--- From Fermilab Today: 2015 INCITE grant awarded to James Amundson. [Read more]

--- From DOE Pulse: Fermilab’s Oliver Gutsche keeps LHC community computing. [Read article]

--- The CCD Authentication Services group has a test Shibboleth federated identity single-sign-on service. Contact the authentication group at auth@fnal.gov if you are interested in leveraging this for your
application.

--- Computer Security Awareness Day 2014 was held Nov. 11.   [View presentations]

--- Note about all business travel (including training): DOE conference regulations apply to all business travel, even local travel and even if someone else is paying for it. This especially applies to training.

If proper approvals are not obtained in advance, expenses (including training registration fees) are not reimbursable. Please work with the administrative staff to prepare Travel Authorization forms in advance of any travel so we will be abiding by regulations.

Valerie Higgins and Adrienne Kolb
Adrienne Kolb, left, and Valerie Higgins, Fermilab archivists and historians

The Leon M. Lederman Papers are among the Fermilab History and Archives Project’s most historically significant holdings. These papers range from Lederman’s early experimental work, drafts of his published research and books and his professional correspondence and speeches, to records on the founding of the Illinois Math and Science Academy. On October 31, Fermilab was awarded a grant from the American Institute of Physics Niels Bohr Library & Archives to help us make these valuable materials available to researchers.

This grant, spearheaded by Adrienne Kolb and Valerie Higgins, will allow us to hire a temporary project archivist in 2015 who will help organize the papers and prepare a finding aid that will serve as a guide to the Lederman collection. For more information, see “Leon M. Lederman Papers” at http://history.fnal.gov/lederman.html.  This new grant is similar to another initiated by Kolb in 2011 in which our Archives team used the same process and prepared a finding aid for the John Linsley Papers.  See “John Linsley Papers” at http://history.fnal.gov/findingaids/Linsley_ibatf2012001.html for details on that successful project. Mary Jo Lyke, Valena Sibley, Rob Carrara and Heath O'Connell provided Kolb and Higgins with essential assistance preparing this year's grant. Thanks to everyone who made this possible!

~Adrienne Kolb and Valerie Higgins

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

Ed Podschweit - 43 years
Adrienne Kolb - 31 years
Bill Barker - 30 years
Lauri Loebel Carpenter - 28 years
Gene Oleynik - 27 years
Mark Thomas - 27 years
Neal Wilcer - 27 years
Wayne Baisley - 23 years
Amy Pavnica - 21 years

Sharan Kalwani

-- Panagiotis Spentzouris, Jin Chang, Sharan Kalwani (pictured above), Gene Oleynik, Marc Paterno, Saba Sehrish and Amitoj Singh volunteered at the Student-Postdoc Job and Opportunity Fair at Supercomputing 2014 in New Orleans, on Nov. 19.  The Fermilab table was very popular, with many people stopping to learn more about computing here, pick up handouts to follow up on the information at home, and drop off their resumes. 

-- In honor of #AskAnArchivist Day on Oct. 30, Valerie Higgins, archivist and historian in the Information Resources department, participated in the national Twitter discussion to answer questions relating to her work at Fermilab.  Read more about the event at the Business Wire website.

-- Now playing in the FCC lobby:

High Energy Physics Data Management for Internet of Everything Topologies:  Andrew Norman.  Federal Labs Technology Demonstrations and Discussions, September 2014.

HEP ASCR Meeting talk:  Lothar Bauerdick.  HEP ASCR Meeting, October 24, 2014.

New Ideas for reconstruction/tracking in LAr:  Gianluca Petrillo. International Workshop on Next generation Nucleon Decay and Neutrino Detectors, APC Laboratory, Paris, France, November 4, 2014.

Implementation of a Multi-threaded Framework for Large-scale Scientific Applications:  Elizabeth Sexton-Kennedy, Christopher Jones, Patrick Gartung from Fermilab and David Lange from LLNL.  ACAT, Czech Technical University in Prague, September 1 – 5, 2014.

