Computing travel submission requirements have been updated
to make the travel documentation process more efficient and less burdensome for the Computing administrative staff. Please review the new requirements here
The Computing picnic was a great success. Thanks to everyone who came! Here are some photos of the picnic.
CIO Rob Roser wrote an article for CIOReview, a technology magazine, about the importance of high performance computing for science and industries. You can read the article here.
Reminder: The cutover to multifactor authentication will occur on Sept. 30. For information on what applications and resources this will impact and how to access the Fermilab MFA environment, see this Knowledge Base article.
Reminder: Fermilab KCA service will reach its end of life on Sept. 30. For more information and instructions on transitioning to a new method of authentication, see this Knowledge Base article.
A recent press release published by Oak Ridge National Laboratory focused on a successful collaboration between ORNL and Fermilab Computing. CCD's Network Research group, with Wenji Wu as the principal investigator for the project, developed MDTM, a high performance data transfer tool, and worked with ORNL to integrate MDTM into an ORNL framework with great results.
Employee Performance Recognition Awards
Vito di Benedetto
Luann O'Boyle is retiring after 36 years at Fermilab. Her retirement gathering will start at 4 p.m. on Sept. 30 in the Users Center.
Ruth Pordes is retiring after 36 years at Fermilab.
Thank you and congratulations Luann and Ruth!
(5, 10, 15 & 20+ years)
John Marriner-38 years
Gregory Cisko- 37 years
Luann O'Boyle- 36 years
Gregory Deuerling- 34 years
David Fagan- 28 years
Norman Ho- 28 years
Robert Harris- 27 years
Al Lilianstrom- 26 years
Patricia Cameron- 25 years
Stephen Kent- 25 years
James Annis- 23 years
Gustavo Cancelo- 23 years
James Simone- 23 years
Jon Bakken- 22 years
Rob Kutschke- 20 years
Kathryn Duerr- 15 years
Seth Graham- 15 years
Robert Hatcher- 15 years
Huan Lin- 15 years
David Dagenhart- 10 years
The water coolers have recently undergone a wardrobe change and have people turning heads! The bottles are donning their little black dresses to discourage algae growth in the cooler's mechanism. So please replace the cover after replacing the bottle.
Senior; Physics major
University of Illinois
This summer I've had the pleasure of trying my hand at several tasks. First and foremost, I rewrote and updated the cosmic ray Quarknet analysis software to make it more accessible for advanced students interested in processing more data for themselves. In the process, I invited students in Fermilab's Target Program to get involved themselves and realize the importance of computing, scientific or otherwise. I also utilized the extensive Quarknet database to see what kind of original research I could come up with.
Beyond this summer, I hope to put my improved skills to work and further my education in physics at the graduate level. I've always been interested in the use of computers to solve physics problems, but now I have a new appreciation for solving problems specific to computing. In the immediate future, I have my eyes set on research in Champaign entirely concerned with quantum simulations. My experience at Fermilab has definitely been great for me as a hopeful physicist!
Under Jim Kowalkowski's direction, I've been training recurrent neural networks to classify simulated MicoBooNE detector data. This is my first time working with recurrent networks, and I was able to study and test different recurrent structures and data presentation strategies. We used Keras, an opensource Python library for machine learning, which I found to be very accessible and would recommend to anyone who may be starting out with machine learning. Amitoj Singh was kind enough to get me started on using the Wilson Cluster and GPUs for training the neural networks, which can be quite time consuming without those resources. The experiments and results were detailed in a paper which I found surprisingly enjoyable to write, as it allowed me to organize and solidify what I learned. I was able to see positive results from experiments and, at the same time, see quite a few avenues for further exploration. That is one of the great things about the field of machine learning. It is also how I would characterize my experience at Fermilab.
Master’s degree in physics
University of Manchester
My work at Fermilab this summer has been focused in two main avenues. Firstly, improving chapters of the art workbook, an instructional document that includes activities to teach readers about the event processing framework called art that is implemented by experiments at Fermilab. Secondly, I've been working on merging two different pieces of software called LArLite and LArSoft that are used in simulating and recording interactions in Liquid Argon detectors.
