SLAC Users Organization Executive Committee


Minutes of the August 9, 1996 Meeting of the Users Executive Committee

Present: L.Cominsky, J.Fry, C.Hearty, S.Hertzbach, B.Jacobsen, J.Johnson, T.Mattison, U.Nauenberg, M.Piccolo(*), T.Schalk, S.Willocq, and R.Dufresne. (*) retiring member

1. Approval of Minutes

There were no amendments to the minutes of the previous meeting on May 16, 1996.

2. SLUO Executive Committee Election

The newly-elected members, Lynn Cominsky (Sonoma State U.), Chris Hearty (U. of British Columbia), Bob Jacobsen (LBL), and Terry Schalk (UC Santa Cruz), were welcomed by the committee. The retiring members, Mike Fero (MIT), Marcello Piccolo (Frascati), Frank Porter (CalTech), and Bruce Schumm (UC Santa Cruz), were thanked for three years of dedicated service.

New officers were elected for 1996/97:

The Executive Committee members on the various SLUO and SLAC committees were then updated as follows:

3. Washington Trip

Hertzbach gave a report on the second annual SLUO visit to Washington which took place in June. Hertzbach and Nauenberg (later joined by Charlie Prescott) spent three days in Washington and visited some 15 offices that included Massuchusetts and Colorado congressional offices, as well as Chairs/Heads of congressional committees.

Everyone was generally receptive and welcomed concrete information as, for example, the evolution of operating budgets available to laboratories and universities. It was felt that congressional representatives do not hear enough from scientists and that more effort has to be devoted to justify support for basic research to Congress and the general public.

More SLUO and users involvement would be desireable for next year. Cominsky also suggested more can be done via letter-writing campaigns. Such campaigns have been widely and successfully used in the astrophysics community. Letters can be used to educate but also used to describe how people are affected by budget cuts.

4. Miscellaneous Business

Ree Dufresne was commended by the Executive Committee for a very well-organized and well-attended end of the run party, which was held in the Sector 6 picnic area on Wednesday August 7.

A letter drafted by John Fry concerning the poor wide-area networking situation was presented and reviewed by the committee. It was agreed to have an updated version of this letter sent to Bob Woods of DOE very soon.

It was agreed to use electronic mail for next year's SLUO Executive Committee elections, in an attempt to increase participation.

Terry Schalk desribed the situation concerning the search for a new Director of Computing at SLAC. The former Director retired at the beginning of August and five people were selected by the Search Committee for full interviews. (This committee includes two representatives of the users community following SLUO's request to the Lab Directorate.) A new director will be appointed by the Directorate near the end of August.

5. Discussions with Management

Burt Richter, David Leith, Vera Luth and Steve Williams joined the meeting for lunchtime discussions.

Richter first discussed DOE budget prospects. He reminded the Executive Committee about the projected 25% cut in the Clinton Administration's Energy Research budget for the years 1998 through 2000.

We had a discussion regarding the recent search for a new DOE Head of the Office of High Energy and Nuclear Physics (highest non-political appointment level within DOE). We discussed the need for a high energy physics advocate in such a position. Luth (member of the Search Committee) indicated that interviews will start in September. Richter encouraged SLUO to write a letter to support any candidate selected by the Executive Committee.

Nauenberg said that a fair fraction of new users fail to register with the SLUO desk. He asked for ways to ensure that each experiment send new people to the SLUO desk. This is important for SLUO to keep the users database up to date and thus be able to communicate with the full users community. Williams indicated that new database software (PeopleSoft) will be put into use over the next year or so, which may improve tracking of SLAC users. Williams also offered to work with Ree Dufresne on ways to connect users to the SLUO office. The discussion shifted toward the use of the ID card and the film badge as it appears that the latter is effectively supplanting the ID card for access in and out of SLAC, including the radiation area. Richter said that temporary visitor film badges should not allow visitors to enter the radiation area without an escort.

On the subject of computing, Leith said that wide-area networking remains problematic but has been improved by increasing the bandwidth (in particular towards the UK) by a factor of 4 over the past 6 months. Leith was then asked to comment on the role of the future Director of Computing. He said that, among other things, the new director will provide a view of future computing for the Lab. The directorate stressed that hiring a new director will not change the basic role of SCS. However, computing resources will be better focussed.

Following the discussion from the last Executive Committee meeting, Williams said that the cost for auditing classes at Stanford University is $1690/quarter for any number of classes.

6. Particle Physics Education at SLAC

At the request of the SLUO Chair, Michael Peskin has agreed to organize and prepare a Supersymmetry Workshop for the SLAC experimental community. The workshop will start with a series of lectures to be held once a week for an hour and then students are expected to contribute with talks regarding experimental issues. The lectures will most likely be videotaped. SLUO will help working out the details before the Workshop is officially announced.

7.Action Items

On the topic of future DOE budget cuts, it was agreed to send background information and a list of recommended action items to the users, including a request to write to the White House to express their concern and the impact of the cuts on their own research or career.

On the topic of the search for a new Head of the Office of High Energy and Nuclear Physics, the Executive Committee agreed to write a letter stating our view about the search. Nauenberg will draft a letter and send it out ASAP.

The list of SLUO Institution Representatives needs to be updated. To do so, representatives of collaborating institutes from the various experiments at SLAC will be contacted.

8. Next SLUO Executive Meetings

The dates of the next two Executive Committee meetings were set for Fridays October 18 and December 13. A SLUO Social will take place on December 13.

Minutes submitted by Stéphane Willocq (Secretary/Treasurer Users Executive Committee)


Stéphane Willocq