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APS User News-at-a-Glance Issue 39: September 26, 2006
Advanced Photon Source www.aps.anl.gov
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CONTENTS
MESSAGE FROM MURRAY
1. Upgrade Planning in High Gear

FACILITY NEWS
2. Policy Changes Introduced for General Users: "Project" Proposals, Longer Durations
3. Proposal System Changed and Upgraded
4. Upgrade Update: Machine Advisory Committee Formed
5. Argonne Holds Open House--All Ages Welcome

OPERATION NEWS
6. Schedule Published for Run 2007-1
7. Feedback Sought: 1296 Singlet Mode to Be Discontinued
8. Feedback Sought: RHB Lattice Proposed as Standard, Watch Performance in October
9. Data Transfer Speeds: Networking at Argonne and the APS
10. Heat-Wave Heroes

BRIEFLY NOTED
--Applications Sought for Argonne Named Postdoctoral Fellowships (up to $92,000) by October 13

DATES AND DEADLINES

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MESSAGE FROM MURRAY

1. Upgrade Planning in High Gear

We are beginning to put together serious designs for energy recovery linacs, to supplement other options for storage ring lattice upgrades. As announced in item 4, we have convened an international Machine Advisory Committee, which will meet in November to advise us on the steps needed to deliver a revolutionary upgrade with minimum possible disruption to existing users.

While the x-ray source is the key to all synchrotron experiments, many other components can be just as important for experimental success--end stations, optics, detectors, and data-analysis software, to name a few important components. We plan to include major appropriate development programs in all of these areas as a part of our upgrade project.

I also want to bring to your attention an event last month that promises to be an important component, no matter which machine path we choose. A workshop on scientific software was held August 29 at APS, with an attendance of more than 50 experts, many from outside APS. In my opinion, improvements in performance, robustness, and user-friendliness of software for the analysis of x-ray data could have as much revolutionary effect on the scientific impact of light sources as any technical innovation in the source or beamlines. We were inspired by large-scale coordinated efforts in the closely-related field of neutron scattering, and in astronomy. The workshop involved very frank discussions of the current status and needs for better software, and we have tasked the organizers (to whom I am very grateful) with identifying one or two key areas on which we might begin to place some serious coordinated effort. I am committed to helping to foster such developments and am looking forward to the report from the workshop. The list of organizers and agenda can be found at
http://www.aps.anl.gov/News/Conferences/2006/APS_Upgrade/XSD-SciSoftware.html

Upgrade site: http://www.aps.anl.gov/News/Conferences/2006/APS_Upgrade/

FACILITY NEWS

2. Policy Changes Introduced for General Users: "Project" Proposals, Longer Durations

Beginning with Run 2007-1 (proposal deadline November 3), we will implement two important changes to the policy for General User access (policy linked at end of article).

1. All proposals will be active for two years OR until the number of shifts recommended by the appropriate Proposal Review Panel (PRP) have been used. The distinction between single-visit ("individual") and two-year ("program") proposal types has been eliminated.

2. Users may request "project" status for a proposal. Project proposals will receive reliable access to beam time over more than one cycle (up to two years). This status will be granted only sparingly. Users need to make an excellent case for why the work cannot be effectively accomplished under a standard two-year General User proposal. Proposals requesting project status will be evaluated both by the appropriate PRP and by a subcommittee of the Scientific Advisory Committee. If project status is not granted, the proposals will be considered for regular allocation on the basis of their scores. The same rules will apply for aging of scores, i.e., if a proposal does not receive time in a cycle, its score will be improved by 0.2 for the next run. A maximum improvement of 0.4 is possible.

We've revamped the proposal system to reflect these changes and at the same time made some additional enhancements. See item 3 for a summary, as well as an explanation of what will happen with existing proposals. We expect the updated system will be available October 15.

Overall, these changes implement recommendations made to the APS by the APS Users Organization General User Program Evaluation Committee. APS management studied and accepted the recommendations, which were also ratified by the APS Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC) at its meeting this year. We hope these changes will provide more efficient and effective access to APS beam time.

