--- The 2017 Budget and Planning Overview presentation is now posted on DocDB (KCA certificate required). Note: Dates in the presentation are for lab planning. Your division head will provide relevant dates for budgeting within Computing.

--- SCD's Steve Kent will be the colloquium speaker on Wednesday, May 11 at 4 p.m. in One West. His presentation is titled "A Case Study In Public Data Release: Flight Path of Malaysia Airlines MH370." Read the abstract here.

--- SCD's Michael Wang, Chris Green, Gustavo Cancelo and Ted Zmuda had their work on the Micron Automata Processor featured on Micron's automata research page and on the University of Virginia's Center for Automata Processing web page.

"Although the Micron Automata Processor (AP) was originally designed for text-based searches, I immediately realized its potential in addressing other classes of pattern recognition problems in HEP experiments. We explore the suitability of AP in particle track finding applications in HEP experiments. We have successfully demonstrated a proof-of-concept and are now looking into its use in signal processing applications in data acquisition systems in HEP experiments." - Michael Wang

--- The fourth edition of FIFE Notes, a bimonthly newsletter for distributed computing at Fermilab, and the first edition on the new WordPress site is available here with links for offline reading in a variety of formats.

Articles include: Best in Class, 2016 OSG all-hands meeting, HEP Cloud, DCAFI moving forward and AFS transition.

--- CCD's Keith Coiley and Lisa Carrigan from FESS initiated the effort to install wall partitions on WH8E and replace the storage cabinets that were along the front of some of the office areas. The area looks much better and the new partitions will help reduce the noise level from the surrounding offices.

New Employees

Leonidas Aliaga-Soplin
(SCD/Systems for Scientific Applications)



Shreyas Bhat
(SCD/Scientific Computing Services/Scientific Distributed Computing Solutions/User Support for Distributed Computing)


Datta Dave
(CCD/Information Systems/Enterprise Applications/Finance Applications)


April anniversaries
(5, 10, 15 & 20+ years)

Penelope Constanta- 21 years
Philip Demar- 31 years
Darryl Wohlt- 31 years
Timothy Doody- 25 years
Daniel Elvira- 25 years
Krzysztof Genser- 25 years
Robert Atkinson- 24 years
Cheri McKenna- 24 years
Michael Wang- 15 years
Sripada Joshi- 10 years
Carla Lloyd- 10 years

-- SCD's Jeny Teheran presented to the parents of the students who participated in the Tech Savvy 2016 conference held at Oakton Community College on Saturday, April 16. You can read more about the conference in this Daily Herald article.

-- Fermilab's annual STEM expo was held on Wednesday, April 20. Penelope Constanta, Marco Mambelli, Marcia Teckenbrock and Tammy Whited volunteered as the Computing representatives at the event. Cindy Arnold took photographs at the event.

Marco Mambelli speaks with a high school student at the STEM expo. Photo courtesy of Cindy Arnold.

-- Now playing in the FCC lobby:

"Driving IT Value- Working on the Right Priorities," Tammy Whited, Pink16, Las Vegas, Nevada, Feb. 15.

"Bringing Federated Identity to Grid Computing," Dave Dykstra, CISRC 16, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, April 6.

"Not just text: using Micron's Automata Processor in particle physics research," Chris Green, SC15, Austin, Texas, Nov. 18.

Stressed out? Learn stress prevention and management techniques

Photo courtsey of the International Labor Organization

The International Labor Organization released a report on workplace stress to commemorate World Day for Safety and Health at Work, which was April 28. The report lists ways for preventing and managing hazards and risks, identifies global trends and addresses the effects of workplace stress.




