rob Roser

For baseball fans, this is an amazing time of year—not quite opening day. The anticipation is real; every fan thinks their team has a legitimate chance to make it to the Fall Classic and optimism runs rampant. To me, there is nothing better than to listen to a baseball game on the radio while enjoying a cold beer.

In particle physics, we are also about to start a new season—several of them, actually. After a two-year hiatus, the LHC is starting the process of turning on again. Over those two years, many repairs were made so that the accelerator can approach its full energy potential, a 60 percent increase from what has been achieved to date. Thanks to Einstein, we know that E=mc^2, namely that mass and energy are related, so as the LHC raises its energy, it gives scientists access to mass ranges never before explored. We don’t know what it will find.

The Standard Model has worked beautifully to predict what experiments have shown so far about the basic building blocks of matter, but physicists recognize that it is incomplete. Supersymmetry is an extension of the Standard Model that aims to fill some of the gaps. It predicts a partner particle for each particle in the Standard Model. These new particles would solve a major problem with the Standard Model—fixing the mass of the Higgs boson. If the theory is correct, supersymmetric particles should appear in collisions at the LHC. This next run will go a long way in teaching us whether supersymmetry is real or whether it’s just a beautiful mathematical formulation.

After two years of preparation and planning, the new season is about to begin. Our computing folks have been hard at work getting ready. Lothar Bauerdick designed and built the remarkable CMS computing team and the architecture is primarily his vision. Chris Jones and his team improved the scientific workflows and Burt Holzman and his team put a lot of new hardware is on the floor. Oli Gutsche led the effort to move any data, anytime, anywhere to execute the scientific analysis is a reality. That’s right. Data stored here at Fermilab will get shipped around the world in essentially real time to keep the computers busy. Recently, Lothar, Oli and Burt have all changed positions the team acquiring new roles and responsibilities.

It’s still a long way ‘til the Particle Physics “Fall Classic.” But CMS is making every effort in its final days of spring training to be ready. When October finally gets here, what will have been discovered at the LHC?


New SCD department springs into action
Lisa Giacchetti
Lisa Giacchetti, head of the Distributed Computing Services Operations department

This spring ushers in many welcome occurrences: the temperatures are getting warmer, the snow is receding, baby buffalo are expected and the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) will restart its physics program, ramping up to 13 TeV to explore ever deeper into the mysteries of the universe.

For Lisa Giacchetti, head of the Distributed Computing Services Operations (DCSO) department, and her team, this latter development will be a significant focus of their work for the next few months. Among other responsibilities, DCSO is responsible for the services that provide an interface to data storage, transfer and accessibility for the CMS experiment.

“Fermilab is the largest Tier-1 Center for CMS, and the LHC Physics Center here is a highly specialized and heavily used Tier-3,” says Giacchetti. “We are the place where people come to get their work done. We have to make sure our facility is up to the standards it needs to be for the next LHC phase.”

In addition, the department is adjusting to the November SCD reorganization to align with the laboratory’s goal of de-compartmentalizing skills and knowledge. This reorganization included merging the CMS-based department with the Grid and Cloud Services Operations group, broadening responsibilities to include the Fermilab experiments in the newly forged DCSO. This includes, for example, providing authentication/authorization services for all experiments as well as batch computing. Head of SCD Panagiotis Spentzouris highlighted these intentions in his February all-hands presentation, where he discussed “leverage[ing] expertise and tools from our successful CMS program to develop a common approach for the neutrino and muon programs, and make it available to all our users.”

Giacchetti, commenting on the success of the changes now in place, said “this utilizes the resources, expertise and knowledge within the division in a more efficient way. It takes the good aspects of our work on CMS and makes it a very highly available and useful resource that can be built across the other experimental facilities.”

So, as spring becomes summer, there is much to look forward to. The LHC will have restarted its physics program. The DCSO reorganization will be rooted and growing towards its goals. And there may be baby buffalo gamboling in the fields.

Rick Kautz
Service Management

Rick Kautz

I joined Fermilab 3 years ago as the Fermilab supplier manger responsible for governing our vendor relationships and software licensing. Since then, I have worked to transform our supplier management and software licensing processes to meet the lab’s mission.

We have come a long way. We put in place processes that provide consistency in how we address the needs of our customers and manage our vendors aligning customer needs with vendor offerings and managing contractual compliance, disputes and renewals. We have documented how we do business and how we measure our vendors to ensure they help us deliver the outcomes our customers need. Recent successes include the Microsoft and Adobe enterprise-level agreements.

For software licensing, we have updated our compliance reporting and developed a harvesting program to redeploy unused lab-owned licenses. Current products included in the harvesting program are: Microsoft, Adobe, Mathematica, MathWorks, FileMaker and Canvas.

In addition, I developed a supplier contract database in FermiPoint that records all supplier and contract details, together with the types of service and products provided by each supplier and all other information required to manage the contract and renewals.

All of this provides the lab with the products it needs while maintaining value and flexibility to be successful going forward.

SCD spotlight

Seth Graham
Scientific Facilities/Experiment Computing Facilities/Scientific Server Infrastructure

Seth Graham

I am a Linux system administrator who’s been around the lab since 2001. Early on, my job was working with D0's offline systems as they transitioned from Irix to Linux, but as time passed and reorganizations happened, it grew to include system support for CDF, NoVA, online and offline environments plus a long list of intensity frontier experiments.

Almost all of my effort over the years has been spent integrating (and sometimes developing) tools to make systems more reliable and easier to manage. Early on, we used a lot of shell scripts for this work. As the number of systems grew and we needed better solutions, CFEngine was implemented to experiment with the idea of configuration management. Many lessons were learned there and were eventually applied to the implementation of Puppet, which we launched several years ago and still use today.

Other tools that I've played a role in maintaining have been home-brewed web-based tools to document hardware faults in our systems, monitor experiment storage capacity and generate reports for batch system utilization. I administer a custom dynamic host configuration protocol (DHCP) server we use to launch Red Hat kickstarts, installation programs that can automatically service Linux machines; a Ganglia installation for monitoring our high-performance computing clusters and Grids; a remote console and power-control software package; and, most recently, an installation of Jenkins that a handful of experiments are using to compile software.

New stuff I'm working on now is investigating the use of Red Hat Satellite, an open-source platform-management system; taking part in the trend of implementing REST APIs to aid in system management, and exploring the idea of automating kernel updates.

When not at work I am either plotting hikes or camping trips with my wife, pretending I am capable of playing hockey or spending too much time playing video games.