The first Advanced Photon Source (APS)/User Strategic Planning meeting at the Abbey in Fontana, Wisconsin near Lake Geneva is designed to establish stronger ties between the APS and the user community. It is an opportunity to identify the strengths and weaknesses in the current relationship between the APS and its users, and to explore ideas that may be implemented in the future. Although a schedule of activities has been developed to facilitate a productive event, the success of the meeting will depend more on the constructive interaction of all participants.
The planned structure of the meeting includes a mixture of plenary sessions and sessions with small breakout groups. Each breakout group will have two or more discussion leaders to help guide the discussion and facilitate detailed exploration of the topic. Following the breakout sessions, each discussion leader will briefly report the results of the breakout session to all meeting participants.
On the first day, Murray Gibson and APS management will present a plenary session to describe APS strategic planning for 2002. This session will be followed by a series of four presentations by prominent APS users, who will help set the tone for the retreat event and address the topics planned for the breakout sessions. The speakers (Mark Rivers, Brian Stephenson, Keith Moffat, and Gene Ice) have been chosen from the environmental, physics and chemistry, biology, and materials science communities, and are expected to represent the broad needs of these communities as well as the needs of all users.
The talks in the User Needs plenary session are expected to address the following topics:
It is hoped that these presentations will provide a foundation for the discussions that will follow in the breakout sessions. In a resource-limited environment, tough choices must be made. Discussions from the breakout groups may help set the priorities for future enhancements, and offer guidance for the use of limited funds.
- Technical Issues (such as high current, beam emittance, beam stability, new insertion device (ID) designs, new fill patterns, storage ring energy, customized beta functions, etc).
- User Support (for example, equipment pools, staffing resources, sample handling issues, computer software development and maintenance, etc).
- Independent Investigator (II) Program (for example, importance of IIs, differences between II and Collaborative Access Team (CAT) member needs, APS and CAT roles).
- Publicity and Outreach (APS, CAT, and user roles).
- Compliance Issues (such as computer security, ES&H requirements and training, experiment safety, PSS, etc).
Session 3 – Breakout sessions
The success of the APS and the success of its user community are largely inseparable. The goal of the facility is to provide all the necessary means to the users so they can carry out world-class research. The user community is diverse and so are their needs. The organizing committee has identified four common areas that encompass most of the users' needs.
3.1. Technical Issues – (M. Borland and M. Beno):
The goal of this session is to identify parameters that will enhance both the performance and capability of the APS and the beamlines. Given limited resources, it is important to prioritize enhancement efforts. It is also necessary to understand that most enhancements involve trade-offs and to reach a consensus on which trade-offs are acceptable. Issues covered in this session may include:
3.2. User Support – (D. Mills and T. Gog):
- How important is beam stability and how might it be improved? What kinds of new diagnostics might be needed? Should the APS provide users with help in stabilizing beamline components and implementing feedback systems?
- Is higher beam current (e.g., 150 or 200 mA) worthwhile? What are the associated heat-load issues, both in the front end and in beamline optics? What are the implications for the bunch pattern, beam stability, etc.?
- How would reduced beam emittance benefit experiments? Is reduced vertical emittance of value or only reduced horizontal emittance? Are most experiments brilliance- or flux-driven? What are the implications on the beam lifetime, stability, bunch pattern, etc.?
- Are custom-tailored beta functions of interest to users? Are these feasible and at what cost?
- There are only a small number of customized IDs in the ring. Is there a need to develop specialized IDs for particular classes of experiments? Should we pursue smaller-gap devices using in-vacuum ID technology?
- Is the present top-up interval of 2 minutes optimal? What would be the implications of making the interval longer or shorter?
Recently, there has been an increased awareness that the APS could help the CATs by providing centralized support in various areas. This may include instrument sharing arrangements, computer-related help, or human support. The goal of this session is to identify these areas and outline ways to implement them. Some of the recommended topics may include:
3.3. How to Implement the Centralized II Program? – (D. Haeffner and L. Keefe):
- What type of equipment can be shared among users?
- Are detectors a good example for sharing? Is the APS planning to help develop certain types of detectors for users?
- Can computer support be centralized? If yes, is it a good idea?
- Are APS personnel needed to help operate certain beamlines?
- Can sample handling be centralized?
An essential part of APS outreach, and of its overall mandate, is access to the facility by independent investigators. Many CATs have established II programs and begun to host experiments by independent investigators. Other CATs remain at sufficiently early stages of their development that they have not yet set their II programs in motion. In this session, we hope to explore issues and problems associated with II access. Among these issues are:
Other questions, some metaphysical and some practical, will surely arise during the discussion; we hope to arrive at some conclusions about a few of these.
- Has access to the APS by IIs been impeded by the structure of the facility, either in reality or in the minds of users?
- Can the process of applying for II time be streamlined so that users both get and believe they can get rapid access?
- Should there be more uniformity in the submission systems for IIs among the various CATs, particularly those that work in the same scientific area?