From the CIO: Pursuing a more diverse workforce
Chief Information Officer Rob Roser
Creating a diverse environment in Computing continues to be a priority for me and my leadership team, so I want to cover a few items as it relates to diversity. First, we did some homework to compare how Fermilab computing professionals rank in terms of diversity with the other science labs. As of this year, we are in the middle, with 21 percent of our computing workforce considered “diverse.” Los Alamos leads the Office of Science complex with 36 percent, while the Ames Laboratory is at the bottom with 11 percent. Over the course of the next year, we hope to improve our numbers and move up in this ranking.
Earlier this month I, along with Cara Brown from WDRS and OCIO solutions architect, Krysia Jacobs, traveled to Austin, Texas to attend the Richard Tapia Conference on Diversity in Computing. This is the tenth such gathering over the past 15 years. It is now a yearly event.
The goal of the Tapia conference is to bring together undergraduate and graduate students, faculty, researchers and computing professionals from all backgrounds and ethnicities to:
- Celebrate the diversity that exists in computing;
- Connect with others with common backgrounds, ethnicities, disabilities and gender so as to create communities that extend beyond the conference;
- Obtain advice from and make contacts with computing leaders in academia and industry;
- Be inspired by great presentations and conversations with leaders with common backgrounds.
This was the first time Fermilab participated in this conference. It was a sizeable event with nearly 1,000 attendees. Corporate America was well represented with firms like Microsoft, Google, INTEL and others. And some of the other national labs (LBL, LANL, Sandia, Brookhaven and Oak Ridge) attended also.
We had a Fermilab booth, where we talked to students, and we sat on discussion panels and participated in poster presentations. By my estimate, the three of us interacted one-on-one with nearly 300 students, most of whom were nearing the end of their degree track and were looking for a next step, whether that be an internship, transitional job or permanent job.
Every person we spoke with impressed us. They were, to a person, confident, outgoing, technically skilled and engaged. We collected resumes, had them fill out some information about themselves and what they are looking for and discussed their career interests. We are now working with Cara to follow up with each of them.
It was an EXCELLENT experience, and we made many good contacts. I am optimistic that we can leverage what we learned and the contacts we made in order to raise our diversity game in the coming years. This conference is by no means a “one and done” event for us. There is a meeting in Chicago in November that Fermilab will participate in to talk to the local diverse computing community. We will track these contacts and learn how to attract a more diverse set of employees. We all stand to gain in this process.
At Fermilab we are familiar with working on experiments and projects that extend well beyond the limits of the Fermilab campus. Sometimes we forget that our work also extends into industry and other scientific fields. Scientific Linux is one exciting example of how a Computing project is doing just that. As the SL website states: “Our users come from a wide variety of industries with various use cases all over the globe – and sometimes off of it!”
SL is an operating system that provides a stable computing platform for anyone to use. It is a rebuild of Enterprise Linux customized to fit the needs of the HEP community. SCD’s Scientific Linux and Architecture Management group supports SL and ensures it continues to take advantage of the most up-to-date scientific software.
Since SL is an open source project with a goal of being easy for anyone to customize, we can’t know all the ways it is being used. One of the users we do know of is GE Healthcare. They customized SL to create their own “spin” called HELiOS and have been using it for about four years. Jim Foris, Dave Kraus and Dave Hinz from GE visited Fermilab for the most recent Linux quarterly meeting. “We work in diagnostic imaging,” they said. “The operating system goes into things like MRI and X-ray machines. If you’re in a hospital and you’re using a large imaging product, it probably is a GE Healthcare product, some of which use HELiOS.”
Due to the customization GE requires, they occasionally need to communicate with Fermilab’s SL group. “They bring issues such as building or rebuilding certain packages and we walk them through it in SL7,” said SL and Architecture Management group leader Bonnie King. “In a lot of ways the problems they’re solving are similar to the system engineering and management services we provide for experiments. We need really high disk throughput rates to deal with the amount of data we are getting from the experiments.”
