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Users Group: Board of Directors Minutes

Minutes of the meeting on Wednesday, June 20, 2001

Members Present:

Alan Nathan (Chair)
Charlie Glashausser (Past Chair)
Gail Dodge (outgoing)
Gary Adams (outgoing)
Haiyan Gao
Dave Mack
Mark Jones
Alicia Uzzle
Curtis Meyer (incoming)
Sebastian Kuhn (incoming)
Doug Higinbotham (incoming)

Lab Members Present:

Christoph Leemann
Larry Cardman
Dennis Skopik
Roger Carlini
Clara Perdue

The meeting started at 6:05pm with introductions and assignments. New members to the board are S. Kuhn (ODU) with responsibility for PAC issues, C. Meyer (CMU) with responsibility for EH&S, and D. Higinbotham with responsibility for Graduate Students. C. Glashausser, the new Past Chair, will be responsible for External Relations. Other continuing members and their responsibilities are H. Gao (Quality of Life), D. Mack (Running Experiments), M. Jones (Computers), and A. Uzzle (Graduate Students). Clara Perdue was introduced as the new head of the Users Liaison Office.

1. Laboratory, budget and accelerator status

Christoph Leemann reported on the Laboratory, budget, and accelerator status. It was reported that with the increased national security, JLab has become an object of interest for the local FBI office. The reasons why are not clear, and it is hoped that more will be learned during a Counter Intelligence Group visit at the end of July.

The next report was on the 2002 budget which is unclear at the present time. Nevertheless, the outlook is not nearly as rosy as we thought at the April BOD meeting, where there was some reason for optimism for a $10.7M increase in the lab budget. The numbers presented by Brad Tippens in the open session of the morning were not nearly so optimistic, largely based on the House markup for DOE Office of Science. The Senate has not yet acted, but there is hope that they will come out with a higher number. The difference will then need to be worked out by a conference committee. We discussed the possibility of organized and targeted visits to Congress by JLab and BOD members. Debra Dowd is the JLab local person to organize such visits. A discussion then ensued as to what would happen if the numbers presented by Brad Tippens in the morning session come through. Some reduction in force may be necessary, as well as a reduction in the available beam time. Already there are 30 fewer accelerator people than last year. Nevertheless, the lab is committed to expanding the in-house physics staff (both theory and experiment), as per the recommendation in the Sept. 2000 Science and Technology Review (see item 3 below).

[Note added: As of July 13, the DOE Nuclear Physics program budget would receive $373.0 million in the Senate bill. The House bill would provide $361.5 million. The Bush Administration requested $360.5 million. The current budget is $360.5 million.]

Christoph commented that some good news is that SIDAC money came through to support hardware acquisition for the Lattice QCD effort. There will be 600 to 700k per year over the next three years. There is also the promise of a theory position in Lattice.

It was commented that during the last meeting there was a worry about spare wafers for the polarized source. Larry reported that this is no longer an issue.

2. Update on 12 GeV upgrade

Larry Cardman reported on the status of the 12GeV upgrade. Dennis Kovar has assigned Jehanne Simon-Guillo to work through the process and to put together packages for all the projects that are being considered. The belief is that the lab will have "CD0" status within 6-12 months. CD-0 is the first step toward realization of the upgrade, and is the formal statement of "mission need" by DOE. The next steps, CD1 and CD2, require a Conceptual Design Report and a careful costing respectively. However, the definition of CDR has changed, and the White Paper from last fall together with the Hall D report and the "Interim Point Design" document about the accelerator are, together, are very close to what is needed. The whole upgrade process is a balancing act. The lab needs to invest to get it. The scale of the R&D is a couple of million. The hope is to be able to get to CD1 with modest expenditures. Currently the Physics Division is spending about $0.5M on R&D related to the upgrade, and the Accelerator Division is working on the prototype cryomodule as part of an AIP project aimed at more reliable beam operations at 6 GeV.

Another interesting issue is the cost of the upgrade, which is sold as $120M DOE and $30M from other sources. DOE is sensitive to early "narrowing" of the project because it can discourage foreign investment. There is a careful balancing act to keep all the numbers in sync. The most important issue is what will happen over the next few years under the Bush Administration. The $150M includes $50M for accelerator, $25M contingency and the remaining $75M for the 4 Halls.

As far as activity on the upgrade, only the cryomodule development and Hall D efforts are still active. The work in the other three halls wound down after the studies for the white paper. It is crucial that we push forward so that we are ready to go at any point in time.

