News & Announcements

---  Backup service for FermiMail -
At the sector All Hands meeting last month, the topic of email backup arose. We want to ensure that everyone understands how our email system works.  Read more

--- From CERN Courier by Dmitri Denisov and Rob Roser:  The Tevatron's data continue to excite

--- Cookie Caucus: Friday, Aug. 30, 3 p.m. - 4 p.m. in WH 9E. Hosted by CMS & CMS Computing Facilities

--- SharePoint training -
for end-users:

Sept. 20, 10 a.m. - 11:30 a.m. 

For designers: (prereq: end-user training)
Sept. 20, 1 p.m. - 2:30 p.m.

Fermilab team discovers star

Artist rendering of Drawrf star. Courtesy NASA/JPL-Caltech
Artist rendering of Dwarf star. Courtesy NASA/JPL-Caltech

Fermilab scientists Douglas Tucker of SCD and William Wester of PPD, visiting Professor J Allyn Smith from Austin Peay State University, and interns Samuel Wyatt and Mees Fix identified a cataclysmic variable star while looking for white dwarf stars as part of the Dark Energy Survey.

“They’re not unusual, but they’re really interesting scientifically,” says Smith. “[This type of star] is the progenitor of a Type I supernova,” although this particular star won’t explode for millions of years.

Cataclysmic variable stars are actually a set of two stars, one white dwarf and one normal. The super-dense dwarf draws matter away from the companion star, which forms an accretion disk around the star. When matter falls into the star or when the disk becomes very dense and heated, it emits radiation.

Fix made the actual discovery, when he noticed these emissions while analyzing the star’s spectroscopy. He brought the results to the group, who recognized the emissions pattern as one belonging to a cataclysmic variable star.

Although it appeared in sky surveys dating back to the 1950s, no one had previously identified this object as a cataclysmic variable star.

“It took a young summer student to clean up the spectra that we recorded to identify it,” said Wester.

While the star can’t be used as a part of the Dark Energy Survey, the team plans to do further research to discover more about this phenomenon.

~ Elyse Hornstein
 Sector outreach

Science Library Book Display
Science display at Indian Prairie Public Library in honor of Adam Lyon's talk

Adam Lyon (SCD/Scientific Programs/Intensity Frontier) spoke last month about the g minus 2 (gm2) experiment at both the Woodridge Public Library and the Indian Prairie Public Libary in Darien. Turnout to both presentations was good, with 40 attendees in Woodridge despite short notice and corresponding lack of publicity and 75 in Darien. Both library directors were impressed. The director at Indian Prairie said they do not often get a turnout that big, and though they have rarely hosted science-related talks, they will be doing more now.

"I had a lot of fun giving the talks, and the enthusiasm of the audiences was terrific," says Lyon. "Fermilab received lots of warm and fuzzy feelings from the public!"

Liz Buckley-Geer (Scientific Programs/Experimental Astrophysics) was quite busy giving outreach talks earlier this month. First, she spoke with students who earned Davis-Bachall scholarships, (a 12-week program sponsored by the DOE for South Dakota high school seniors and college freshman to learn about dark matter and dark energy). Then she presented to QuarkNet participant teachers and students.

Tour group in Grid Computing Center
A tour of approximately 33 Exelon employees visited the Grid Computing Center on Wednesday, August 21st. Fermilab’s  Steve Wolbers, Ken Schumacher, Ruth Pordes, and Adam Walters led tours for the Nuclear and Mechanical Engineers and Computer Scientist and Programmers. Many of these scientists develop of simulation codes for the Exelon’s nuclear power plants, which are used to train new staff in areas such as course injection of faults and instabilities.

LaR projects overview at the CS Liaison Meeting 

Nigel Lockyer - SnowMass 2013, from the next Fermilab Director

Ian Fisk - Snowmass 2013 Summary of Computing for the Energy Frontier

Mayly Sanchez, Brian Rebel and Steve Wolbers - Snowmass 2013 Summary of Computing for the Intensity Frontier


Welcome, new employees!

Anthony Donzelli (OCIO/Service Management/Process Managers)

Sharan Kalwani (SCD/Scientific Computing Facilities/High Performance Parallel Computing Facilities)

Chad Klopfenstein
(CCS/Information Systems)

Julie Marsh
(OCIO/Governance/Project Management)

Gabriele Perdue
(SCD/ Systems for Scientific Applications/Scientific Computing Simulation, Physics and Detector Simulation)

Sriram Sankaranarayanan
(CCD/Information Systems/Enterprise Applications)

Michael Warren
(CCD/Information Systems/Business Infrastructure Applications)


Jack MacNerland (CCD/Facility Operations)

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

Edith Brown - 39 years
Stuart Fuess - 32 years
Richard Kwarciany - 30 years
Paul Lebrun - 30 years
Eileen Berman - 27 years
John Chramowicz - 27 years
Rick Van Conant - 27 years
Vyto Grigaliunas - 26 years
Mark Kaletka - 24 years
Panagiotis Spentzouris - 24 years
Hans Wenzel - 22 years
Jason Morris - 15 years
Rick Snider - 15 years

A greener commute

A Fermilab Today article mentioned the Argonne-supported GreenRide Connect website, where Argonne and Fermilab employees can register to carpool with your colleagues. You simply enter your address and your work site, along with other personal preferences concerning your commute. Once registered, the database will show you several of your best carpooling matches.  The more people that sign up, the more options will be available.

