MINERvA keeps on rockin'
|Steve Manly, professor at the University of Rochester, takes data from the MINERvA detector in the UROC while connecting remotely with Rutgers University student Brian Tice, shown on the screen, at Fermilab.
MINERvA experiment collaborators were only a few months into running their detector when they learned about a scheduled18-hour power outage only two weeks away.
The scientists who run the fine-grained neutrino detector weren't about to let the outage to Wilson Hall, where the experiment's control room is located, affect the experiment's data taking.
"With all the efforts to construct the detector fresh in their minds, MINERvA collaborators see every neutrino as sacred," said MINERvA co-spokesperson Kevin McFarland.
To save run time for the fledgling detector, MINERvA collaborators worked with laboratory senior management, Computing Division networking personnel and accelerator operators to develop a workaround plan to reroute the data to another building, where it could be broadcast, and run the experiment from a collaborating university.
"This was a huge leap forward for us in remote operation," said MINERvA scientist Dave Schmitz, who serves as a run coordinator for the experiment.
Jeremy Wolcott, a student at the University of Rochester, spent two 40-hour weeks preparing a room for remote access. Although it wasn't intended for routine use until 2011, the University Remote Operations Console (UROC - pronounced "you rock" for the Guitar Hero generation), was ready by the day of the outage.
Back at Fermilab, Computing Divison's Don Gustafson and Orlando Colón devised a plan to add a second data connection from MINERvA to Feynman data center. Data from MINERvA comes from the detector to the data center located on the eighth floor of Wilson Hall. The second connection added redundancy to the experiment, which enabled the remote control room to access the experiment during the outage.
When the power outage began on the night of Friday, June 4, Schmitz and a few others on shift at the laboratory transferred control to collaborators at the University of Rochester.
"We saw that they were taking data so we shut down here. We remained on shift here from a conference room at CDF so that we could answer any questions or address any problems that could have come up," Schmitz said. "We had a very successful experience. The experiment kept on running."