From the CIO: Full speed ahead!
Rob Roser
Chief Information Officer Rob Roser

Nigel’s April 26 all-hands presentation signified a shift in his thought process and in the maturity of his vision for Fermilab. Did you catch it? For the first time, the lab’s proposed flagship program, LBNF/DUNE, was presented not as wishful thinking, but like any of the many projects currently in play here at the lab. He covered the remarkable progress being made by the experiment and facility, the importance and attention this project has on capital, such that both the Senate and House each bumped up the amount from the President’s request, and highlighted its international nature. Nigel is well aware that this project is trying to navigate through so many “firsts” with respect to the DOE that there will be bumps in the road. But he was never clearer than yesterday that we are on that road now and driving full speed ahead.

Nigel has previously talked about how “everything must align” and “everything must shine.” In other words, the lab must focus on its main lines of business. We can’t be distracted by efforts that don’t contribute to one of his main initiatives, and we must communicate with DOE, our users and ourselves a singular message that we are “all in” to make the lab successful. (Everything must align.) In addition, given that what we are trying to do is such a big lift and is so unprecedented within the DOE, we can’t provide excuses or show we can’t be trusted with this nearly $2B project by poor execution in any of our other projects―or operations, or any other segment of the lab. (Everything must shine.) 

Now, he’s interestingly added to the mantra that “it’s a privilege to work here.” While he credited Mel Shochet and CDF data analysis as the genesis of this idea, I think it goes much deeper. Nigel spends much of his time in D.C. and abroad, promoting his scientific vision for both the lab and high-energy physics. People are fascinated by what we are trying to do. This is a reminder to us all that Fermilab is an extraordinary  place, and being able to contribute to this remarkable quest to better understand the Universe we live in is special. We should not lose sight of that as we deal with our day-to-day struggles to stay aligned and shiny!  ;)

Nigel also unveiled our Computing Strategy Document―a forty-some-page vision for the evolution of Computing over the next five years. As described in my last all-hands meeting, we wanted to both give senior leadership of the lab insight into where we are heading as an enterprise and to inform ourselves of where we want to go. It’s important for the latter so that can make decisions within an informed context of this vision. I am excited it’s ready and invite each of you to read it.

From our director, we know the lab has turned the corner and is moving toward its future, and we in Computing have a five-year strategy document that provides the computational excellence needed to properly support Nigel’s vision for our future.


Hot off the press! Read all about it!

The cover of Tunnel Visions
Photo courtesy of the University of Chicago Press website
Adrienne Kolb, author and recently retired Fermilab archivist
Photo courtesy of Reidar Hahn

Head to the library and check out Tunnel Visions: The Rise and Fall of the Superconducting Super Collider, a new book on the aborted SSC project co-authored by retired Fermilab archivist Adrienne Kolb.




Just outside Waxahachie, Texas stand the remains of what was the biggest basic-science project ever attempted at the time: the Superconducting Super Collider. Started in 1983, the SSC was intended to be the largest accelerator ever made with record-breaking energy production. It would allow for significant discoveries, thus ensuring the placement of the United States at the forefront of the high-energy physics community. Due to a host of issues, the SSC project, only 20 percent complete, was terminated by Congress in 1993 after $2 billion had been spent. Today, 14 miles of tunnels and a network of abandoned buildings are all that remain of what was once a symbol of cutting-edge science and technology.

What went wrong? How was U.S. scientific research affected? What can we learn? Two former Fermilab employees, Lillian Hoddeson and Adrienne Kolb, wanted answers to these questions. After three decades of research, including two decades with fellow author Michael Riordan, their work culminated in the book Tunnel Visions: The Rise and Fall of the Superconducting Super Collider, which can be found in print and PDF format through the Fermilab Library and will soon be available for purchase in the Lederman Science Education Center.

Tunnel Visions
, unlike most other historical accounts of the DOE labs, isn’t a happy story, but it does contain valuable lessons.

“The history of how the SSC was conceived and designed is exciting and inspiring,” Kolb said, “but it turned into a very sad story as its construction was managed. By learning the history, we can recognize the pitfalls and traps that could endanger the success of future projects. We never want what happened at SSC to happen again.”

