Sector news

--- ReadyTalk Service Overview video presentation covering access methods; using web conferencing to share real-time content, perform collaborative editing or to enable another individual to present content; collaboration tips and more. The presentation is free, and you do not have to have a ReadyTalk account to view it (You are required to provide a name and email address.) More information about the ReadyTalk service is available on this Fermilab Videoconferencing page.

--- Former head of the Communications group, David Ritchie, has been working with Valerie Higgins and Adrienne Kolb of the Fermilab History and Archives Project on the David Ritchie Papers, which have been deposited in the Fermilab archives. View finding aid

--- SharePoint training for end-users held on the third Friday of each month from 10 a.m. until 11:30 a.m. Sign up in TRAIN.

Exhibit displays employees' multiple talents

Bonnie King poses with her painting, "Intersection."
Bonnie King (SCD/Scientific Computing Facilities/
Fermilab Experiments Facilities/ Scientific Linux and Architecture Management ) poses with her oil painting, "Intersection". This is one of the two paintings she is exhibiting in the Fermilab employee art exhibit this month. Click for large image

We in the Computing Sector are aware that we are a talented bunch. Every day CS employees are faced with a multitude of tasks that deploy an impressive array of skills.So we are accustomed to applauding our colleagues’ achievements. In addition to these job-based abilities, however, many members of the CS have talents of a more artistic and creative bent. You only have to be present at a monthly Cookie Caucus to see that the sector is home to great bakers and pastry makers. Alternatively, in the archive of this newsletter there are ample examples of poems and photographs demonstrating the range of CS abilities.

It will come as little surprise, then, that many CS employees have submitted pieces to the Employee Art Show, “Outside the Office,” which is being held in the Fermilab Art Gallery on the second floor of Wilson Hall until May 7. “This is the best attended exhibition at the Gallery,” says Georgia Schwender, the organizer. “It is held approximately every 18 months, and it started long before I arrived here 11 years ago.”

The huge popularity of this exhibition is easy to understand in light of the variety of subject matter and media: there is something for every taste. However, for the artists and spectators, the overwhelming reason is how inspiring it is to see the many talents from people’s lives outside work.

Various CS members have their artwork displayed in the exhibit. Mark Kaletka, who is the deputy head of Core Computing and is showing photographs in the gallery, commented that the exhibit was an insight into “how full and rounded people’s lives are.” Bonnie King, from Scientific Linux and Architecture Management, is exhibiting paintings and noted how enjoyable it was to “see the other side of people who are known to be very scientific and technical.” Connie Sieh, who is also from the Scientific Linux group and is showing photographs, said, “It was a side of people you often do not realize is there.”

So, take a few minutes out of your working day to wander around the gallery. Look at the exhibits and allow them to move you, relax you or perhaps inspire you. And don’t be too surprised if, when you look at the name of this talented artist, you find they are also chairing your meeting that afternoon, the author of the report you are about to read, or responsible for those figures you have just signed off.

~Clementine Jones

Person on mountain summit

Welcome, new employees

Nathan Colson (CCD/Service Operations Support/Authentication Services)

Gregory Stonehocker (CCD/Network and Virtual Services/Network Services)

Anniversaries this month
(5, 10, 15 & 20+ years)

Irwin Gaines - 38 years
Bill Boroski - 32 years
Chuck Andrews - 24 years
Michael Diesburg - 23 years
Matt Arena - 21 years
Kris Brandt - 15 years
David Coder - 5 years


Ryan Alexander Rzeminski was born on March 18 weighing 7.3 pounds and measuring 19.5 inches in length. Parents are Michelle Lee Olson Rzeminski and Peter Rzeminksi (CCD/Enterprise Services Operations/Web and Collaboration Services). Also welcoming Ryan is big brother Tyler.


If you have an outreach activity, a presentation for the FCC lobby display or questions about how to get involved, please contact Ruth Pordes or Margaret Votava.

--- Vicky White and Ruth Pordes attended the Expanding Your Horizons symposium on March 24 to promote science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education to middle-school girls from the Chicago area. The girls had a variety of engineering and science interests and clearly enjoyed the related hands-on event the day before.

The event also provided an opportunity for women engineers and scientists from Argonne National Laboratory and Fermilab to network.The women exchanged information about each lab's local programs--Here at Fermilab, the Diversity Council and Target programs–and discussed future opportunities to share events such as the ANL lecture series that is gaining recognition there and is sponsored by the Women in Science and Technology program.  

