Minutes of the APSUO Steering Committee Meeting

Held on August 14, 1997, at Argonne National Laboratory


C. Abad-Zapatero, R. Alkire, M. Beno, R. Bubeck, D. Chapman (APS Update only), S. Dierker, P. Eng, D. Haeffner (APS Update only), E. Isaacs, D. Keane, B. Oosterhuis (APS Update only), C. Pittroff, G. Shenoy (APS Update and Close Out only), G. Srajer, L. Stefanski (APS Update only), S. Strasser, S. Sutton, and J. Tischler.

Routine Business:

The minutes of the previous meeting were approved, and a brief discussion was held regarding how to access the archived minutes on the Web. The action items from the 4/17/97 APSUO Steering Committee Meeting were reviewed. Dean Haeffner and Dean Chapman were introduced; Jon Tischler indicated they were present to discuss the action item involving a possible APS-CAT Technical Working Group (TWG) workshop.

APS Update:

Gopal Shenoy began the APS Update by welcoming new and continuing Steering Committee members. He presented a list of past Steering Committee Chairs and briefly discussed the Committee's history. An overview of storage ring operational statistics was given, beginning with the effects of the slow and fast orbit feedback systems on ring stability. The goal of 90% beam availability for the October, 1997, run was reiterated. He reviewed x-ray availability statistics for recent runs. The current and long-term beamline operations schedules, also available on the Web, were reviewed as well. The upcoming run was pointed out as the longest User run conducted to date. The experience during this run will be valuable for future planning of User operations.

The APS-CAT beamline status was discussed. Currently, 58 stations are approved to receive radiation, and about 15 beamlines have actual experiments being conducted on them. Three new sectors, all with funding in place, were recently approved by the Program Evaluation Board (PEB): a fourth sector for polarization research for SRI-CAT, a "fee-for-service" sector for Commercial CAT (COM-CAT), and a sector for Structural Genomics CAT (SG-CAT). At this time, only the SRI-CAT sector location has been assigned. With these approved sectors taken into consideration, 11 sectors remain available around the ring. Letters of Intent (LOIs) for four new CATs are currently active: an imaging CAT (approved), a high-pressure CAT (in preparation), a structural biology CAT (under consideration), and a pharmaceutical CAT (also under consideration). If all active LOIs result in approved sectors, seven sectors would be left undeveloped. The need for funding for LOM space to support additional sectors and equipment behind the shield wall (IDs and FEs) was discussed.

The shortfall in the President's 1998 APS budget relative to the projected needs of the APS was discussed. Although the expected budget shortfall may only have a limited short-term impact on facility operations, it could potentially affect User operations in the long term in a major way (e.g., no available spares, loss of technical expertise, etc.).

Concerns over the possible closing of an existing synchrotron facility and funding for fourth-generation light source R&D were discussed in the context of the BESAC panel's recent study. The structure and membership of the Birgeneau Committee and an overview of the committee's trip to the four synchrotron facilities were reviewed. The committee's final deliberations will take place in Boston, Massachusetts, during mid-August. Linda Horton of Oak Ridge National Laboratory is collecting data about Users from the various facilities for the panel report and will be at the APS on Monday, August 18, 1997, to speak with Users about their opinions, concerns, and issues regarding the APS as a synchrotron facility.

G. Shenoy concluded the APS report by briefly touching on the topic of Argonne's traffic safety policy. The two most common violations at ANL are speeding and failure to stop at stop signs.

Questions were raised about APS development plans for the remaining sectors on the ring with respect to the concept of technique-specific beamlines. J. Tischler commented that he would make the PEB aware of the APSUO's interest in the establishment of dedicated beamlines around specific techniques.

Executive Session:

Diffraction Controls Workshop: D. Haeffner and D. Chapman clarified the relationship between the TWG and the APSUO and highlighted the potential and planned TWG workshops and working groups.

