Meetings and Minutes
Minutes of the October 8th 2005 UEC Meeting
Present: Alton, Casey, Chertok, Diehl, Finley,
Gollin(phone), Kopp, Merritt, Nguyen, Quinn(video), Trischuk
Apologies: Bertram, Hughes
From the GSA: Aguilar-Arevalo, Cuenca Almenar, Degenhardt, Maki,
The Chair called the meeting to order at 9:05 am.
The new GSA officers were introduced to the committee. They are:
Alexis A. Aguilar-Arevalo, Columbia (MiniBooNE)
Cristobal Cuenca Almenar, UC Davis (CDF)
James Degenhardt, U. Michigan (D0)
Tuula Maki, U. Helsinki (CDF)
Leah Welty-Rieger, Indiana (D0)
The Committee first heard reports from the Outreach, Users Meeting,
and Quality of Life Subcommittees.
OUTREACH (Gollin, Quinn, Casey, Kopp)
George Gollin reported on the first meeting of the Outreach Subcommittee,
which focused on what the goals should be for this year. The goals
- that universities will play larger role earlier in these projects. There
was consensus that this would help the level of vigor at the lab.
- increase opportunities to do outreach back at the Users' universities
and home towns. It was noted that collaborators on 'big science' projects
face a particular challenge in having visibility within their departments,
universities, and local schools given the remote location of their host
laboratory in Illinois. Possibilities might include traveling exhibits,
fixed exhibits at museums, and video productions. It was suggested that
the Fermilab Education Office be consulted for their logistical experience
with such efforts.
- increase the amount of political outreach through grass-roots efforts;
help universities in their government outreach efforts that are supportive
of HEP and Fermilab (and basic research in general). Opportunity to
simultaneously emphasize the importance of universities to the
preservation of our national capacity to do basic research.
USERS MEETING (Casey, Trischuk, Bertram, Alton, Nguyen, Kopp)
Brendan Casey discussed the plans for the Users Meeting Subcommittee.
From consultation with last year's subcommittee chair, he has determined
goals for 2005 work for this subcommittee.
- form subcommittee (done)
- set date: most likely Wed-Thurs May 31-Jun 1 2006 with New Perspectives on June 2. Dates cleared with most people at FNAL, URA, and the collaborations.
- thinking about major themes
- thinking about high-profile speakers, with goal of invitations by November
The question was asked whether the Users Meeting could be more of a
showcase for younger people in the field. It was suggested that the UEC
could help facilitate recruiting for talks for New Perspectives - perhaps
by helping to expand the audience.
Sacha Kopp presented the issue of a lab-wide calendar of meetings,
workshops, reviews at the Lab. In discussions with the Directorate, he
found that many meetings like reviews are not considered open meetings. He
pointed out that the Top Turns Ten symposium had not been advertised
offsite (by Oct 8) because it had not yet been approved as a DOE
conference. He will continue investigating if something can be done.
He also reported a request for a womens' dorm at the lab. There are 92
dorm rooms at the lab, with a typical occupancy of 2-3 women at any one
time. A womens' 'corridor' might be more practical than a womens' dorm.
Comment: some women may be annoyed by having to go to a different venue
than male colleagues. Such an block of rooms, if it proves possible,
would be made available as an option rather than as a 'requirement.'
There were suggestions to take this up in the QOL Subcommittee. It was
noted that Brookhaven has had a womens' dorm and may still have one.
Users with opinions (either for or against) should contact either Sacha
Kopp (email@example.com) or QoL chair Tom Diehl (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Kopp commented that the DC Trip Subcommittee is well staffed, but that
other subcommittees as well may need more help. The GSA officers were
invited to sign up for the subcommittees.
QUALITY OF LIFE (Diehl, Alton, Finley, Merritt, Kopp)
Tom Diehl reported on the first meeting of the Quality of Life
Subcommittee. There was presentation from Alton on the previous year's
activities. These included a Career Night, which should be continued and
the QOL committee will need GSA help with this. The QOL subcommittee will
take up the QOL of women at Fermilab as a new initiative. The first step
is information gathering, and they are thinking about a survey. The
womens' dorm experience listed above is an example. The women_scientists
mailing list should be more widely advertised, perhaps. Finley pointed
out that QOL for women users should be the particular concern of the UEC.
The next subcommittee meeting will look at how to proceed. The
subcommittee took up the issue of the closing of the email center and
discovered (as mentioned below) that the closure was temporary. Diehl
mentioned that the subcommittee has a lot of lab experience, but is
looking to the GSA and other UEC members for current direct experience for
non-lab employees. There is a web page, which will be updated in the
future. There will be a meeting next month, the date still TBD.
James Degenhardt reported that the GSA has reserved the Barn for its
annual Halloween party on Oct. 28.