Contacts: Susan Strasser or Meg Vigliocco-Hagen, gu_program@aps.anl.gov
APS Policy on Scientific User Access (User Policies and Procedures Web Page): http://www.aps.anl.gov/Users/General_Reference/Policy_Procedures/

3. Proposal System Changed and Upgraded

As noted in item 2, significant changes in the General User policy have been adopted. The most noticeable corresponding changes in the online General User proposal system are summarized below. These changes are scheduled to be available October 15.

--Lifetime: The option to select proposal type (Individual or Program) will be eliminated. The number of recommended and used shifts will be prominently displayed, so you can easily see when a proposal will expire. When your proposal is due to expire, you will receive an e-mail notice.

--Project Status: The first screen (General tab) will contain the question, "Do you want this proposal considered for project status?" If you check yes, you'll be required to provide additional information. On the Questions tab, you will be asked, "Why does this proposal warrant project status?" You must also fully justify the need for the beamline(s) requested.

--Beam Time Requests: The techniques drop-down list has been moved to the Beam Time Request tab, as has the "rapid access" designation.

--Macromolecular Crystallography Proposals: A new drop-down list will enable you to select up to 11 key words that fit the proposal. These keywords will help us more effectively match proposal content and reviewer expertise.

--Existing Proposals: Here's what will happen if you have a proposal already in the system.

Under the new system, when your proposal is due to expire, you'll be notified in sufficient time to submit a new proposal for the upcoming run.

Contacts: Susan Strasser or Meg Vigliocco-Hagen, gu_program@aps.anl.gov

4. Upgrade Update: Machine Advisory Committee Formed

An important next step in APS Upgrade planning will be a technical evaluation by an expert committee of the various accelerator options we are considering. The evaluation will provide guidance to APS and its users on how to obtain revolutionary performance with minimal disruption to existing users. This review is scheduled for November 15-16, 2006.

The Machine Advisory Committee is a group of 10 internationally distinguished accelerator physicists who have very kindly agreed to participate. The list of members and the charge to the committee are published on the upgrade web site, which will also be updated regularly with details of the machine planning.

Web page for committee: http://www.aps.anl.gov/News/Conferences/2006/APS_Upgrade/Machine_Advisory_Committee.html

5. Argonne Holds Open House--All Ages Welcome

If you're in the Chicago area, here's your chance to show your family and friends where you disappear to for that mysterious thing called "beam time"! To celebrate the Laboratory's 60th anniversary, Argonne will hold an open house on October 7, from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The APS will be one of the featured stops. Visitors to the APS will be treated to a self-guided tour, taking in the atrium, fifth floor viewing gallery, and experiment hall overlook and concluding with a number of exhibits in the lower gallery. Separate presentations will be occurring in the auditorium.

OPERATIONS NEWS

6. Schedule Published for Run 2007-1

Run 2007-1 starts Tuesday, January 30 and ends Thursday, April 24. It features two weeks of 324 singlet mode (February 28-March 6 and April 18-24) and two weeks of hybrid fill (April 4-17).

Schedule: http://www.aps.anl.gov/Facility/Schedule/upcoming_schedule.htm

7. Feedback Sought: 1296 Singlet Mode to Be Discontinued

The APS Operations Directorate (composed of APS senior managers and user representatives) proposes to permanently discontinue the 1296-singlet non-top up mode beginning with Run 2007-1. The change will simplify control room operations by limiting the number of modes that operators must learn and implement. Users whose science would be adversely affected by this change are asked to contact Michael Borland, Operations and Analysis Group.

Contact: Michael Borland, borland@aps.anl.gov.

8. Feedback Sought: RHB Lattice Proposed as Standard, Watch Performance in October

During October, users are asked to watch for any adverse effects due to the new "RHB" lattice that will be used October 3-23 and for any effects of returning to the standard lattice. If no adverse effects are reported, the Operations Directorate proposes to make this lattice the standard for all operations.

The reduced horizontal beam size (RHB) lattice is a variant of the normal low-emittance lattice that reduces the horizontal beam sizes for beamlines 8-ID and 32-ID from 280 microns rms to 120 microns rms. This change will provide a dramatic improvement for some types of experiments, such as phase contrast imaging. All beamlines will see small increases (5%) in beam size and beam divergence, comparable to the normal changes during beamline steering.

