SLAC Users Organization Executive Committee


Minutes of the February 14, 1997 Meeting of the Users Executive Committee

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

1. Approval of Minutes

The minutes of the previous meeting on Dec. 13, 1996, were approved as distributed.

2. GLAST Membership in SLUO

L. Cominsky distributed a list of 33 GLAST collaboration members who are now in SLUO or have requested and been sent registration forms. This represents approximately 80% of the GLAST membership, and the Executive Committee is delighted to welcome this group into SLUO.

3. Insurance Subcommittee Report

L. Cominsky reported that this group (herself, J. Fry and R. Kofler) had met on 1/24/97 with R. Fuendeling and S. Williams of SLAC. She distributed a list of goals that had emerged from this meeting as items for further investigation before the next subcommittee meeting in March, which will also be attended by Stanford's Risk Manager. Further discussion centered on whether Use Agreements with SLAC/Stanford should be executed by individual users or by their home institutions. Cominsky quoted her university's Risk Manager as saying that only the latter is appropriate and meaningful, and it was determined that this is the case for SSRL users and for BaBar collaboration agreements.

4. SLUO Office Issues

5. ISDN Connections to SLAC

Ken Martell from SCS gave a presentation on the current status and future directions of the SLAC ISDN Pilot Project, summarizing the benefits and costs of this high-speed service. SCS recommends moving from the pilot project to expanded service initially supporting about 120 users by July 1997. Nauenberg requested a memo that SLUO could send to all users for their information.

6. Committee Reports

7. Discussions with SLAC Management

Burt Richter and Steve Williams joined the committee for discussions over lunch. Richter expressed general satisfaction with the draft agenda for the annual meeting, and will confirm the speakers and topics to be covered by the Directorate. In response to a question about SLAC's budget for FY98, he said it is too soon to say. The President's budget has only a very small increase for HEP, and a larger fraction of this will go to LHC if an agreement with CERN is approved.

L. Cominsky summarized the issues under discussion with the insurance subcommittee. Regarding conversion of the Central Lab shop area to user offices, Richter said the alternate shop space considered earlier had been used for another purpose, but agreed the matter could be explored further.

On the matter of issuing dosimeters, Williams said SLAC had not been aware duplication could occur, and he is working to eliminate this problem. On the other hand, he and Richter presented SLUO with a long list of users with out-of-date radiation training and asked for SLUO help with this.

SLUO expressed concern over growing difficulties getting visas for users from abroad, exacerbated by short staff in Ruth Nelson's office. Richter agreed there are problems at the U.S. Information Agency, and he is protesting the situation along with other institutions. Williams agreed to look into the question of staffing at SLAC. Mattison also said that Stanford has not sponsored foreign undergraduates for student visas unless they paid tuition, and that this made it difficult for non-U.S. institutions to bring co-op students to work on research at SLAC. Richter agreed to take this up with the university. (Since the meeting, discussions have been held and a satisfactory resolution of this matter is anticipated.)

Richter commented on the continuing problem of decaying infrastructure for U.S. university HEP groups under pressure from tight budgets. He feels a new system is needed, and pointed to examples such as I.N.F.N. in Italy, U.S. consortia for SSC work, and the NSF approach with Nevis Labs. He suggests users give input to DoE and the upcoming HEPAP subpanel.

8. Desktop Computing Support

Andrea Chan from SCS gave a presentation on the current status and future directions of support for Macintosh and Windows computers at SLAC. This style of computing has grown rapidly in recent years, but as of now there are just a few people at SCS doing central support while "casual" desktop support is provided at varying levels by people in the various groups around the lab. This model is not able to give adequate service, and SCS believes a more formal administration will be required, with more and better-trained (hardware based) personnel coordinated with SCS central support. This will require cooperation and help from all SLAC groups. There will be a Web page on this topic, and Andrea will keep SLUO informed.

Jacobsen reported that the situation with X-terminals and Unix computers is less satisfactory. SCS provides guidance but little hard support, and considers only a very short list of platforms. This will be discussed with Richard Mount, the incoming director of SCS, after he has arrived and assessed the situation. Meanwhile, a summary of the information that is currently available should be linked to the SLUO Web page in the near future.

9. Future Meeting Dates

The next meeting of the SLUO Executive Committee will be held on Friday April 11. A short discussion of the Annual Meeting is scheduled for 5 - 7 PM on May 15.

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


Stéphane Willocq