In 1983, Kolb and her husband, Rocky, a theoretical astrophysicist, came to Fermilab from Los Alamos. While living in the Fermilab Village, Kolb coincidentally ran into Hoddeson―then the Fermilab historian―whom she had briefly met at Los Alamos. Soon after reconnecting, Kolb began working in the Fermilab Archives. She spent the first few years immersing herself in Fermilab history, having limited prior knowledge of Fermilab, and realized its beginnings mirrored those of the SSC.

Kolb began to consider a book about the SSC in 1985. Like an avid collector, she always had her eye out for information, and her position in the archives gave her access to many useful resources.

She gathered information while researching for Fermilab: Physics, the Frontier and Megascience, Kolb’s prior book with Hoddeson; gathering sources and references for other work by Hoddeson; and conducting many interviews. The three authors conducted more than 100 interviews in total. Everywhere Kolb went, people wanted to talk about the SSC. Even attending conferences with her husband provided opportunities to interview people. The SSC was in the spotlight at the time and seemed to capture everyone’s interest and imagination.

While the physical remains of the SSC laboratory may be transformed or forgotten under the Texas soil, the history of the project lives on as a lesson and as a reminder in the thorough historical account and analyses offered in Tunnel Visions. And it is still particularly interesting to those associated with Fermilab because of the lab’s involvement in the project.

CCD Spotlight

Matt Arena
Information Systems/Enterprise Applications/Business Applications

I began my career at Fermilab in March of 1992 when I was hired by ESH&Q to develop and support the ESHTRK application. I transferred into Computing in 2005, and brought my love for database software technologies and the ESH&Q applications to Computing.

My tenure in Computing expanded my knowledge and application of relational database and object-oriented software technologies. I have been a member on such projects as MISCOMP, FermiWorks, FermiDash and the Clover/Hub. As a participant in the Joint Accelerator Web Conference in 2001, I developed the Scientific Program Management System (SPMS), an enhanced software conference tool. I am currently excited about the software technology of the FermiDash project. My vision project for the Laboratory is to implement a viable, robust data warehouse application.

Twenty-four years later, I continue to develop and support software. The ESHTRK application is now a small part of the ESH&Q repertoire. Applications like TRAIN, iTrack and ITNA have joined it and become major parts in the software foundation of the ESH&Q program. The SPMS conference software is being used worldwide to track abstracts, registrants and conference participants. I continue to work on delivering the software tools that are needed to readily respond to the business challenge of doing science the Fermilab way.

OCIO Spotlight

Brian Mckittrick
Service Management/Process Managers

I started at the lab in 2010 as the incident manager. Currently, my primary responsibility is as service level manager. Service level management benefits both our customers and providers of IT services by setting expectations about our services and defining clear and measurable objectives and targets for service performance. In addition, I perform the role of service design coordinator. In this role, I assist service owners to navigate the different aspects of service management to ensure that processes surrounding their service are understood, especially focusing on pre service-go-live activities. I also participate in other activities and projects related to service reporting, ISO20000 certification and ServiceNow. I enjoy being able to wear many different hats and contributing in any way that I can.

Outside of work, my wife tries really hard to keep the “three boys” from getting into too much trouble! Our boys, Drew (age 8) and Ben (age 5), are pretty reliable when it comes to making good choices. Me? Not so much. After family, my biggest passion is music. I have played bass guitar for multiple decades (yikes!), and I continue to play in bands and perform throughout the area. 

Photo of the month: Mary K. Gaillard colloquium

On April 13, Mary K. Gaillard, a theoretical physicist, professor at the University of California, Berkeley and senior scientist at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, presented at a Fermilab colloquium about her experiences as a woman in physics and about the physics developments she witnessed and participated in. Afterwards, she held a book signing of her autobiography, A Singularly Unfeminine Profession: One Woman’s Journey in Physics, in the Library.

Photo courtesy of Cindy Arnold