REPORT ON NEW ID BADGE PROTOCOL
Assoc. Director Bruce Chrisman gave a presentation on "Changes in Fermilab
ID Procedures". He gave the history of the DOE directive we are required
to follow. Fermilab will be required to move to a unified style of badge
used by all government organizations. For current badge holders
(including users), nothing will change for at least a year (even if badges
need to renewed). Changes will soon be felt by those first registering
for an ID badge.
In the first phase of the program, background checks are required for all
new employees and users who are US citizens requiring long term (> 6
months) PHYSICAL access to site. Background checks include
fingerprinting. Short term badges may be issued before the completion of
the background check, but must be physically distinct from long term
badges. (Non citizens are excluded because they already have a separate
validation process.) The cost of the background checks will be a minimum
of $100, rising to $1000 or more if flags are raised. It was noted that
this is a substantial cost for 3000+ users at FNAL.
The second phase of this program requires badges with biometric
information and other information about the individual (possibly to
include the Social Security Number) on an encrypted chip on the badge.
This will raise the cost of the badge itself from $1 to $20. This phase
is scheduled for 10/2006, but may slip. Current users will have to get
new badges and receive background checks by 2008. Information collected
in the background check is supposed to be protected by the Privacy Act.
The Lab's intention is not to keep the information but to shred.
The background checks will not apply to badges issued for family members.
None of this affects the procedures for site access, which can be
accomplished with a driver's license at Fermilab.
This information has been disseminated through Fermilab Today, at the All
Experimenters meeting, and will be posted on the web with a FAQ next week.
It was pointed out that the time cycle to implement this in the DOE was
quite fast, and other changes may yet come to the program.
VISIT WITH DIRECTOR ODDONE
Next, Director Pier Oddone discussed some questions submitted earlier by
Q: Is there any further news on the shutdown(s) scheduled for 2006?
Will the Oct. 2005 shutdown still be slated for March 2006? Will there be
another shutdown later in 2006? What is the current thinking for the
stacktail cooling installation?
The Director had expected to make the final shutdown decision in the past
week. Another variable has been introduced, in that the lab has been
invaded by zebra mussels. They are present in the cooling systems, and
another goal of the shutdown will be to take care of the zebra mussels
proactively. The recommended treatment requires a temperature of above 55
degrees Fahrenheit, for a duration of 5 weeks. This limits the ability to
move the date earlier than March 1. The plan requires this one-shot
treatment plus ongoing efforts to keep the internal cooling system
mussel-free. The final determination is not complete yet. Beginning the
treatment before the shutdown is not an option, because of possible
complications from the killed mussels plugging the system. The amount of
work required in the accelerator has now expanded, and may come close to
filling the 14 weeks. The neutrino program may not be able to come back
early, because of the cooling water problem. The information to fully
work out the schedule is not yet available. It is flagged as a problem
that this issue was not folded in to the overall shutdown planning
earlier. We also need an environmental permit to undertake the mussel
procedure which is not yet in hand, but is thought to be obtainable in
Q: Users Meeting: The Director was asked about the Users Meeting date,
and agreed that he will block out May 31-June 1.
Q: What is the Lab's impression on the cancellation of RSVP (K0PI0 and
MECO) and the possibility for doing this kind of flavor physics in the
The Director agrees that the US has gotten out of flavor physics, and that
the way in which this was decided was not optimal as a decision-making
process for the field. The intricacies of NSF funding and why it could
not invest in flavor physics at Fermilab (but could in principle at
Brookhaven) were discussed. The funding route that permitted RSVP to go
for large-facility funding (MREFC) at the NSF would likely have worked if
a DOE commitment to operate RHIC was available, but such a commitment was
not available. Whether to investigate this NSF funding track for NOvA
was raised, but the Director pointed out that the DOE route might well be
faster. The Director made the point that in the Proton Driver scenario,
several new physics programs become possible; e.g. 8 GeV neutrinos for a
very long baseline program and a rare decay program. On the other hand,
the Proton Driver scenario might be superceded with a sufficiently low ILC
cost estimate. So having the relevant discussions with agencies right now
is hard. There is a program to give > 1 MW to NOvA using the existing
accelerator complex which is not very costly, if we are in the fast track
ILC scenario, but that program has no protons left for MECO.
Q: What is known about the status of HEPAP, P5 and its Scientific
Assessment Groups such as NuSAG?
HEPAP is going to continue, and a new chair, deputy, and membership are
being recruited but not yet publicly announced. It is noted that the P5
report is due in 3 weeks, but the body to which it reports needs to exist.
The Director noted that the SLAC P5 visit went well, as of course the
Fermilab visit did as well. He expects that P5 will see clear running
through 2007 and that the 2008 running will be budgeted for in the 2006
planning. The NuSAG report on NOvA and reactor neutrino initiatives is
expected soon. The reactor neutrino experiment is looking for Fermilab
Q: What were the notable news items from the ICFA meeting in Korea?
