--- View Feb, 20 Computing All-Hands Meeting Presentations

--- 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.  If you would like to volunteer for Computing, please email Clemmie Jones by Monday, March 9.  This is a very popular event, with over 800 local high school students and parents in attendance last year.  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.

--- Open Source & Technology Enthusiasts meeting Tuesday, March12, noon, Quarium (WH8SW). Meeting announcements and notes are sent to the linux-users listserv mailing list, so subscribe if you are interested.

--- Cookie Caucus Friday, Feb. 27, 3:00 to 4:00 p.m., WH 8E, hosted by the High Performance Parallel Comp Facilities, Scientific Software Infrastructure and Scientific Data Processing Solutions groups.

Happy Anniversary!
(5, 10, 15 & 20+ years)

Ruth Pordes - 42 years
Ken Treptow - 37 years
Leo Michelotti - 35 years
Mark Bowden - 32 years
Margherita Vittone-Wiersma - 30 years
Lynn Garren - 25 years
Stephan Lammel - 21 years
Connie Sieh - 21 years

-- Arthur Kreymer, from SCD’s Data Management and Applications group, participated in this year’s Family Open House on Feb. 8.

-- Hans Wenzel, from SCD’s Physics and Detector Simulation group, and Arthur Kreymer took part in Ask-a-Scientist events in 2015. 

-- Adam Walters, head of CCD’s Facility Operations department, and Ken Schumacher, from SCD’s High Performance Parallel Computing Facilities group, gave a tour of the Grid Computing Center to 15 visitors from the Computer Systems Institute in Elgin on Jan. 29.  [See photo]

-- Now playing in the FCC lobby:

Computing Resources at Fermilab, Rob Roser, Fermilab Institutional Review, Fermilab, Feb. 11, 2015

Scientific Computing, Panagiotis Spentzouris, Fermilab Institutional Review, Fermilab, Feb. 10, 2015

Fermilab and the HSF, Philippe Canal, HEP Software Foundation Workshop, SLAC, Jan. 20, 2015

XRootD for Neutrino and Precision Muon Experiments, Robert Illingworth, XRootD Workshop, UCSD, Jan. 29, 2015

A New Pain in the neck

Text from Your Neck: Ouch!

Have you heard about this one?  If not, I bet that you’ve experienced it!  “Text Neck” is a new term describing the effects of poor posture while using mobile devices such as smartphones, tablets or laptops.

On average, the human head weighs about 10 pounds.  If the head is bent downward just 15 degrees to view a device, an additional 27 pounds of pressure is put on the neck.  Bent even further to a 60 degree angle, an additional 60 pounds of pressure is put on the neck!  Repeating this posture several times a day puts a lot of strain on the spine and muscles of the neck, leading to pain and possible spinal damage.

To remedy the pain and possible damage, remember that the eyes will always win.  In other words, if your eyes are looking down, your posture will eventually follow them.  So bring the devices up to eye level and off of your lap.  If possible, use the armrests of your chair to prop up your arms and keep them snug to your body. 

If you are using a laptop, consider a docking station with an external monitor and keyboard.  Laptops just aren’t designed for full-time use.

Most importantly, change your posture throughout the day, which includes standing or walking whenever possible.

~Amy Pavnica

Tips of the month

Service Desk: Creating an enhancement from a request

To create an enhancement (ENH) from a request (RITM):

Rght-click in the green header area at the top of the ticket.

From the menu that appears, choose “Create Enhancement”.

After changing the ticket to an enhancement, the original ticket will remain open until you close it.


FermiPoint: Tag documents with terms

When you are creating a document library, you can add a managed metadata column. This will allow your users to tag documents using a set of controlled terms. When you create a new column, set it to the “Managed Metadata” type and choose one of the sets of “Fermilab Terms” in “Term Set Settings.” You can find more information about how to do this HERE. Once the column is set up, users can easily tag documents with terms, as described HERE. Ultimately, users will be able to filter search results based on these terms.

From the CIO: Growing a smaller garden
Rob Roser
Chief Information Officer Rob Roser

Last week, we had our first all-hands meeting that included our special guest, Nigel Lockyer. While it was his first visit, it certainly won’t be his last. It was important to Nigel to come and address the Computing team, share his priorities for the laboratory and get a chance to interact with us. The lab under Nigel’s leadership is taking a very different approach (strategy) than we have had in the past. Rather than plant a thousand flowers and see which ones bloom, Nigel has picked a few flowers and will fertilize them like crazy to make sure they grow properly. In simplistic terms, his priority list is where he wants our limited “Miracle Grow” to be applied.

Nigel and I spoke over the weekend, and I shared with him both Panagiotis and Jon’s talks. He was surprised how big our group was when he showed up to talk. And after looking at the two presentations, he was impressed with how much we as an organization are able to accomplish. He believes that computing at the laboratory is under control, and thus not where he needs to focus his limited attention. This mindset is not a comment about priorities. That said, he also believes that Computing is one place where the lab has real core competencies, and he has encouraged us, where appropriate, to leverage that knowledge to help the broader community and bring attention to both Fermilab and HEP. We need to pick a few opportunities and start to push in this direction.

