Software collaborations help physics
Ruth Pordes, associate head of Fermilab's Computing Division, wrote this week's column.
Most of Fermilab's scientific software development activities involve broad, and even multi-disciplinary, collaborations across many Department of Energy laboratories and universities.
Two recent events highlight these collaborations: the DOE's Scientific Discovery through Advanced Computing 2010 annual meeting and the contributions of the Open Science Grid to the Tevatron's Run II and the LHC's results. Both of these were recently discussed at the International Conference on High Energy Physics.
At SciDAC 2010, a panel of industry experts selected the Community Petascale Project for Accelerator Science and Simulation, led by Panagiotis Spentzouris, as a 2010 SciDAC breakthrough. The panel chair said COMPASS carved a "..rightful new place for accelerator modeling on the high performance and exascale computing challenge map."
The breadth of the science presented at these conferences continues to amaze me. Some of the topics hit close to home, including: lattice quantum chromo dynamics, accelerator modeling and the unique computing challenges the scientists working on the LHC are solving.
Achieving these results requires partnerships between Fermilab physicists, physicists from multiple laboratories and computer science groups that help scientists with performance analysis and tuning, workflow and other software methodologies.
Fermilab users, the Computing Division and the CMS Center are major partners in the Open Science Grid - a very broad community including physics collaborations, other sciences and distributed computing computer science groups.
It is gratifying to see how this culture of sharing has enabled DZero to gradually increase their event simulation scale by using more and more remote sites. CDF has similarly benefited. They can add sites using the software system developed by the high-energy physics, internet technology and computer science communities.
OSG also allows the U.S ATLAS and U.S. CMS collaborations to make significant contributions in data distribution and processing. The computing and software services provided in the U.S. have withstood well the increased workloads seen in preparation for conferences such as ICHEP.
It is exciting to see how CD computing collaborations, especially with our partner DOE laboratories and the university Fermilab users, continue to foster and stimulate a "whole larger than the parts" in many areas of software and computing - contributing to the science results reported!