--- Now playing in the FCC lobby:

ART + Geant4 = ArtG4  by Adam Lyon 

Configuration Management Database Overview by Krysia Jacobs

Worlds in Collision by Steve Kent

Project spotlight: Teamcenter transforms engineering through integration and reuse
Detail of partial beamline assembly shown inside the PXIE enclosure displayed from Teamcenter. Credit: Tony Metz.
Detail of partial beamline assembly shown inside the PXIE enclosure displayed from Teamcenter. Credit: Tony Metz. Click for full image

Have you seen the NOvA near- and far-detector construction exhibit in the Wilson Hall Atrium? Almost all physics experiments at Fermilab require the design, construction and engineering skills of large teams throughout the lab. In the past, engineering data was stored in a various locations throughout the laboratory, some on global fileservers, some on local disk drives, and in a variety of repositories. It was difficult for people to find engineering data easily, to make sure they had the latest version and to determine what documents were related to any piece of engineering data.

The laboratory is implementing Teamcenter, which is a key component of Fermilab’s common Engineering Data Management System that will enable engineers, designers, scientists and other technical staff to build upon past work and to share engineering data more effectively. “Teamcenter is a commercial application that provides a centralized database of information that is easy to search and has links to related data and workflows,” says Tony Metz, the Teamcenter project manager and head of the Computing Sector Engineering Application Support group. Key capabilities of Teamcenter are: integration between computer-aided design (CAD) software packages at Fermilab and at collaborating institutions; traceability between requirements, specifications, designs and other supporting documents; a library of common parts; electronic signoff; workflow processes; bill-of-material management and product visualization.

The Project X Injector Experiment (PXIE) is the first major project to use Teamcenter. Fermilab is collaborating with Argonne National Laboratory, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory and several Indian institutions to design and construct the PXIE facility, which includes such intriguingly named components as an H-ion source, a radio-frequency quadrupole and superconducting cryomodules. The goal is to allow Project X collaborators to have access to and store their data in Teamcenter.

PXIE Cryogenic Module Test Facility (CMTF) displayed in Teamcenter. Credit: Tony Metz. Click for large image

One of the great features of Teamcenter is its visualization capabilities and the PXIE team uses it regularly to help optimize their project. Teamcenter can merge individual components into one complete virtual assembly, which PXIE collaborators can rotate and measure on screen for comprehensive design reviews. This makes it possible to find and fix problems early in the design process. For example, a cryomodule for the PXIE facility was recently added to the assembly, along with all of the other beam-line elements. “We recognized almost immediately that the cryogenic connection was not in the right orientation. It had to be flipped to the other side,” said Rich Stanek, Teamcenter program sponsor and PXIE lead engineer. “The fact that we are able to combine it into a total facility layout gives us a lot of insight as to what some of the issues were, whereas in the past either we did not get to see one another’s CAD design for months or all you saw were PowerPoint slides.”

Another benefit of Teamcenter is the reuse of engineering parts and knowledge, resulting in huge cost savings for the laboratory. Not only can engineers and designers have access to thousands of pre-drawn hardware parts, they can also easily search for past engineering documents and can potentially leverage past designs and analysis instead of starting from scratch.

Teamcenter went live in January 2012. Since then, over 3,000 parts and drawings have been created in Teamcenter, over 28,000 hardware parts have been added to its common part library, and over 200 people have received training. The Long-Baseline Neutrino Experiment (LBNE) and Mu2E experiment are beginning to use Teamcenter as well.

Implementing Teamcenter is a major undertaking that requires considerable time and effort to define and carry out consistent processes across divisional and sectional boundaries. Stanek credits the outstanding work by the Teamcenter team, “We have a good team in place that shares the common vision of where we want to go and what needs to be done,” says Stanek. “You can see good things coming out of the system.”

~Fang Wang

Core Computing Division spotlight
Bob Andree

Bob Andree
Information Systems/Enterprise Engineering Application Team

I have worked at Fermilab for over 24 years primarily providing IT customer support, originally in the Technical Division and now in the Core Computing Division. My focus has always been on the customer— If the customer is not happy, I am not happy. Currently I am working in the Engineering Applications Support group, which is responsible for the computer-aided design (CAD), computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) and computer-aided engineering (CAE) applications for the laboratory. One of our main software applications is Teamcenter, a central location for all engineering data that enables people at Fermilab to collaborate with folks at other labs and universities.

