Sector news

--- Welcome, Rob Roser, head of the Scientific Computing Division!

--- The Grid Computing Center was awarded the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Energy Star for Energy Efficiency for the second time.

--- The way you access Crystal Reports will change in February. To view effort reports, you'll be required to use your Services account to log in. To view financial reports, you will also use your Services account, not the current group username and password.

--- Computer room training required for computer room access: In order to access to computer rooms, you must first take the training Performing Work in CD Computer Rooms & CD Hazard Analysis (CD000003/CR/01). [View procedure for getting access to computer rooms] To ensure that everyone who works in our computer rooms is in compliance with training requirements, once your ID card expires, you must update this training before entering the computer rooms via the card readers. Allow at least one day for processing the renewal for access.

--- There have been uninvited salespeople selling coffee, paintings or other products building to building at the laboratory. All vendors are required to go through Procurement or be sponsored by an employee when they visit; therefore, the advice from Fermilab Security is to call x3414 if you encounter a salesperson selling products door to door.

--- The Engineering Data Management System (EDMS) using Teamcenter officially went live on January 20.

--- FermiMail mailbox migration status: About 1700 users--over half the lab email users--have their mailbox on FermiMail.

Milestones
Person on mountain summit

Welcome, new employees

Michael Baker (Information Systems/CS Business Apps & Computing Infrastructure Apps)

Bonnie King (Fermilab Experiment Facilities/Scientific Linux and Architecture Management)

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

Frank Nagy - 32 years
Mike Behnke - 28 years
Rich Thompson - 28 years
Stephen A Wolbers - 27 years
Liz Sexton-Kennedy - 24 years
Margaret Votava - 24 years
Terrance Jones - 23 years
Ron Rechenmacher - 23 years
Orlando Colon - 22 years
Paul Russo - 21 years
Chih-Hao Huang - 20 years
Ken Schumacher - 15 years
Joe Syu - 15 years
Amitoj Singh - 10 years
Anne Heavey - 5 years
Chander Sehgal - 5 years

Big Gig for data transfer

detail of one graph showing network bandwidth at ANL during an SC|11 demo
Detail of graphs showing network bandwidth measured at ANL (top) and NERSC (bottom) during one SC|11 demo slot. Click for full image

At SuperComputing 2011, Garbriele Garzoglio, Parag Mhashilkar and Dave Dykstra of the Grid & Cloud Computing Department (GCC), together with their UCSD partners, demonstrated they could move CMS experimental data from NERSC to Argonne using a 100-GB network link. In fact, they achieved impressive results: over one hour, the team transferred data at a sustained rate of 70 GB per second with peaks of 75 GB/s.

“Some of our largest collaborators… will benefit from higher data transfer rates,” says Gabriele Garzoglio, associate head of GCC. “However, we don’t know whether the middleware we use today can exploit the speed of these fast networks when accessing data.”

The work the demo embodies is part of a larger high throughput data program (HTDP) that involves exercising grid and cloud-enabling middleware over fast networks to optimize performance and identify gaps in the infrastructure. The program will work with CMS and the other major scientific communities at the laboratory to conduct technology investigation, set up network test beds and develop middleware and end-to-end prototypes and production solutions. Through its Advanced Network Initiative, ESnet has called major network users to participate in this testing as it continues to deploy these 100-GB links to DOE laboratories.

Fermilab teamed up with UCSD in an attempt to get the most data moved over the network by tuning various parameters in the middleware. For example, changing the number of transfer processes per core has a big impact on speed. Similarly, increasing the size of TCP packets transferred between the client and the server also increased throughput.

Beyond these initial efforts, the HTD Program, which Mhashilkar is leading, will explore new paradigms as networks become even faster.

“In five to ten years, we’ll move from the 100 Gigabits to the Terabit-scale networks,” says Garzoglio. “Within this program of work, in collaboration with the major stakeholders of the laboratory, we will try to define and execute a vision to evolve our infrastructure to exploit these fast networks to the fullest.”

~ Marcia Teckenbrock

Core Computing Spotlight

Kevin Conway
Service Operations Support//Engineering Services

Kevin Conway

As a member of the Windows Engineering Group, my role is often divided between several activities and projects. First, I administer the maintenance and infrastructure of Active Directory, our directory service for authenticating and authorizing users and computers in the Windows domain. I also maintain and improve the lab’s default Windows 7 operating system distribution and assist with packaging and deploying software on Windows computers using the System Center Configuration manager (SCCM).

Recently, our team redesigned our Windows 7 distribution with a web-based front-end, providing a more timely, user-friendly procedure for the Windows Desktop Team to build machines without accessing Active Directory or SCCM. Last year I implemented ChangeAuditor, an Active Directory tool that enables domain administrators to audit all events in that occur within that domain, giving us a more streamlined interface for reporting on changes as they occur.

Finally, I am researching a self- service password reset program for the Fermilab users to easily and securely change or reset their own passwords. Once implemented, this will reduce the need for assistance from system administrators and the number of Service Desk tickets.

New year, new law
Even bears wear seatbelts.

A new seatbelt law went into effect on January 1. It is the policy within the Fermilab site as well.

All passengers in the vehicle, (now including the back seat as well), must wear a seatbelt. Before this law went into effect, only the driver and front seat passenger and all children in the vehicle needed to buckle up.

Furthermore, this is a primary enforcement law, meaning that a driver can be pulled over by the police if they notice that someone in the vehicle is not wearing a seatbelt. Fines start at $25.

The Illinois Institute for Highway Safety believes that this new law will save lives—not only for people in the back seats, but also for those sitting in the front: People sitting in the front seat are often injured or killed due to the force of unbuckled backseat passengers flying forward during crashes.

So remember to buckle up, and make sure your passengers buckle up, too. It can save your wallet, but more importantly, it can save your life!

~ Amy Pavnica