Election of a Vice-Chair: The duties of the Vice-Chair of the APSUO Steering Committee (primarily serving as Program Chair for the next User meeting) were reviewed by J. Tischler. Nominations were requested from the group, and voting resulted in the election of Steve Dierker to the position.

Draft 1998 APS User Calendar: Susan Strasser presented a draft calendar and asked the group to check the dates for potential conflicts. The issue of the frequency of APSUO meetings was raised. It was noted that the meetings are approximately quarterly, with a strategic meeting scheduled seven weeks before the Ninth Users Meeting.

Eighth Users Meeting for the APS: Recap: J. Tischler reported on feedback about the Eighth Users Meeting; the technical presentations and workshops were well received (especially Sunil Sinha's "Introduction to the APS"), while the historical focus of the mini-symposium, and the banquet speaker and food received less favorable reviews. It was observed that too many parallel workshops were held, which led to distracting pedestrian "traffic" during some talks. It was also felt that the User Meeting itself was somewhat lost among the workshops.

Ninth Users Meeting for the APS: Initial thoughts were that the major focus of the next meeting should be current science at the APS, and that the meeting should be held first, followed by the workshops. The group agreed that a repeat of an introductory or "tutorial" workshop about the APS (similar to S. Sinha's at the eighth meeting) would be well received. Only two parallel sessions for workshops were recommended. The following timetable for the Ninth Users Meeting in 1998 was proposed:

Monday 10/12


Vendor set-up



User Meeting facility/agency talks
User Meeting scientific talks

Wednesday 10/14


User Meeting scientific talks
APSUO Workshops
Poster Session


all day:

APSUO Workshops

APS Compton Award: Connie Pittroff briefly reviewed the recently updated Web page highlighting the Compton Award. It was suggested that a call for nominations go out in January, 1998, and that responses are requested by March. A special meeting will be scheduled in early summer to consider responses. It was suggested that the Compton Award be presented at the Ninth Users Meeting banquet and that the award talk(s) be given at the banquet also.

Independent Investigator Program Status: A general overview of the II process (recently posted on the Web on the User Information page under the Access heading) was included in the meeting packets. Discussion was held about mechanisms such as surveys or close-out forms for obtaining feedback from IIs to evaluate their satisfaction with APS and CAT performance and services. The Steering Committee recommended that CATs have guidelines from the APS regarding how to assess II satisfaction. Randy Alkire, Peter Eng, Denis Keane, and George Srajer volunteered to develop a draft model II Satisfaction survey form. Additional discussion focused on how the PEB evaluates CAT II programs. S. Strasser will furnish Steering Committee members with a copy of the policy on PEB evaluation of CATs. It was suggested that the APSUO develop a document that stresses to CATs the importance of the II program and emphasizes that the PEB will evaluate each CAT on the success of its II program (among other things). The scheduling by CATs of beam time for IIs will require that a firm, long-range operations schedule be established by the APS; this schedule should include advance notification of special operations.

Close Out:

Jon Tischler reviewed all Executive Session topics; Gopal Shenoy congratulated Steve Dierker on his election to Vice-Chair .

Next Meeting:

The next meeting of the APSUO Steering Committee will be held on Thursday, October 30, 1997, in Building 401 (APS Central Laboratory/Office Building), Room A5000, beginning at 9:00 a.m.

Action Items:

  1. Relay the APSUO Steering Committee's interest in technique-specific beamlines to the PEB (Jon Tischler).
  2. Provide input to S. Strasser regarding the proposed 1998 User-Related Meetings calendar (all Steering Committee members).
  3. Provide the committee with a copy of the policy governing the PEB's evaluation of CAT II programs (Susan Strasser).
  4. Draft a model II Satisfaction form to evaluate opinion upon completion of research effort at the APS (Randy Alkire, Peter Eng, Denis Keane, and George Srajer).
  5. Investigate the use of Netscape to run TelNet for e-mail access on the computers in the User Lounge (Susan Strasser).