Service Desk tip: Requesting ticket reassignment

The Request Reassignment" checkbox [click for image] immediately beneath the red "Work Notes" field on ServiceNow incident forms--allows a service provider to have the Incident routed to another group. Reassignments are a key performance indicator (KPI), so it is important to check this box if tickets are misrouted in order to have accurate statistics and to continually improve service.

FermiPoint tip: Using the Follow feature

If you have site owner, designer, contributor or visitor permissions, you can use the Follow feature to get the latest updates on sites, documents, people and the tags that you have permission to access, and that you have chosen to follow. [View article]

From the CIO: Mission support for science

Even though this is a short week, it seems like one of those weeks that will never end.  I turned on Monday night football to unwind a little and try to put the issues of the day on hold for a few hours. It was Baltimore versus New Orleans—not exactly a particularly epic game, though interesting at times for sure. However, the game got me to thinking about what goes into successful organizations. Living in Chicago, we are all painfully aware that the Cubs have had a tough century. That lack of success can’t be accidental, and it’s more than simply the failure to execute on the field. It points to a failure across the entire organization.

Fermilab is, in many ways, like a professional sports team. The scientists are the athletes; they make up a small fraction of the overall laboratory. These scientists are well funded in order to push the boundaries of what is known in terms of scientific research. However, unlike the Cubs, the laboratory has been and continues to be remarkably successful. The lab can brag about the numerous scientific discoveries it has made and can point to future success though the progress we are now making through the various projects going through the “critical decision (CD)” process. The reason for this success goes far beyond that of the scientific talent, however. It has to do with the entire operations organization, the front office, which supports and empowers these talented scientists.

Core computing has been and continues to be instrumental to the success of the laboratory and in its support of the laboratory.  They are a key component of Fermilab’s “front office” – the brain trust of the entire scientific enterprise. While none of the software written or maintained by this talented group will produce the next great scientific discovery, all of it is critical to the overall mission. Each piece, whether it be networking, storage, email, web,  or the literally hundreds of software applications, is essential for the laboratory to deliver on its goals in an efficient and timely fashion.  It’s the mission-support people that are and continue to be the true unsung heroes of the laboratory. Without the excellence that we have in Core Computing and the other mission-support organizations, the scientific enterprise would still be looking for its first championship.

~Rob Roser

Happy retirement, NGOP!


The recent announcement that the NGOP (Next Generation OPerations) monitoring tool was retired on October 30 may not have resonated with many, but for those involved from the beginning, it was a time to reflect on the importance of this software to Fermilab.  

In 1999, the first floor of FCC was packed with computers, tape drives and computer operators.  The then-Computing Division launched a project to provide detailed monitoring of these resources.  Commercial products at the time were found to be expensive and difficult to configure.  Thus the NGOP team made a decision to develop a monitoring service in house.  Tanya Levshina led the project while Marc Mengel, Krzysztof Genser, Jim Fromm and Vladimir Podstavkov were the primary developers.  

The design of NGOP was innovative—it was one of the first Python based client/server distributed services written at Fermilab.  It used XML to describe resources, components and rules for triggering alarms.  NGOP was released in 2002, monitoring in excess of 1,100 computers and 25,000 components. NGOP monitored the well-being of computers including memory, cpu, file system utilization, fan speed and temperature. It also monitored health of services such as Enstore, Fermi Batch Systems (FBS), and the availability of Fermilab web pages.

NGOP development ceased in 2006. However, NGOP continued to provide monitoring for many years to come.  John Inkmann, assisted by Ken Fidler and Ed Podschweit, migrated many of the systems to SolarWinds, which has replaced NGOP.   


~Tanya Levshina and Jim Fromm
ROC West:  open for research!

ROC West
Photo: Reidar Hahn

The most productive and efficient work relies not just on employees with the right skills and knowledge, although this is a crucial beginning, but also on providing these employees with a work environment which cultivates collaboration, heightens thought and encourages dynamism. This was part of the thinking behind the initial push to move the control room for Fermilab’s neutrino and muon experiments down from its Wilson Hall twelfth-floor location to its new first-floor home.  The Remote Operations Center (ROC) West is the counterpart to the CMS-focused ROC East.