There was no big news, but it was a good opportunity to hear plans from
the other laboratories in a systematic way. It was interesting to see the
strength of HEP in Korea - 300 HEP physicists, including 90 machine
physicists, and there are ambitions to build something in Korea. They
discuss building larger accelerator in Korea, shooting a neutrino beam to
Japan, and possibly also having a spallation neutron source, for example.
At ICFA, the biggest discussion was the future evolution of ICFA, given
labs like SLAC and DESY leaving accelerator-based HEP. The light source
community, for example, is regional and tends not to need international
collaboration at the same level, so broadening ICFA in that direction
makes little sense. However, ICFA could be broadened to large projects in
HEP that are not accelerator-based. But there is already such an
international body PaNAGIC dealing with those projects - under the
auspices of IUPAP - and ICFA's move in that direction might not be
welcome. There was also an ILC Steering Group meeting, and meetings of
the regional committees (a lot of work for Barry Barish, to report to all
these groups). Barish is working very hard to keep ILC activities very
international. (Question from the audience: was anything in particular
behind the talk at ICFA on the VLHC? Answer: the talk was basically just
COMPUTER SECURITY AT FERMILAB
The Committee heard a presentation from Irwin Gaines on "Recent Computer
Security Changes". He noted that the DOE is excited and concerned about
computer security. It has been getting bad grades on recent audits (not
necessarily for real insecure practices, but for process issues). The
burden from Congressional requirements is rising in two ways - guidelines
are morphing into requirements, and the applicability to all computers on
the network is broadening. Because Brookhaven failed its audit rather
badly, DOE has cancelled its upcoming audits (including ours) and instead
is doing 'not for attribution' audits. It is important to do well on the
NFA audit, in order not to be given instructions to do the same things
Brookhaven had to do.
Specifically, it will be necessary for the NFA audit to prove our level of
security. This means more documentation and a higher percentage of
sysadmin registration. Machines without registered sysadmins will be
blocked from the network at some point. Also, machines without up-to-date
patches and virus signatures will be blocked. Machines will need
password protected screen savers. The lab is doing penetration testing
now, to prepare for the audit. The auditors will also be trying tricks
such as virus-infected provocative CDs left around, attempts to obtain
passwords with phone calls, etc. Services will be restricted on
non-supported configurations, and sysadmins of non-supported
configurations have to document their system maintenance. Email from
offsite from email@example.com will be blocked unless authenticated (most
people already do this). Outgoing mail will be blocked at the border
router unless it comes from the lab's smtp server. The procedures will be
announced in Fermilab Today as they go into effect.
Question from the audience: when a critical vulnerability is found on a
user machine, the process requires human intervention to unblock and this
can destroy a visit to FNAL because of the time lag. Gaines reported that
unblocks will soon be automated, which should help. Question: can one be
pre-scanned at home before coming? No, that's hard.
Gaines was asked about the closing of the email center: it was in order
to move the helpdesk to that location, and should be reopening soon
(within the week).
REPORT ON NOVA
John Cooper gave a talk on "NOvA Project Status and Opportunities for
New Collaborators". This is an experiment to measure nu-mu to nu-e
oscillations at the atmospheric oscillation length. Nova's uniqueness is
the ability to unravel the mass hierarchy. It can measure theta13,
provide more precise theta23 and delta-m23-squared, and look for sterile
neutrino effects. The revised NOvA proposal is a low-Z tracking
calorimeter and a 30kt totally active liquid scintillator proposal. It
has stage 1 approval from Fermilab. NuSAG will report on Nova at the end
of Oct 2005. Cooper described the detector in some detail, and noted that
portions of the detector cost are unfortunately driven by the price of
petroleum. He also discussed site possibilities, the progress of the
environmental work needed, and the project organization.
It is desired to start construction in 2nd quarter FY07 by applying for
NOvA funding as a Major Item of Equipment (MIE) through DOE. Working
backwards from that date implies progressing from CD1 to CD2 in only 3
months - a very tough assignment. If NOvA qualifies as a Congressional
budget line item, funding in FY08 requires CD2 by June 06. There is room
for interpretation in whether NOva really is an MIE, and also on the level
of review required by what time, so there are investigations still ongoing
regarding those issues.
Cooper pointed out that the collaboration has a large overlap with MINOS,
but 1/3 of the proposal authors are NOT on MINOS. The collaboration could
use more people and is certainly not a closed shop. They are talking with
Indian and Italian physicists, with BTeV people, and there is a statement
from the CERN Director General that some CERN physicists can participate.
Future meeting dates: November 19 and December 10.