I am hopeful that Nigel can present his vision of what Fermilab should look like in 2025—a decade from now—in our next all-hands meeting. His vision is quite compelling, and he has a plan for getting there. There is every reason to believe Fermilab will be the neutrino capital of the world when it comes to accelerator-based neutrinos. And of course, Computing will be a big part of that. 

It’s going to be fun helping to grow a smaller, but healthier, garden!


Running IT like a business
Tammy Whited
Fermilab Service Manager Tammy Whited

I joined Fermilab over 4 years ago.  Since then, I have witnessed a huge transformation from decentralized IT to a centralized service-oriented organization that runs IT like a business.  We have come a long way since starting this journey of service management.  We are becoming more of a strategic partner with the other divisions, sections, projects and experiments.  We achieved this success by putting in place processes that provide consistency in how IT addresses the needs of the customers.  Service management has played a role in this along with the other IT governance processes.  Most importantly, the services we provide are managed well and add value to our customers.  We have documented how we do business and how we measure ourselves to ensure we are delivering the outcomes our customers need in order to execute their plans.  In the Feb. 20 all-hands meeting, we described how each one of us contributes to making this possible. We also demonstrated how what we do provides value and aligns with the priorities of the laboratory.
In the next several months, we will continually improve our processes and services; training will be on-going; Scientific Computing Division services will adopt at least the basics of Service Level Agreements, Incident, Problem and Change Management. Owners of ISO20000-certified services and processes will endeavor towards formal recertification; we will continue to add functionality to ServiceNow to help end-users, customers, service owners, service providers, process owners and managers to best make use of the processes in place; we will focus on improving overall user experience and knowledge (providing the right information to the right people at the right time) and provide a way to show alignment between our IT projects and the lab priorities in the ServiceNow project module.

To learn more about how Service Management works and the policies that support it, the Service Management System Plan provides this information.  If you want to learn more details about each process you can review the Service Management sites on FermiPoint. 

~ Tammy

CCD spotlight

Chris Sheppard
Service Operations Support/Desktop Engineering

Chris Sheppard

I am a Mac desktop engineer who joined Fermilab in June of 2014. My team and I are responsible for managing all aspects of the Mac environment here at Fermilab. My day-to-day tasks involve assisting with tier-3 desktop support requests and incidents that require research or broad Mac knowledge, administering and working in the JAMF Casper Suite, which we use to deploy software to centrally managed Mac computers, conducting testing and project participation.  

Recently, I built a new Casper server and migrated all Mac computers from the existing Casper server. Being new to Fermilab, this was a fun project, as I was able to work with various groups and people within CCD, an opportunity which enabled me to explore the Fermilab culture and IT infrastructure. The new server enables us to be proactive with system policies and updates because it supports and has updated functionality to support OSX 10.10 and also allows us to manage Accelerator Division Macs on the same server.

Currently, I am involved in managing and implementing the Office 365 conversion and Adobe Creative Cloud upgrade. I was able to do these conversions and upgrades through the new Casper server. When I’m not working in Casper or assisting with support tickets, I’m looking for ways to advance the lab forward and ways to help automate tasks and processes. I like research and development and building systems and processes that have the capability to help us and our end users.  

My future here at Fermilab certainly looks to be action-packed with many opportunities to work with our amazing team to improve current technology and utilize new technologies. 

Outside of work, I live a pretty busy life with my wife, two children and a dog.  I’m an avid Bulls and Blackhawks fan, love the outdoors, camping, reading, cooking and can even be found building and playing retro gaming systems on my Raspberry Pi.  

SCD spotlight

Ron Rechenmacher
Systems for Scientific Applications/Real-time Systems Engineering/Real-time Software Infrastructure

Ron Rechenmacher

I started working as a hardware engineer in the Computing Division in 1989.  My first responsibility was to perform hardware engineering for the Advanced Computer Program VME bus system. Since then, I’ve been involved in many interesting projects supporting the lab’s scientific program.

One of my areas of expertise is bringing hardware and software together into unified systems. For example, for the fixed-target program, using a digital logic analyzer traditionally used to diagnose low-level hardware issues as well as a microprocessor adapter I recommended buying, I developed tools that enabled me to successfully diagnose high-level system issues with both hardware and software.

Over the years, I’ve worked on several data acquisition systems (DAQ) for projects and experiments like the Sloan Digital Sky Survey and, more recently, NOvA. For the NOvA DAQ, I wrote the event-building application and worked closely with hardware and software engineers to develop the low-level software interface to the readout electronics.  For Mu2e, I'm writing the device driver to communicate with the commercial PCIe cards that connect to the machines that will be used for readout in their DAQ.

I'm also part of the team that is developing the artdaq data acquisition framework.  This framework provides basic functionality needed by all Fermilab experiments’ DAQ systems, and it incorporates the art event-processing framework for software filtering of events.  The ability to run similar reconstruction and event-selection software in both online and offline environments is a really attractive feature for experiments that choose to use both art and artdaq.  Connected with this, we are investigating the possibility of providing reusable firmware for commercial electronics modules that can perform DAQ or Slow Controls functions, which control and monitor characteristics of the detector and electronics outside of the primary data stream. 

Finally, I'm participating in the wireCAP 40-gigabit network packet analysis project creating low-level software to enable testing.