Schedule: http://www.aps.anl.gov/Facility/Schedule/upcoming_schedule.htm

9. Data Transfer Speeds: Networking at Argonne and the APS

Provided by Information Technology Group

Have you ever thought, "Why is the data rate so slow when I transfer data from the APS to my home institution?" If you have, you are not alone. This issue has arisen at a couple of APS beamlines recently. The situation puzzled the APS networking staff because the APS and Argonne use modern, high-speed, high-capacity networking equipment. Extensive and time-consuming investigations followed.

In the cases we investigated, the network bottlenecks have been at the external sites and not at the APS or Argonne. The investigations involved troubleshooting network performance all the way from the APS to the home institutions. What we found was unexpected. We learned that some institutions have chosen to manage their bandwidth by using something called a "network shaper appliance." This device limits bandwidth based on user or computer traffic flows. It is meant to prevent a single user or computer from tying up bandwidth for a site such as a campus. It ensures that an Internet link that is shared by tens of thousands of users is not monopolized by a few "bandwidth hogs." What we have found implies such appliances and services are commonly installed at other institutions.

The APS must comply with DOE and Argonne cyber security requirements which specify that the network perimeter must be secured through the use of firewalls and other measures. The firewalls in particular seem to draw strong suspicion when network speed problems are encountered. The investigations undertaken have shown that the firewalls have a minimal effect on network speed. Numbers obtained during testing show that real network performance is very close to the theoretical maximum.

Argonne and the APS are committed to high-speed networking that fully supports our scientific mission. Supporting both high-speed networks and maintaining a secure networking environment is a significant challenge. However, by using the latest technologies, the APS has provided an excellent solution.

Likewise, the APS is committed to providing network performance to meet beamline requirements. The Information Technology group has been contacting vendors to stay abreast of new technologies and product announcements. If you believe you have future demands that will push network capacity, please contact the APS IT group so that we can plan accordingly.

Contact: Ken Sidorowicz (kvs@aps.anl.gov)

10. Heat-Wave Heroes

This summer, thanks to valiant work by Argonne 's Plant Facilities and Services Division, the APS survived a string of 18 exceptionally hot days (above 90 degrees) without a single loss of beam. All four chillers were operating at full capacity, circulating about 8000 tons of coolant--enough to cool about 3200 houses. Foreman Jim Golema and his team of five operators "babied" the chiller system 24 hours a day, watching for the slightest hint of a potential upset. Golema says, "The extreme temperatures, combined with high humidity and high dew points, created quite a challenge, and I feel these guys handled it very well." Their task was even harder because it happened right in the middle of a construction project: a fifth chiller was being installed, piped, and wired just when the system was most touchy! The new unit, which came on line in late August, brings much-needed reserve capacity to handle future Chicago summers. The APS is grateful for the hard work of Jim and his team: Dale Baulac, Dave Caldwell, David Kosicek, James Rohlfing, Wayne Sampson, and Gary Siatka.

BRIEFLY NOTED

Applications Sought for Argonne Named Postdoctoral Fellowships (up to $92,000) by October 13
Candidates are currently being sought for Argonne named postdoctoral fellowships. The deadline is October 13. The 2007 fellowship carries a stipend of $72,000 per annum with an additional allocation of up to $20,000 per year for research support and travel.

Info: http://www.anl.gov/Careers/namedpostdocs.html

DATES AND DEADLINES

Regularly scheduled technical meetings -- http://www.aps.anl.gov/News/Meetings/
Proposal system -- http://beam.aps.anl.gov/pls/apsweb/gup0005.start_page
Ops. Monthly meetings -- http://www.aps.anl.gov/News/Meetings/Monthly_Meetings/
User calendar (admin. meetings, reviews) -- http://www.aps.anl.gov/Users/General_Reference/Calendar/

The detailed calendar has been omitted from this issue and may be omitted in future. If you feel that this feature should be retained, please write to Jane Andrew, jandrew@aps.anl.gov.