To overcome similar obstacles, GE is working on ZFS, a file system they built and packaged for Linux. During the Linux quarterly meeting the visitors from GE discussed how they use SL in their imaging products and gave a presentation on ZFS. “We would like to continue to come to the Linux meetings and keep the lines of communication open," they said. "We want to see how we can help you guys because you help us a lot.”
It’s intriguing to think that the next time you go to the doctor for a MRI scan or X-ray and are wondering what exactly is going on in that complex machine, there’s a good chance it is running a version of Scientific Linux.
Enterprise Services Operations/Database Services
I started my career at Fermilab two years ago as an IT Associate in the Database Service group. Our group provides database services for the Oracle, SQL Server, PostgreSQL, MySQL and now, MariaDB, databases.
My role is to provide support for open source databases (PostgreSQL, MySQL and MariaDB) by installing and upgrading database software, assisting with database troubleshooting, analyzing and optimizing performance, completing backup and recovery operations and implementing security procedures regarding passwords and access. I also gather and maintain the metadata about the databases and web servers we support, and I keep my group’s database inventory spreadsheets and CMDB up-to-date.
I’ve worked on a variety of projects, most of them involving migrating to new hardware. We did a number of upgrade projects for Postgres databases. The most interesting project was migrating WordPress, VOMs and GUMs databases to MariaDB/Galera. The MariaDB/Galera cluster is a synchronous multi-master cluster for MariaDB, and it is gaining popularity among our users. We get more and more requests now to create MariaDB databases and to migrate/convert Postgres databases to MariaDB.
For the Oct. 17 power outage, we did a lot of prep work, verified all the backups and made sure all the databases came up healthy after the servers came back to life. In the near future, we’ll be working on upgrading and migrating the Electronic Collaboration Logbook Postgres databases. We are also in the process of evaluating whether to add MongoDB as an open source NoSQL database platform supported by our team. I am excited to start working on that as well.
In my spare time, I enjoy spending time outdoors, traveling, reading and trying new food and recipes. I’ve dedicated a big piece of my life to the sports of boxing and kickboxing, won three world titles, was a fitness trainer at one point of my career, and try to stay in a good shape and help my friends as well.
Scientific Computing Services/Scientific Data Processing Solutions/Scientific Database Applications
I have been at Fermilab for 19 years and worked on several experiments during my time here. In the last 10 years, my responsibilities focused on the CMS experiment. I developed the database applications for the CMS hadron calorimeter (HCAL) and the pixel detectors’ equipment management, and I developed the CMS database for calculating luminosities.
When the CMS experiment moved from construction and commissioning to data taking and physics analysis, my responsibilities changed accordingly. I started working on DBS (Dataset Bookkeeping Service), the CMS event data catalog used to track data provenance, construct datasets for analysis and discover interesting data. All data processing and physics analysis for CMS relies on the information stored in DBS. It is an essential part of the CMS data and workload management systems. I also worked on DBS2 and, now, DBS3. I led the DBS3 project design, code development and user support. We are very proud to have been part of the discovery of the Higgs Boson.
Now that DBS is a stable service that successfully supports CMS with the recent higher luminosity, I am leading and assisting with WMArchive, an archive service that stores data processing information. WMArchive will be used for debugging job failures, gathering data, processing statistics and planning resources.
While I spend the majority of my time on CMS, six months ago I started working on SAM, a Fermilab-developed data handling system used by all of Fermilab’s neutrino physics experiments. I assist with improving the database schema and queries of SAM NOvA databases while learning SAM. This new work brought me from the energy frontier to the intensity frontier. Working on both frontiers and exchanging ideas with different colleagues has been a great experience.
In my spare time, I enjoy spending time with my husband and two teenage children. I like watching them play soccer, doing science projects and traveling. I am training for long distance running and hope to run a marathon one day.
Now playing in the FCC lobby:
"Driving IT Value- Working on the Right Priorities," Tammy Whited, Pink16, Las Vegas, Nevada, Feb. 15. Services login required.
"Bringing Federated Identity to Grid Computing," Dave Dykstra, CISRC 16, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, April 6.
"Deploying a CMDB," Krysia Jacobs, NLIT 2016, Albuquerque, New Mexico, May 2.