--- Computing Techniques Seminar: The Amazon Web Services. Thursday, Apr. 30, 1 p.m., Wilson Hall Curia II. Speaker: Jamie Kinney, senior manager for AWS Scientific Computing. The talk will present some of the most popular services offered by Amazon Web Services.

--- Computing Bits will now be published bimonthly. There will be no May issue.

SCD's Kevin Hill has moved from the Scientific Computing Information Security group in the Scientific Computing Services quadrant to the Scientific Linux and Architecture Management Group in the Scientific Facilities quadrant.


Melissa Clegg - ASAIII
Alaukik Dhimar - Applic Dev & Sys Analyst III
Yuyi Guo - Applic Dev & Sys Analyst III
Christopher Jones - Comp Science Researcher III
Sandra Lee - Librarian II
Tim Niemiec - Network Analyst I
Marc Paterno - Comp Science Researcher II
Amitoj Singh - Computing Services Mgr II
Anthony Tiradani - Computing Serv Spec III
Margaret Votava - Applic Dev & Sys Mgr II
Michael Wang - Applications Physicist II
Ted Zmuda - Engineer III

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

Penelope Constanta - 30 years
Phil Demar - 30 years
Darryl Wohlt - 30 years
Tim Doody - 24 years
Daniel Elvira - 24 years
Krzysztof Genser - 24 years
Robert Atkinson - 23 years
Cheri McKenna - 23 years
Jason Ormes - 15 years
Steve Timm - 15 years

-- The annual STEM Career Expo took place in Wilson Hall on Apr. 22. Gerard Bernabeu Altayo, Lisa Giacchetti, Bonnie King, Trinity Scott (daughter of Rennie Scott), Arthur Lee and Marco Mambelli represented Computing and gave demonstrations of their work. Rob Roser and Marco Mambelli then took part in the Math/Tech panel session.
See images of the event.

-- Students from the College of DuPage’s Library Technical Assistant program came to visit the Fermilab Library on Apr. 7 and were shown around by the library employees, three of whom graduated from the same program.

-- Now playing in the FCC lobby:

A Software Ecosystem Vision, Jim Kowalkowski, HEP Software Foundation workshop, SLAC, Jan. 20

WireCAP:  a Novel Packet Capture Engine for Commodity NICs in High-speed networks, Wenji Wu and Phil Demar, ACM IMC, Vancouver, Nov. 5 - 7

Status Update on Scientific Linux, Connie Sieh, Pat Riehecky, Bonnie King, HEPiX Spring 2015, Oxford University, March 23

Production Analyst’s view of IF on OSG,  Bo Jayatilaka, OSG All-Hands Meeting, Northwestern University, March 23

Movement important to good health

It can’t be said enough. Regardless of your fitness level, if you have a desk job, you must move throughout the day in order to combat health issues (Annals of Internal Medicine).

Being sedentary negatively affects the circulatory system. This affects your health at the cellular level. So get up and move!

• Get up out of your chair and stretch every 30 minutes. Stretch while sitting in your chair, too!

• Stand up while talking on the phone, or use your cell phone and walk.

• Have a large cup of water handy, and drink from it throughout the day. As a result, you will be forced to take several walks!

• Now that the weather is nicer, take advantage of it at lunchtime and get outside.

• Of course, there is an app, which reminds you to move throughout the day: http://moveitmove.it/ (iOS).

~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: Granting permission to access only a library, list or page

Site Owners normally manage permissions for FermiPoint or web.fnal.gov sites at the site level only. However, under certain circumstances, they may want to grant permission for particular individuals (or groups) to access a library, list or page and not the entire site. Read this knowledge base article for the procedure to enable list-, library- or page-specific FermiPoint permissions.

From the CIO: The lab feels different
Rob Roser
Chief Information Officer Rob Roser

I know we are all busy, pushing hard to accomplish the miracles on an almost daily basis. But sometime in the next week, take a look around. Fermilab is a much different place than it was only a year ago. We have moved beyond talking about “the theory of doing work” to making it happen. The muon campus is progressing well. The g-2 ring is about to be cooled down and powered. The Mu2e experiment had its groundbreaking last week. NOvA is taking data. And the MicroBooNE detector is fully assembled and about to be cooled down. Fermilab is once again doing what we do best—building our future.

But that’s not all. We now have what we are calling a “short-baseline neutrino program” here at the lab. This is a set of 3 experiments that will examine the properties of neutrinos like never before. Furthermore, they will help us explore and understand the technologies needed for our flagship DUNE/LBNF lon- baseline experiment to be successful. For those without the acronym dictionary, DUNE/LBNF is a recast, fully international version of what was LBNE (long-baseline neutrino experiment). This experiment already has 800 collaborators from 23 countries. It is becoming clear to the world that if you want to do this type of physics, Fermilab is the place to be!

Panagiotis and his Scientific Computing Division are having to hustle these days. All of these experiments are using the scientific frameworks, DAQ systems, computing and analysis facilities built by his team. And while the adoption of SCD tools and technologies is impressive, SCD is already preparing for the next generation of computational hardware and architecting the code to use it efficiently and effectively.

