--- Volunteers needed! The Computing Sector will once again participate in the STEM Career Expo hosted by Fermilab on Wednesday, April 23, from 5:30 p.m. until 8:30 p.m. The expo provides high school students from Kane and DuPage Counties the opportunity to discuss potential careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Sector involvement in prior years has been well received by both students and volunteers. Whether you would like to present as part of a panel, show demos on the exciting work that you do at the Computing Sector booth or simply chat with students, please contact Ruth Pordes,


--- Now Playing in the FCC lobby

Computing Sector All-Hands Presentations, Jan. 30, 2014

Recent Top Pair Asymmetry Measurements at CMS (Presentation at the Fermilab Joint Experimental-Theoretical Physics Seminar Feb. 14, 2014) - Oliver Gutsche

Scientific Database Applications (Presentation at CCD Interactomes meeting Jan. 21, 2014) - Igor Mandrichenko

Navigating E-906/SeaQuest on the (Fermi)Grid (Presentation at CS Liaison meeting) - Markus Diefenthaler (UIUC)

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

Irwin Gaines - 39 years
William N Boroski - 33 years
Chuck Andrews - 25 years
Mike Diesburg - 24 years
Matt Arena - 22 years
Rick Hill - 15 years

Space heater alert

If you have a portable, ceramic space heater, check to see if it is made by Life Time.

Recalled heater

As pictured above, these space heaters were formerly available in the stockroom, but are no longer stocked.

heater with warped shell from heat
Notice the deformation on the bottom of this heater.

Another deformed heater
Here is another heater showing deformation, due to heat build-up.

Dust builds up on the heating element which causes excessive internal heat. As the heat builds up, the outer shell also heats up and warps. The excessive heat is a fire hazard.

If you have one of these units, please contact your me, your SSO, at x8493. If you have one of these units, and you notice deformation to the case, please stop using it and throw it away.
As with any space heater, keep combustible materials at least 3 feet away from all sides of the heater.

 ~ Amy Pavnica

Service Desk: Resolving incidents using the three-strike rule

The three-strike rule applies when you attempt to contact the customer regarding an incident they reported. You must contact them a minimum of three times over five business days.  You must make the final attempt to contact them by phone. If there is no response from the customer after the three contact attempts, you should resolve the incident and enter the following text in the "Resolution Notes" field:

"Thank you for reporting this issue, but we have not been able to reach you for information after three attempts. If this is still an issue, please contact the Service Desk to have this ticket reopened."

" .

SharePoint: FermiPoint (SharePoint 2013) Training

Fermilab's SharePoint implementation, called FermiPoint, is in the process of being upgraded. Here are some upcoming training opportunities:

Brown Bag sessions
Each session will focus on changes to the user interface and provide updates on any procedures that might have changed between the 2010 and 2013 environments.

What's New in SharePoint 2013 for Contributors (end users)
Wednesday, April 2
or Thursday, April 24
11.30 a.m. - 12.30 p.m.
Curia II, Wilson Hall

What's New in SharePoint 2013 for Site Owners and Designers

Thursday, April 3
or Friday, April 25
11.30 a.m. - 12.30 p.m.
Curia II, Wilson Hall

Learn more about FermiPoint on the FermiPoint migration website.


I am going to attempt to write a monthly column in Computing Bits as an additional way to communicate to the sector.  We are in a time of great flux right now, and I feel that frequent communication is important to keep everyone informed.  

There are two big events I am currently anticipating that will have an impact on our work. The first is the announcement of the P5 plan on May 22.  The second is Nigel’s expected announcement of his new organization sometime around June 1.

With respect to P5, DOE’s Office of High Energy Physics will expect the community to “buy into” this plan and the lab to re-align its priorities.   Fermilab, and hence the Computing Sector, will also be expected to align with little notice.  With respect to Nigel’s organization, he just announced that Tim Meyer from TRIUMF will join us as our new COO.  I think this is a great move.  I know Tim pretty well and am quite impressed with him.  We are still awaiting the announcement of a deputy lab director and perhaps some structural changes in the organization as Nigel assembles the last of his senior management team.

I will be scheduling a CS all-hands meeting in early June to discuss the emerging scientific landscape and what the implications are on the Computing Sector as well as what we know about the FY15 budget at that time. 

In my first two months in this role, I have had the chance to talk to a number of you.  I appreciate those of you who have sent me emails or dropped by my office to talk.  I look forward to talking to many more of you in the weeks that follow.  The thing I have been most struck by is how much we as a sector are doing.  We have a lot of balls in the air to say the least.  I am not sure how many of these balls we will be encouraged to drop once the P5 report is out and how many new balls may get added to the mix.   As you all know, juggling is hard work.  I would like to begin discussions to consider whether there are efficiencies to be gained or things we should perhaps just drop in an effort to lower the overall pressure on this sector.

I am excited about the coming months.  I think the P5 report will empower us to really take the next step in our science program and move from what has seemed like a long holding pattern to making these dreams reality.