- Are there ways that the APS can foster better exchange of information among CATs regarding overlapping applications and optimal use of the overall resource?
- To what degree is the CAT staff responsible for overseeing II experiments with an eye toward ultimate scientific success?
- What are the best mechanisms by which the CATs can choose II projects for which the probability of scientific success is high?
Session 5 – Breakout sessions
The reason for the existence of the APS is, of course, to serve the needs of the users. However, in order to stay strong and well-directed, the APS needs support and information from users. These breakout sessions will provide the opportunity for a dialog on what users can do to keep the APS strong and ensure that APS staff are familiar with user needs and priorities.
5.1 Publicity – (R. Fenner, D. Cookson)
Not only does APS need to publicize its capabilities and accomplishments, it needs to ensure that the capabilities and accomplishments of its users are well publicized. Many, if not most, of the accomplishments that might best publicize the value of APS are actually the accomplishments of APS users. Publicizing these accomplishments will help maintain funding and community support. In addition, it will alert researchers to the capabilities of APS and hence support the II program. The purpose of this session is to discuss and ultimately recommend ways of improving our publicity efforts.
Specific topics might include:
5.2 Funding and Advocacy – (J. M. Gibson, S. Durbin)
- What APS-produced publications might be of value in this effort?
- How should user publications acknowledge the role of APS and its capabilities in their research?
- How can APS be more effective in educational outreach?
- Would visiting teachers' programs be of value to acquaint the local community with the research done at APS?
- What resources and personnel are needed?
In addition to enhancing our reputation with the public and the scientific community, it is important that the APS be viewed in the best possible light by funding agencies. In recent years, for example, the perception has formed that APS users are less productive than users at other facilities, which has called APS funding into question. If the APS is to continue to operate as a highly-reliable x-ray source with ever-improving characteristics, we must have the support of our funding agencies.
This session will address ways users can help ensure APS funding by advocating APS with funding agencies. Possible topics include:
5.3 Communication Within the APS Community – (J. Quintana, G. Decker)
- Advising users on how and when to contact funding agencies.
- The type and degree of support that APS can provide for such activities.
- Effective ways to communicate with funding agencies the importance of user research and the unique role of APS in that research.
As a user facility, the APS cannot be effective without feedback and guidance from users. User feedback tells us how we are doing now, whereas user guidance tells us what we should try to do in the future. Equally important is the effective communication of information from the APS to the user community.
The APS staff strives to maintain stable, high-brightness beams for users. However, our diagnostics are limited in number and resolution. Accurate and timely feedback from users can be of great value in finding and mitigating problems. Possible topics for discussion include:
The APS user community is diverse and has many conflicting needs and plans. Special operating modes and accelerator modifications can serve many of these needs, but not without cost and possible adverse impact on some users.
- Would standardized methods of reporting problems be of value?
- Would standardized data-logging for beamlines be of value?
- What diagnostics and diagnostics software are or could be available uniformly on all beamlines?
- Can we provide real-time, standardized data from user beamlines to the accelerator control system?
- What forums would be appropriate for discussion of problems and potential solutions?
Finally, effective communications between the user community and the APS are essential. There are formal groups such as TWG, Research Directorate, and the APSUO Steering Committee. In addition, there are weekly CAT Chats, periodic II Administrator, CAT Administrator, and other ad hoc or aperiodic meetings of key groups or individuals. A critical evaluation of the effectiveness of these different communication channels is appropriate.
- How should decisions be made about special operating modes and potential upgrades?
- What forums would be appropriate for discussion and prioritization of options?
- What should APS do to assist those users whose experiments are adversely impacted by special operating modes and/or modifications?
5.4. Compliance Issues – (B. Glagola, W. McDowell, and W. Schieldkamp):
- Recommendations and suggested changes that would improve the communication between the APS, users, and CATs
- What new conduits can be established (such as the CAT liaison)? What communications could be expected through new channels, and which others become obsolete?
In keeping with the overall workplace culture of the Department of Energy (DOE), the APS is a safety- and security-conscious facility. No one disputes the validity of the DOE's concerns over safety and security, but questions often arise concerning the best ways for CATs to strive for compliance with the safety and security goals set forth by the DOE. In many instances CATs have committed many dollars and person-years of effort to complying with rules and regulations, and in some instances those rules and regulations change or become subject to subjective interpretation far down the road. Compliance can cover a wide range of topics, but in practice most of the contentious issues appear to involve experimental safety and computer security. In this session, we hope to explore compliance issues, including:
The Organizing Committee:
- Can we clarify the obligations of the CATs to monitor security problems associated with their computer systems?
- How can the CATs and the APS keep the computer systems secure and yet provide access to those who require it?
- Will the APS current system for scrutinizing the Experimental Safety Approval Forms remain in place, or should it be modified?
- How can the APS and the CATs work to streamline the management of samples as they are shipped on and off site?
- Can the management of hazardous materials be distributed between the CAT and the APS in more logical ways?