--- Fermilab and Argonne will be co-hosting the 2017 National Laboratory IT (NLIT) conference from April 30 to May 3, 2017 at Loews O’Hare in Rosemont, IL. Volunteers are needed for the conference. View volunteer roles here. If you are interested in volunteering, please send an email to nlit2017@fnal.gov.

--- Computing still has many SPOT awards available to give out. You can access the SPOT award nomination form here.

--- Valerie Higgins from CCD presented at this month's all-hands meeting about Fermilab's 50th anniversary celebrations. Great job, Valerie!








--- The Linux quarterly meeting will be held on Feb. 22 from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. in Curia II. This meeting will include SL/SLF news and updates, guest speakers, and refreshments.

--- LArSoft Notes January newsletter is now available. This edition is titled "Expectations for contributing code to LArSoft."

--- The Education Office is hosting its 10th STEM Career Expo at Fermilab on April 19, 2017 from  5:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m., and they need your help. We expect to have 600-800 high school students attend with their parents to talk informally with career representatives and hear panel presentations clustered around specific career areas.

To sign up to volunteer at this event, email Hannah Ward at hward@fnal.gov, then register at: https://fermi-fmp2.fnal.gov/fmi/webd/#STEM_EVENTS
Organization Login ID: st3morg0047

New employees

Sajith Sasidharan (CCD/Network and Communications Services/Network Research)


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

Mike Behnke- 33 years
Richard Thompson- 33 years
Liz Sexton-Kennedy- 29 years
Margaret Votava- 29 years
Terrance Jones- 28 years
Ron Rechenmacher- 28 years
Paul Russo- 26 years
Chih-Hao Huang- 25 years
Ken Schumacher- 20 years
Joseph Syu- 20 years
Amitoj Singh- 15 years
Bonnie King- 5 years


Connie Sieh will be retiring on Feb. 24 after 23 years at Fermilab. Attend the upcoming Linux quarterly meeting on Feb. 22 to learn about Connie's contributions to Fermilab Scientific Linux over the years and celebrate her retirement.

Photo courtesy of LLNL

An LLNL employee was using his personally-owned laptop in the airport before his flight. He clicked through the two steps that gave the computer the shutdown command. Upon seeing the blank screen, he immediately closed the laptop, placed it inside his computer bag, and closed the bag.

When placing the computer bag under the seat in front of him on the plane, he noticed that the zipper pulls for the computer bag laptop compartment were warmer than room temperature. He suspected that there was a problem with the lithium-ion laptop battery.

He discovered that his computer had reached a temperature approaching too-hot-to-touch. There was no smoke, scent or sound, so he removed the laptop from the computer bag, immediately removed the battery from the computer, and placed the battery on the floor. While he prepared to pour water on the battery if necessary, he informed his row-mates of the situation and let them know that they should be prepared to leave their seats if he told them that the battery condition worsened. 

The battery and the laptop soon cooled as hoped and were returned to the computer bag after reaching a comfortable temperature. Later use of the laptop indicated that the battery had sustained some damage - its post-event charge lasted approximately 15 minutes, down fromits pre-event charge of 90 minutes. Closing the laptop apparently interrupted the shutdown process, and the laptop continued to run and emit heat after it was placed inside the computer bag. The close fit of the computer bag compartment, the cushioning that protects the laptop from physical damage, and the closed compartment combined to contain the heat given off by the laptop. Fortunately, the situation was discovered before the battery experienced a thermal runaway which can result in a fire or explosion.

Recommended Actions: 

Verify that the shutdown process has been completed and the laptop is at a safe temperature for storage before placing it into any computer bag or other container. Verify that:
-- The screen is blank.
-- The power switch is not illuminated.
-- The backlit/illuminated keyboard (if so equipped) is not illuminated.
-- Air is not blowing out of the laptop.
-- The laptop is not making any sounds (e.g., exhaust fan or spinning hard drive).
-- The laptop and battery feel cool enough to be stored (temperature can be above room temperature, but it should not be hot to the touch and the temperature should not be increasing). 

From the CIO: My aspirations for 2017
Rob Roser
Chief Information Officer Rob Roser

Hi Folks,

This being my first column for 2017, I thought I would share some of my goals and aspirations for the coming year. Let me start with the bigger picture.  