~Rob Roser

New faces in the Computing Sector

Heath O' Connell
Nanette Larson, head of the Telecommunications group, soon to be part of the Network and Communications Service department and Heath O'Connell, head of the Information Resources department. Both organizations will become part of Core Computing Division on March 31.

Beginning March 31, the Core Computing Division (CCD) will welcome some new team members.

Under the leadership of Heath O’Connell, Information Resources will become CCD’s seventh department. Telecommunications, led by Nanette Larson, will join as a new group under Ray Pasetes’ Network and Communications Service department. Both Information Resources and Telecommunications are currently part of the Fermilab Business Services Section.

As many people know, Information Resources is responsible for the wonderful library on Wilson Hall’s third floor.  It also includes, however, the History and Archives project, HEPNames database, and Records Management and Technical Publications Office. Furthermore, the department contributes to the development of INSPIRE, the open-access digital library for the field of high energy physics, and provides SharePoint and web support for the FESS, WDRS and Finance Sections.  Telecommunications provides and administers the facilities we use for daily communication.  This includes not only the laboratory telephone system, but also other areas, such as voicemail, pagers, cell phones and radio equipment.   This is significantly more than one thinks about at first – for example, even the radio frequencies used by the powerful cranes on site are managed by Telecommunications to prevent any possible miscommunications between crane remote controllers.

In many ways it will be business as usual following this transition. First, there are no plans to move either group; they will remain in Wilson Hall.  Secondly, neither O’Connell nor Larson proposes to reorganize their staff.  The migration will, as O’Connell said, “put various groups of people throughout the lab together when they have a functional similarity.”  It is intended to “make us more similarly aligned with the structures that other laboratories have,” said Larson. 

Both of these groups have already worked closely with CCD in a number of areas.  For example, CCD and Information Resources collectively wrote a set of instructions for offsite access to Fermilab-subscribed journals.  Telecommunications recently collaborated with CCD for the VoIP pilot and with improving the copper infrastructure in the village so better network connectivity can be achieved.

Furthermore, as technology has advanced, areas of overlap have grown.  “In many senses [the move is] logical because of the technology changes and the conversion of technologies,” said Larson.  O’Connell agreed, mentioning in particular a project to set up a local copy of INSPIRE for development work on search output formats using Linux and MySQL.  “I think more and more we’re finding that we need help and support from the Computing [Sector],” said O’ Connell, “so being able to work closely on a day-to-day basis with CCD will be great.” 

Please give a warm welcome to Heath, Nanette and their staff!

~ Clementine Jones

Tony Donzelli
Office of the CIO/Service Management/Process Managers

In August 2013 I joined Fermilab. Since then, I have been impressed with the knowledge I’ve gained from everyone here at the lab. As the incident manager, I work to ensure that standardized methods and procedures are used to increase efficiency and provide prompt response and restoration of services. In addition, I manage the process for completing service requests. Effective request fulfillment has a very important role in maintaining end user satisfaction with the services they receive. Working to ensure that analysis, documentation, reporting and communication occur for both incidents and service requests helps to enhance the perception of the Computing Sector and maintain customer satisfaction with the quality of services we provide.

One of the large initiatives I am working on currently involves members of SCD. The goal is to apply the Incident, Change, Problem and Service Level Management processes to the services provided by SCD where appropriate. Using the best practices these processes provide gives us the ability to reduce downtime, identify potential improvements and deliver expected results. In addition, it will enable good decisions to be made about which services to invest in to help continue driving innovation at the lab while having resource constraints.     

Chris Stoughton
Scientific Programs/Experimental Astrophysics

I work on the Fermilab Holometer.   On the scale of Fermilab projects, this experiment (E-990) is rather small.  We occupy space in a beam enclosure which extends north from the Meson building to the Polarized Meson experimental hall and the nearby trailers and huts. This experiment is testing a hypothesis forwarded by the director of the Fermilab Center for Particle Astrophysics, Craig Hogan, about the nature of spacetime.  The prediction is that when we carefully measure the location of an object, we will be limited by a new kind of quantum uncertainty.  This is similar to the Heisenberg uncertainty principle, which says you cannot know both the position (x) and momentum (p) of something exactly.  In our case, we will see uncertainty when we measure the position in two directions:  (x) and (y).  How much is the uncertainty? Really, really small.  Compared to the entire Universe, a typical human is about 10^27 times smaller. (That's a billion billion billion times smaller—three billions).   The uncertainty in our measurement, compared to a typical human, is about 10^36 times smaller.  (A billion billion billion billion-- four billions). This is why the Holometer is the smallest experiment ever!

I also get to host eager high school students who are part of the Fermilab QuarkNet program each summer. If you have a project and would like to mentor a student, please let me know!

When I am not working on the Holometer (or worrying about how the holographic principle works), I like to do a little woodworking.  We have a couple of dogs and get to foster dogs for a few rescue organizations.  Thanks to the support and encouragement of fellow CS members, I'm starting seeds indoors this year in the never-ending quest to make weeds grow more slowly than the rest of the plants in the garden.