Minutes of the APSUO Steering Committee Meeting

Held on April 15, 1999, at Argonne National Laboratory


C. Abad-Zapatero, M. Antonio, S. Dierker, P. Eng, P. Fenter, S. Heald, E. Isaacs, C. Pittroff, T. Rauchas, W. Schildkamp, G. Shenoy (APS Update and Close Out only), G. Srajer, S. Strasser, J. Tischler (ex officio), and P. Zschack

Routine Business:

Minutes of the January 22, 1999, meeting were approved and action items reviewed. The topic of student awards at the Tenth Users Meeting was added to the executive session items.

APS Update and Reports:

APS Update: Gopal Shenoy briefly reviewed David Moncton's current responsibilities and activities at Oak Ridge.

Shenoy reviewed recent operational parameters, noting that machine reliability has been close to the goal of 95% (second quarter FY 1999 reliability was between 93-94%). The fault rate has been fairly stable at less than 0.5 faults/day. Typical faults involve rf or power supply components. He noted that recovery time from faults can be affected by a variety of factors, but, in general, as familiarity with the systems increases, the fault recovery time decreases. By definition, the reported downtime statistics include both fault-related time and refill time. (Refill times account for approximately one percent of downtime.) The group discussed various scenarios of repair and recovery efforts. Shenoy informed the group he is willing to arrange informal technical discussions between CAT members and various accelerator specialists to facilitate greater understanding of accelerator operations.

The International Committee on Future Accelerators (ICFA) held the ICFA 17 th Advanced Beam Dynamics Workshop on Future Light Sources at ANL last week. A table of contents was developed at the meeting for a Scientific Opportunities for Coherent X-ray Source document. Subgroups at the meeting also developed a list of potential contributors to the document. DOE managers met to discuss the development of the document to meet the Leone committee's requirements (including incorporating the laser community in the effort and developing a more rigorous scientific program).

R&D funding in the amount of $4.5M total for 1999, 2000, and 2001 has been allocated to the linear coherent light source (LCLS) project (based on the existing linac at Stanford). The new director at SLAC has agreed to provide 75% of the linac's operating time for the R&D effort. The partners in this effort are SLAC, APS, Los Alamos, Livermore, Brookhaven National Laboratory, and UCLA (contributing theory support). The primary role of the APS is to develop the prototype undulator. The LCLS is a test facility for a future fourth-generation user facility (estimated cost of a fourth-generation facility is $150-200M in 2003). Shenoy further discussed (in general terms) the LCLS site, technical goals, possible experiments, and other concepts of the project. He indicated that the parameters of a fourth-generation facility will be defined by the results of the LCLS experiments.

Shenoy reviewed the counter intelligence threat recently uncovered at Los Alamos. He distributed copies of recent e-mails discussing proposed modifications to access policies affecting foreign nationals from sensitive countries. A letter was prepared and sent to staff in Secretary Richardson's office to convey facility insights regarding the proposed changes in access policies. Beginning May 3, 1999, all foreign nationals from sensitive countries must have a 473 form and an indices check completed before they will be allowed access to the ANL site. Shenoy described the indices check procedure and stated that indices checks can take between three to eight weeks to complete. At the APS, the majority of foreign nationals from sensitive countries are graduate students and postdocs. To minimize delays to visitors, CATs will have to plan in advance to get paperwork completed weeks prior to scheduled arrival dates.

Shenoy reviewed the details of a recent incident involving the misuse of an ANL APS user badge. A misuse of federal property report had to be filed with the DOE. To effectively communicate the seriousness of this matter, the issue will also be discussed at the Research Directorate meeting, addressed in a CAT Net message, and sent as an e-mail to all users in the database. The user involved in the situation has had his badge suspended for six months. The committee added that they wish to have the importance of correct badge use emphasized at the time of orientation and to have this information more strongly worded in the APS User Guide.

Recent statistics for Experiment Safety Approval Forms submitted and experiments conducted at the APS were briefly reviewed. Shenoy noted that the recent publicity surrounding Dr. Veronica James' work on breast cancer and small-angle scattering in hair has been the greatest ever seen at the Laboratory.

Shenoy reminded the group about the good results from recent DOE safety inspections and expressed his thanks for the CATs' efforts. He asked the group to keep up their safety efforts, especially in the area of housekeeping. He also briefly discussed a proposal has been submitted to the NIH to construct beamlines and an LOM for biology research efforts. Strong recommendations have been received from various review bodies to add a life sciences staff person at the APS. He also briefly spoke about the possibility of adding a second undulator to any beamline. Sector 4 is currently experimenting with canted straight sections holding two undulators.

Computer security update: Bill McDowell reported to the group that the frequency of computer attacks is increasing year to year. On average, the APS sees four to seven attacks at its main routers per week. McDowell went on to define what firewalls are, indicating that they can be added to CAT routers. He explained what information the CATs would have to supply in order to establish a firewall. Currently, SBC-CAT has implemented a firewall and four other CATs are considering establishing one. He emphasized that no firewall is perfect in terms of providing security; they require ancillary programs to check for viruses and need to be updated as the hacker environment changes. CATs interested in adding a firewall should contact Bill McDowell.