As you know, the US particle physics community would like Fermilab to be the “Neutrino Capital of the World.” To get there, Fermilab, along with the world community, is building LBNF/DUNE, an enormous neutrino detector of unprecedented scale one mile underground in Lead, South Dakota as well as an accelerator upgrade called PIPII to feed it. In 2017, I would like to see at least one foreign country commit significant funding to the DUNE experiment. Thus far, only CERN has made a substantial commitment, and while there are a number of countries saying they will contribute, none have as of yet. The reason this is so significant, in my mind, is more than just symbolic. Getting the first to commit funding in writing is always the hardest. Once the international community sees its peers lining up and contributing, then I suspect countries two through “N” will follow suit not wanting to be left out or left behind. This support will demonstrate to Congress the importance of this scientific endeavor and that HEP is delivering on its promise that an international enterprise such as this comes with international financial support.

For  Computing, I have a number of goals, more than I can list here. But in short, I want us to continue down the path outlined in our strategy document that we assembled as a group about a year ago. This means I want to continue to improve our cybersecurity posture while still providing open access for our scientific community; complete some of the projects we have embarked on like the budget and planning system and an upgrade of the payroll system; take HEPCloud to the next level of sophistication; and finally, continue to improve usability and provide increasing options for mobility.

Nigel has challenged Computing above and beyond what I have begun to outline. Recognizing that we have the skills and capabilities to have a much broader impact within the Office of Science as well as in industry, he would like computing to be a growth area for the laboratory. To that end, we are focusing on two areas, quantum computing and  “smart cities.” Quantum computers employ quantum mechanical phenomena to solve certain classes of problems at unprecedented speeds. Smart cities would take advantage of our expertise in both instrumentation and in cloud computing. Not only are we applying for various funding opportunities, but also looking for partnerships with IBM, ASCR, the State of Illinois and the City of Batavia, to name a few. While pursuing new endeavors takes time, I am confident we will gain momentum and make inroads on both in 2017.

~ Rob

Eric Kabbe
(Network and Communication Services/Telecommunications)

I came to Fermilab 11 months ago after working at AT&T.

Telecommunications services  are vital in order to keep things running smoothly. You never know how much you need your phone line until it isn’t working! We do everything in our power to keep every line working, and when there is a service outage, we try to restore service as soon as possible.

Working at Fermilab is exciting and presents many unique challenges I haven’t faced before; for instance, dealing with telephone cables buried 150 feet below ground or encountering wildlife while maintaining the telecommunications infrastructure. Every pedestal that I have worked on has had ants, mosquitos, mice, snakes and three to four wasp nests. My favorite was a four-foot corn snake that wouldn’t let me do my job.

But it’s the people here who really make a difference. Whether it’s fixing a dead phone or installing wire in a new facility, everyone, including my coworkers and the customers I’ve served, is a pleasure to work with. That always makes for a great day. 

Eric Stern

(Systems for Scientific Applications/Scientific Computing Simulation/Accelerator Simulation)

I have been working at Fermilab for almost 12 years. I started out as a member of the Accelerator Simulations group, and now I am the group leader. I manage and contribute to the development and running of the Synergia modeling package to simulate, at the level of individual particles, the classical physics governing the transport and acceleration of the 108 to 1012 charged particles in our accelerators.

We simulate our accelerators in order to understand their operation and guide the design of improvements and new accelerators. Charged particles in the accelerator interact with each other and the machine’s metallic walls, which perturb their motion away from their ideal design orbits. These interactions cause beam instability, beam loss and unwanted radiation, limiting the performance of our accelerators. Conventional accelerator physics theory is not able to make predictions about particle behavior at that level of detail. We use numerical simulations that run on large parallel computers for insight into what's going on in the accelerator. This activity occurs within SCD, where we have the expertise to program these large systems and to take advantage of the latest computational resources.

In my spare time, I play the violin and recorder with Old Fezziwig's English Country Dance Band at Fermilab dances.

As part of the diversity and women in Computing initiatives, Rob Roser hosted a viewing of the documentary Code: Debugging the Gender Gap in the Ramsey Auditorium on Jan. 25













A date for a second screening of Code: Debugging the Gender Gap will be announced soon.

-- Penelope Constanta and Marco Mambelli volunteered at Argonne's Hour of Code in December.

Recent presentations:

-- OCIO's Irwin Gaines taught his course titled, "Protecting Personal Information at Fermilab" at Computer Security Awareness and Tech Day.

-- OCIO's Jason Ormes gave a presentation titled "Security Essentials for Fermilab Administrators" at Computer Security Awareness and Tech Day.

-- SCD's Jeny Teheran gave a presentation titled, "Security basics for scientists and anyone who uses the scientific tools" at Computer Security Awareness and Tech Day.