3. Overview of the 2000 Science and Technology Review

Larry Cardman started by explaining that the lab has a "performance based contract" --- what comes out the end is important. This is done via a 1030 point score, of which about 1/2 is based on science. In order to judge this, a peer review is performed on the science and technology at the lab. The committee consisted of 4 Nuclear Physicists and 4 accelerator and FEL people. It should be noted that the review was conducted near the time that Herman Grunder left, and it was known that Nathan Isgur was ill.

The single theme for concern is the scientific leadership of the lab. The lab is addressing this by strengthening the theory group. A distinguished visitor program has been established and Yuri Siminov will be the first of such visitors. A position in Lattice QCD is being added and a new post-doc position is being added. There is also an effort to strengthen the physics division by adding a person per hall, thus giving the staff more time to pursue their own physics interests.

The research program and operations received very good reviews. It was commented that the jeopardy process is working and that there is significant impact from the science that was done. There were concerns raised about getting publications started in CLAS, and it was commented that the 12GeV upgrade is proceeding well. The SNS program is going well and was built up with minimal impact on the existing programs. The FEL has reached 1.7kw, which is a factor of 100 over other systems.

The interaction between the lab and users is effective, although issues such as space and resources for large experiments were raised.

The next S&T review will be in September, 2001.

4. PAC Issues

Larry Cardman made a very effective presentation showing in detail how the 3-year jeopardy process has helped reduce the backlog of approved experiments to 3-3.5 years in Halls B+C and a bit more in A. The impact of alternate time periods (3.5 or 4 years) was presented. Everyone agrees that both a backlog and jeopardy are necessary and the only issue is how many years. With the current jeopardy time lag of three years, if no higher rated experiment is approved in the 3 years, the experiment has a 93% chance of running. Gary Adams then reported discussions with the Hall leaders about jeopardy and the results were no apparent problems. Based on these discussions as well as on the Users Survey conducted in the spring, the BOD concludes that there is no compelling reason at the present time to change the current process.

5. User Survey

Alan Nathan emphasized two points. The first was to clarify the discussion at the last BOD meeting in which we asked that the PAC readers provide comments and questions to the spokespersons at least one week prior to the oral defense. The lab has always encouraged PAC readers (and, indeed, any PAC members) with questions about a specific proposal to air them with the proponents prior to the PAC meeting whenever possible. The one-week rule would provide the proponents with the best possible chance of addressing the questions in detail, should, for example, the answers require additional calculations or literature studies. That the PAC readers would contact the spokesperson even if there are no questions was felt by the BOD to be a modest incremental request that will reduce the number of sleepless nights among our user community by a measurable amount, and is, therefore, desirable. As of this writing, the policy is now instituted in PAC-20).

Office space also seemed to be an issue. About 25% of the users think that there is not enough space. Clara Perdue discussed how space is assigned based on % time it is occupied and the availability of space. She plans to do an inventory of usage over the next few months, but there was a general impression that the problem has been alleviated over the last year. She will report on her findings at the next BOD meeting.

6. Graduate Student Issues

Gail Dodge led the discussion. The thesis prize committee for next year will include BOD members and others, as necessary. The nomination target date is approximately March 1. A variety of other issues were discussed including

Gail will get together with Doug to bring him up to speed on these issues.

7. EH&S Issues

Alan Nathan brought up the presentation made at the October meeting by Bob May in which many changes were discussed. It appears that the web documentation is up to date, and more stuff is being put on the computers. As an add-on-note, Curtis Meyer went though ODH, RW1, and the Radiation Practical in 1.5 hours on Thursday June 21. He found that the study material was readily available on the web. The program is working remarkably well, and we would give the people who implemented this an "A".

8. Quality of Life

Haiyan Gao reported that office space is the only issue here. Christoph reported that the city has discussed building an ARC-2 building in which JLab could lease offices. However, no definite plans are in place.

9. Running Experiments

Dave Mack efficiently presented reports on the completion of several experiments.

A common problem theme appears to be related to radiation damage of equipment.

10. Computers

Mark Jones reports no burning issues. Curtis Meyer reported that there is a wireless network that is currently running in CEBAF Center, and that it is easy to connect in with a IEEE standard wireless card. Personal experience indicates that it is plug-and-play under Redhat 7.1, but a bit more work under Windows.

11. Executive session

During executive session, Larry Cardman presented a status report on the search for a new laboratory director. The search committee has completed its work and submitted a list of possible candidates to SURA. These names were discussed with the BOD.

The next meeting is set for Friday October 26, and the one after that is planned for February, 2002.