SLAC Users Organization Executive Committee

Minutes of the December 13, 1996 Meeting of the Users Executive Committee

Present: L.Cominsky, J.Fry, C.Hearty, S.Hertzbach, J.Huber, R.Jacobsen, J.Johnson, T.Mattison, U.Nauenberg, T.Schalk, T.Usher, S.Willocq, and N.Adelman-Stolar.

1. Approval of Minutes

The minutes of the previous meeting on Oct. 18, 1996, were approved with one amendment: L. Cominsky noted the omission of a brief discussion regarding the state of the DoE education budget. This has been eliminated, and as a result the SLAC summer program for high school physics teachers will not take place in 1997.

2. Discussion of Recent SPC Meeting

Nauenberg reported his concern that there did not seem to be general agreement on the facts surrounding certain issues he had raised in his presentation to the SPC, such as network connectivity and laboratory use agreements. He suggested that we need to investigate these issues further.

3. Status of User Database

Nauenberg reported that there has been considerable progress toward compiling a new user database. It appears that the total number of SLAC users is close to 1000, and so far this includes only one new SLUO member from the GLAST collaboration. L. Cominsky stated that she would contact her GLAST collaborators to determine whether more have joined or will join SLUO. There has also been progress in establishing procedures to ensure that new users come to the attention of the SLUO office.

4. Status of SLAC Use Agreement

Nauenberg reported meeting with Rachel Claus (SLAC lawyer), David Leith and Steve Williams to discuss users' sensitivity to the language contained in SLAC's proposed use agreement. As a result, a revised draft of this document was distributed. Discussion ensued regarding what agreements are required at other labs, and over insurance issues affecting researchers and students working for extended periods away from their home institutions. It was clear that insurance coverage varies greatly depending on the institution. John Fry reported that the situation for European physicists working abroad is rather confusing, and liability coverage generally does not extend to the U.S. It was agreed to discuss these issues over lunch with the SLAC directorate.

5. Status of Network Connectivity

Nauenberg reported that R. Woods of DoE has agreed to talk to experts about problems with speed and quality of wide-area networks, in response to a letter from John Fry representing SLUO. He also reported that SLAC would sponsor and pay for users' dial-in accounts at Stanford through March 1997. Regarding other options for users, Tracy Usher passed out hard copies of SLAC Web pages which provide this information, and stated that choices should be based on a user's particular needs and on cost. It was felt that the information could be condensed and organized in a more "user-friendly" form; Usher and Schalk agreed to attempt this in the form of a new Web page.

6. Committee Reports

7. Letter from Fermilab Users

Nauenberg distributed copies of an e-mail he received from Patricia McBride of the Fermilab Users Executive Committee, and reported on further conversation with her by telephone. The subject was the possibility of joint efforts on visits to Washington, D.C., outreach to the general community, etc. After some discussion, it was agreed that collaborative effort was an excellent idea, and to pursue these questions further with Burt Richter.

8. Discussions with Management

Burt Richter and Steve Williams joined the committee for discussions over lunch. Williams confirmed that SLAC had arranged with Stanford campus to sponsor user dial-in accounts and to pay the charges through March. Starting April 1 users will have to pay, but can do so through a normal financial account at SLAC. The cost will be $12/month plus the usual 30% for SLAC indirect costs.

The issue of insurance coverage for users while at SLAC was raised and discussed at some length. Richter suggested that a SLUO subcommittee be formed to work with SLAC on this matter. The question of earthquake safety of the user Maze was also raised. Williams and Richter provided additional perspective on the report discussed earlier, emphasizing that the building was not categorized a "hazard to life" and that there would be further study to determine what improvements should be made.

Regarding discussions with the Fermilab users organization, Richter encouraged joint visits to Washington. He suggested a relatively small group working together, perhaps two each from the SLAC, FNAL and BNL users, so that different legislators and staffers would get a consistent message. The timing of the visits should be matched to that of the budget process, which varies from year to year.

Following these discussions with the directorate, Cominsky and Fry agreed to serve on a subcommittee working with SLAC on insurance issues. A third subcommittee member will be sought, perhaps from outside the Executive Committee. Nauenberg will continue conversations with other users organizations regarding joint efforts on matters of mutual interest.

9. Annual Meeting Agenda

Following previous discussion, a draft agenda for the annual meeting was prepared. Nauenberg will follow up with potential speakers.

10. Future SLUO Executive Committee Meetings

The next meeting will be on Feb. 14. If another meeting is needed before the Annual Meeting, it will be held on April 11.

Minutes submitted by Jim Johnson (Secretary/Treasurer Users Executive Committee)

PS: If you do not wish to receive hard copies of future SLUO minutes, please send Email to SLUODESK@SLAC.STANFORD.EDU

Stéphane Willocq