Teamcenter users include all of the divisions, sections and centers at the lab. I have been training and mentoring new users regularly since last October. In addition, I install the Teamcenter client for people at the lab and at remote collaborator sites. We have trained over 200 people, many of whom are collaborators from labs across the country, trained and using different aspects of Teamcenter, and that number is growing. (See the Teamcenter article in this issue of Computing Bits.)

Along with my training responsibilities, our group installs and supports most of the CAD, CAM and CAE software for the lab. We work closely with the Desktop Support group to supply scientists, engineers and designers with the software services they use.

Scientific Computing Division spotlight
John Hendry

John Hendry
Scientific Computing Facilities/Data Movement and Storage/Storage Services Administration

As the assistant group leader of the Storage Services Administration (SSA) group I assist in keeping on top of the various issues encountered in administering the Enstore and dCache data management systems and the underlying tape robots and associated hardware and servers. SSA also continually migrates experiments' data to new, denser media.

My expertise is in systems analysis, in which I analyze complex issues and get to the root of various problems. I also write down-time plans for us to perform maintenance and monitor how quickly tapes are being consumed. Along with the other group members, I am on the rotating emergency-call shift.

I have written a number of scripts that collect data and update web pages that enable our group and sector management to keep track of various items such as the number of tape drives owned and used, mappings of drives and kernel expirations, to name a few. I have also written a suite of scripts which parse migration logs from various servers, update databases and produce web pages that display migration progress and list statistics for the number of tapes at each stage of the process.

Prior to working in SSA, I worked on the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, for which I wrote scripts to back up data to Enstore, added quality-control checking to various processes, wrote the scripts to automatically transfer the telescope data directly to FNAL and managed products specific to the experiment.

When not at work, I enjoy physical activities such as working on mechanical and structural things and doing activities with friends and family such as bike riding and country line dancing.

Human performance improvement

The average individual makes five mistakes every hour. Some of these mistakes do not result in a noticeable outcome. Others aren’t so trivial and can result in personal injury, damage to equipment, a product or a mission. Human Performance Improvement, HPI, is an approach designed to minimize hidden organizational weaknesses that set up an individual for an unwanted outcome and to proactively prevent such mistakes.

HPI does not focus on making fallible human beings infallible. After all, humans will always be…well, human! Instead, HPI focuses on deeply reviewing a system, identifying error precursors such as assumptions, distractions or procedure deficiencies and removing the precursors before an unwanted outcome occurs. An HPI investigation can also be used after an incident to help prevent it from repeating, but obviously being proactive is the preferred approach.

The Fermilab Facilities Engineering Services Section has implemented HPI into their work processes. As a result, they have an improved, open culture with fewer injuries and greater efficiency. The Director has fully endorsed this approach and wants to implement it labwide. So, if you want to learn more about this approach (And I know you do!), please sign up for classes in TRAIN (under the “general” category).

The half-day class is targeted to general employees. The two-day class is for managers, supervisors and group leaders. The one-day case study is for those who have taken prior HPI Training.

Many have taken the class and said that it was one of the best classes that they’ve taken. These are not safety classes. The information that you learn can be applied to many areas in your life, at or away from work.

~ Amy Pavnica

Tips of the month

Service Desk:SLA 101: Viewing SLAs associated with a ticket

A Service Level Agreement (SLA) is a record that defines a set amount of time for an Incident, Task or Requested Item to reach a certain condition. For example, a particular service might have an SLA that states something like, “Any Incident must be resolved within one business day.”

SLAs attached to a ServiceNow record
Click for full image

When working on a service desk ticket, it is essential to know the SLA. To do this, from within the incident or requested item, navigate to the related lists at the bottom of the record.

Note, there may be many SLAs attached to a record. The SLA that is reported on for compliance will contain “(SO)” in the name. (SO) stands for service offering.

The color indicators are:
Red – Already Breached
Yellow – Nearing Breach
Green – Within SLA Commitment

After a ticket is no longer active, the SLA results will be recorded on a dashboard. Next month, we will explain how to view the SLA dashboard.

SharePoint: Add a web part with a view to any list or library within the same site collection

Those with Designer permission or higher can now add a custom web part to any page within the same site collection that will enable a view for any list or library within that same site collection. There are no restrictions as to whether source lists or libraries reside on the parent site, a sub-site, a sibling site or a sub-site child site within the same site collection.

See knowledge base article for instructions.