“The project, which began in 2012, was first proposed by Erik Gottschalk, now head of the Office of Integrated Planning and Performance Management,” said Rennie Scott, assistant head of the Experiment Computing Facilities (ECF) department and leader of the service provider section of the ROC West taskforce. “Building work started in March, and the room is now occupied, with other experiments, like Seaquest, moving in shortly.”

ROC West is designed as a modern control room, a bright space with facilities and layout reflecting the requirements of modern experiments, including up-to-date computing systems.  “There are digital displays run by Intel NUC systems, implemented by Jason Harrington, through the whole room,” said Scott, “dynamic and able to be customized for each experiment and with capability for accelerator monitoring from the Accelerator Division.” In addition to this, the latest systems hardware and higher-end monitors are used, with the configurations and installs being led by Bonnie King from the Scientific Linux and Architecture Management (SLA) group.  “We carried out burn-in testing for workstations, where intensive disk I/O and CPU operations are run to identify faulty hardware,” said King. “This is commonly done for servers, but because these are critical workstations, we did it here too.”

In line with this modern approach, ECF has made a huge effort to standardize systems with the same hardware and configurations. “All the systems start with a common Scientific Linux configuration, for example, with supportable customizations made as necessary,” said King.  This required detailed consultation with individual experiments and other Computing groups, but is now making things more maintainable and more easily supported.

Now that ROC West is open and the systems running, SLA work through the service management system to support their customers, with other Computing groups supporting their own sections.  As the migration draws to a close, and the day-to-day work begins, Scott commented he thought the move and consequent upgrades had been “a great collaboration between the Particle Physics Division and Computing.”

~Clementine Jones

Scott Neill

Scott Neill
Facility Operations

My job encompasses many different data center activities and projects as well as the responsibility to oversee maintenance and repair services within Computing’s data centers, buildings, offices and support spaces. Ensuring safety in our environment is crucial to all of these activities. Therefore, I also serve on Fermilab’s Subcontractor Safety Subcommittee, representing Computing in the essential role of dealing with subcontractors.

As data center specialist, my work primarily focuses on Computing-operated buildings’ mechanical, electrical, cooling and security functions.  As a task manager, I coordinate and manage laboratory staff or subcontractors that perform work in our facilities to ensure services are in place to provide a strong foundation so that Computing can carry out its mission successfully. Such work includes: maintenance and repair of electrical and HVAC systems, building and computing room security and maintenance and repair of various types of building infrastructure. I recently completed the cold aisle containment of the GCC and LCC data centers. Containing the cold air aisles of the server rows directs the conditioned air into the front of the equipment, where it needs cooling, instead of cooling the entire room.  This work has made each room significantly more efficient, and has provided substantial energy and cost savings for the lab.  

Rob Harris
Scientific Programs

I started to work for Fermilab 25 years ago, the same year that the Computing Division was formed. I want to tell you about a new role, which I am very excited about: deputy head of the Scientific Programs quadrant of the Scientific Computing Division. The title is quite a mouthful, but the need is easy to understand.

From its beginning, the Computing Division seamlessly integrated scientific staff into its leadership. This ensured that Computing at Fermilab was focused on the requirements of our scientific program, facilitating its success. While our scientific staff helps look after the needs of Computing, it is also important that we pay attention to the scientific needs of our staff.

The mission of the Scientific Programs quadrant, therefore, is to advance the scientific research of the Computing staff and enhance scientific communication and coordination within Computing. This supports a scientifically strong staff and facilitates scientific leadership of our organization.

Our scientific staff members conduct active research and provide scientific leadership to the precision Muon experiments g-2 and Mu2e and the neutrino experiments LArIAT, LBNF, MicroBooNE, MINERvA, MINOS and NOvA. We explore the energy frontier on the CMS experiment and the cosmic frontier on the experiments Auger, Dark Energy Survey, Holometer, Larger Synoptic Survey Telescope and Sloan Digital Sky Survey. We are experimentalists and theorists, particle physicists and accelerator and computational scientists. Scientific Programs aims to support
the science of this diverse and talented staff.