While we have not yet secured funding for our flagship DUNE experiment, it’s hard not to feel good about where we are right now. We have made tremendous progress, and we are once again building our future. One only needs to look around to see the physical changes taking place.

I must say, it feels good to be building things rather than just spreadsheets and PowerPoint presentations again. A busy lab is a happy lab.


Off-the-shelf DAQ development
A concept website for the FNAL OTSDAQ system. Click for large image

While individual experiments may use very different technology to make very different measurements, there are certain features that most share, including, for example, the requirement for a data acquisition system (DAQ) to control the detector, read out information from the experiment, and store it for later analysis. Many experiments design their own DAQ; however, given that many of the component parts are the same or similar, this can be an inefficient use of time and intellectual effort.

SCD’s Real-Time Systems Engineering (RSE) department, which combines previously separate electrical and software engineers, has recently had a proposal accepted by Fermilab’s Laboratory Directed Research and Development (LDRD) program to try to address this inefficiency in a new and exciting way, taking advantage of familiarity with Web-based interfaces and commercial developments as a result of the “Internet of Things” movement. The RSE proposal will pursue the possibility of an “off-the-shelf DAQ” (OTSDAQ) system, funded by LDRD through FY17. “The merger of hardware and software engineers was an enabler for this kind of collaboration,” said Ryan Rivera, leader of the Detector Electronics group. “We are in a unique position to put this all together.”

The vision is to have an open-source website, which anyone who needs a DAQ can visit, input their needs and be presented with a list of commercial boards and other items they need, where to get them, and how much they will cost. There will also be a zip file for download with all the supporting firmware and artdaq software.

A concept website for the FNAL OTSDAQ system
Shown in the figure is an example OTSDAQ network topology for an experiment. All hardware shown is commercial except for the timing system and front-end interface electronics. Using standard network technology gives flexibility - almost anything with a processor and a network port can become part of your DAQ. Click for large image
Moreover, it would be scalable, appropriate for large experiment collaborations or for small systems being brought online by individuals. “Users often come to the test beam for a couple of weeks,” said Rivera, “and may not have the resources to make their own DAQ.” A website where all they had to do was select DAQ configuration options would save precious test-beam time. A further advantage is that the Web-based interface means users could control the system from any device with a Web browser, even their phones. These are the longer-term goals, but for the timeframe of the LDRD, the group will show a proof of concept: a hardware menu of three commercial boards and a mature DAQ configuration interface. “We will make it overly user friendly such that it is generic,” said Rivera.

“Generic,” of course, leaves some options out. OTSDAQ will run only on Ethernet hardware and will not be customizable at the Web interface beyond the options present. However, for the many, the advantages are clear, and for the few, with funding, the extra customization options remain.

~Clementine Jones

CCD Spotlight
Keenan Newton

Keenan Newton
Information Resources/Content Management

I was brought to Fermilab to manage and drive the SharePoint Program. Over time, my role has expanded to include other content management systems such as DocDB, Indico and soon, WordPress, at the lab. I manage a team of five individuals who are dedicated to enabling, enhancing and providing assistance with these various content management systems. I also provide subject-matter expertise as well as set priorities and expectations to meet our colleagues’ (everyone at Fermilab) needs based on the lab priorities and feedback from users of our services.

My current goals are to enable fluid content experiences in which you can search in one place and discover everything about a specific topic without having to search in multiple systems and in which you can view, interact and edit data on multiple devices. Most importantly, my goal is to provide the content management needs that the lab requires to facilitate its day-to-day and scientific needs.

SCD Spotlight
Neha Sharma

Neha Sharma
Scientific Computing Services/Scientific Distributed Computing Solutions/User Support for Distributed Computing

I joined the lab in 2004 as member of the Experimental Astrophysics Group, where I first learned about various technologies used in the ”Grid world.” I have worked on Grid systems in various capacities since then.

As part of the FermiGrid Services (FGS) group, I helped provide a centrally supported Grid computing infrastructure for use by Fermilab-hosted experiments and Virtual Organizations (VOs). I especially enjoyed leading design and development effort of the Site AuthoriZation service (SAZ) and its administrator interface, which were used to authorize the use of compute/storage resources at the lab. Over the years, I have been part of the OSG storage, software, testing and documentation teams. I developed some useful tools, including a wrapper to simplify dCache installation and setup; provided support to users, site and storage admins; performed pre-release testing of various software components; and wrote and reviewed several installation, testing and usage documents.

More recently, I learned Puppet and used that knowledge to set up the high-availability Jobsub/GlideinWMS system, which is used by FIFE experimenters to submit jobs to local Fermilab, cloud and OSG sites.

I am also leading the testing and transition phases of the OSG certificate authority (CA) transition. My job is to ensure all OSG software, OSG services and VO workflows get tested with the new CILogon-OSG-CA-issued certificates; identify and address any issues; and gradually switch the VOs to use the new certificates.

Finally, I am helping organize the upcoming FIFE workshop.

When not at work I am quite busy with kids and house projects. The latest are teaching my 6 year-old to ride a bike without training wheels, helping my 3.5 year-old to dress by himself and working on landscaping and my backyard patio design, which will finally get implemented next month (Yipee!). My “me time” involves kickboxing, resistance training and organizing monthly activity for the Fermi Fun Club.