So sign up!  Get a little more green, and keep a little more green in your pocket!

~Amy Pavnica

Letter from Rob Roser: Snowmass on the Mississippi

Rob Roser

For nine days earlier this month, nearly 700 physicists from almost 100 universities and laboratories in the United States, as well as colleagues from around the world, gathered in Minneapolis for the final meeting of the 2013 Snowmass Community Summer Study. The last time the high energy physics community got together to do this exercise was back in 2001. The physics landscape has changed dramatically since then.

These nine days were the culmination of a nearly year-long process in which the high energy physics community wrestled with identifying the most compelling physics opportunities over the next decade or so that we as a field want to answer.

This process was about taking stock in what we have learned and starting the process for charting our future. It took a broad view of the field – not only were the three “science frontiers” (energy, intensity and cosmic) discussed – but there was also a computing frontier and instrumentation frontier as well as discussions on facilities and communications and outreach.

To my mind, this is the first time in these planning processes that both computing and instrumentation was given such a high profile – recognition from our community of its importance to doing this science. Our own Lothar Bauerdick co-chaired the computing frontier with Steve Gottlieb, a lattice gauge theorist with University of Indiana. Fifteen members of SCD attended Snowmass, and all played significant roles in both the computing and/or instrumetation sessions as well as his or her scientific interest. Ian Fisk journeyed from CERN to Minneapolis to deliver an excellent colloquium talk looking forward in computing.

I would like to thank all of our SCD members that participated in the process.  I think Snowmass was a great success, and each individual had an impact.  It was great to see so many scientists with diverse interests and opinions come together to chart the course for particle physics. A truly astonishing range of physics topics and technology capabilities were explored and discussed in detail.

Snowmass is not the end – but rather the first step in writing down the field’s priority-based plan. That job will commence in the coming month with the re-establishment of the US Particle Physics Project Prioritization Panel (P-5). The Snowmass process will provide the basis for this plan.

~Rob Roser

 DOE awards three-year grant for network research
Wenji WuPhil Demar
Wenji Wu (left) and Phil Demar, through a grant from DOE, will work with BNL on improving data transfer by developing a middleware tool.

Last month, DOE awarded a three-year grant to a proposal led by the CCD Network Research group and in collaboration with Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL) to develop “Multicore-aware Data Transfer Middleware (MDTM).”  The aim of the research, according to Principal Investigator Wenji Wu, is to speed up data transfers by developing a “middleware scheduler to harness multicore technology.”

Data transfer involves the sending system, the network and the receiving system.  The overall speed and efficiency depends upon the performance of each of these components; if one component is slower, it constrains the overall performance, reducing, or possibly negating, advanced capabilities available elsewhere.  “[It’s] like building a high-speed highway network,” says Wu, “but if your car is not fast, then you cannot go fast.”

This is a recognizable problem for systems facing ever-increasing demands for data transfer.  While network technology is moving into the realm of 40 to 100-gigabit per second transfers and many systems now feature multiple CPUs, we need to develop the other elements, like middleware, to match.

This grant will support Fermilab’s development of a distributable prototype MDTM tool. 

Ultimately, the tool will provide four major features:

  • It will provide data transfer-centric scheduling and resource management capabilities. MDTM schedules and assigns system resources based on the needs and requirements of data transfer applications. The characteristics of individual data transfer process threads will be factored into core scheduling decisions, a feature that does not exist today. 

  • It will introduce topology awareness into process/thread scheduling as well. Data transfer threads belonging to the same data transfer will be assigned to the same nodes on systems. In addition, data transfer threads will be assigned to cores near the I/O devices they use (I/O device locality).

  • It will manage process migration among cores in a manner that minimizes the host-induced out-of-order packet issues that arise from unmanaged process migration.

  • It will introduce a capability for differentiated services and prioritization in process resource assignment and scheduling.

BNL’s contribution will be to adapt data transfer applications for MDTM.

“You can see the synergy between Fermilab developing the middleware itself and Brookhaven [providing] the hooks and necessary modifications to BBCP [a data transfer tool] to use it,” says the Network Research group leader, Phil Demar.

So, the team is preparing to soup up the engine and accelerate up the highway.

~ Clementine Jones

Summer interns 2013

In lieu of division spotlights this month, we'd like to share the activiites some of our summer interns have been working on. Click each intern's name for details of their work.

Antonio Anastasi
Bachelor's degree, nuclear physics
UniversitÓ degli studi di Messina - Dipartimento di Fisica e di Scienze della Terra
Tasha Arvanitis
Junior, physics
Harvey Mudd College
Hunter J. Briegel
Third-year, law
University of Edinburgh
Daniel Carter
High School Senior
Seton Academy, South Holland, IL
Madeline Kramp
High School Senior
Saint Charles North
James Mitchell
Junior, biology
Illinois Wesleyan University
Tiago Pais
Graduate student, computer science
Illinois Institute of Technology
Kyla Price
Sophomore, pre-medical studies
Northwestern University
Hao Wu
Graduate student,computer science
Illinois Institute of Technology

Tips of the month

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