Operations scheduling: Considerations and process and x-ray beam stability issues: Tony Rauchas distributed detailed handouts on the two topics he discussed. The first outlined scheduling goals and details of schedule planning. He discussed at length the variables that are considered when establishing operations, maintenance, and studies times. He emphasized that developing a schedule template is important to avoid confusion and miscommunication. The group determined that a written summary of the scheduling process and the rationale behind the process posted on the Web would serve as a good reference for any user questions or comments about operations scheduling.

Rauchas reviewed beam stability topics, highlighting beam position measurement systems, orbit control, bpm performance, and some recent issues of interest to the user community. The APS is currently commissioning a new BPM system for ID vacuum chamber rf BPMs that will improve long-term stability.

Executive Session:

Preliminary discussion of Tenth Users Meeting: The Tenth Users Meeting will be held May 2-4, 2000. Susan Strasser informed the group that in March, a directive had been received from Secretary Richardson's office regarding conference funding for all DOE and DOE-contractor facilities. The directive imposes limits on charging registration fees and on use of funds for items such as housing, food, and travel. Such limits could significantly impact plans for the Tenth Users Meeting. The intended purpose of the directive is to promote selective attendance at DOE meetings. The directive is not final and the restrictions may be softened after further review and discussion by DOE staff. Strasser will update the group about the outcome of the review at the next meeting.

The group wholly supported continuing the emphasis on student participation in the Tenth Users Meeting and discussed a variety of ideas in support of the concept, including the following:

  • Possibly expand the number of student poster session awards to three or four, perhaps separated according to scientific discipline categories
  • Award student poster competition prizes on stage during the meeting
  • Possibly set aside one general science session slot for a talk by a selected high-quality student

A variety of scenarios were considered for the layout of the meeting. The table below summarizes a proposed layout that the group felt would promote increased attendance at the User Meeting session.



Tues., May 2
Wed., May 3
Thurs., May 4



User Meeting

User Science



User Science



poss. reception?



(The group briefly considered the concept of parallel sessions selected from the posters [e.g., not invited], but determined that this format might work better later on as the facility grows.)

The workshop topics for the Ninth Users Meeting were reviewed and the group agreed that the metrology workshop and the industrial applications workshop would not be considered for the upcoming meeting. The following workshop areas were discussed:

  • A biology-related topic should be considered for a workshop, either full- or half-day
  • Inelastic scattering and speckle were identified as up-and-coming techniques for possible half-day sessions
  • Standing wave techniques were also suggested as a possible topic
  • In addition to the popular APS 101 workshop, the group proposed expanding to include an APS 201 workshop (potentially hold these back to back on the first day)

The group was asked to brainstorm at least two other half-day workshop topics. Workshops need to be selected by the July APSUO SC meeting and organizers need to be identified before the October meeting. Suggestions for invited speakers will also be discussed at the July meeting.

APS Doctoral Fellowship program: Eric Isaacs reported that he has calls out regarding potential funding sources for the program. Other possible funding sources (e.g., Beckman Institute and Pritzker Foundation) were suggested. The fellowship program team (Isaacs, Dean Chapman, and Peter Eng) will meet to discuss further action.

Compton Prize timeline: The group expressed interest in an early announcement of the Compton Prize winners in the hope that it will stimulate increased attendance during the meeting session. It was determined that the call for nominations should be sent out with the first meeting flyer in October 1999 (PEB will meet in February 2000). Strasser will bring a draft copy of the call for nominations to the July meeting.

Operations schedule anecdotal survey: The group reviewed the comments submitted by e-mail regarding operations scheduling. It was determined that the committee will support the current protocol for scheduling. The group agreed that CAT directors have the discretion to not schedule users during holiday periods. It was suggested that a one-page summary of scheduling protocols and considerations be written for review by the committee at the July meeting. The summary will then be posted on the Web (with links available at various user-related pages) for future reference.

Close Out: Steve Dierker reviewed topics discussed during the Executive Session and outlined the action items.

Next Meeting:

The next meeting of the APSUO Steering Committee will be held Thursday, July 8, 1999.

Action Items:

  1. Determine what protocol should be followed when transporting university- or corporate-owned equipment on and off of the ANL site (S. Strasser)
  2. Send an e-mail to all users in the APS user database to remind users about proper use of photo I.D. badges (S. Strasser and S. Dierker)
  3. Prepare a summary statement about the strategy behind the APS scheduling plan, have the APSUO SC approve and endorse the statement, and post the statement on the Web for general reference by the user community (T. Rauchas)
  4. Consider a quick-response option for users to submit a "flag" when a fluctuation is noticed to aid in identifying potential problems (T. Rauchas)
  5. Develop ideas for at least two half-day workshop topics (all Steering Committee members)
  6. Bring a draft version of the Compton Award call for nominations to the July 1999 APSUO meeting (S. Strasser)
  7. Meet to discuss further action to pursue funding for the APS Doctoral Fellowship program (D. Chapman, P. Eng, E. Isaacs)
  8. Emphasize the proper use of photo I.D. badges at the time of orientation (APS User Office)
  9. Strengthen the wording regarding proper use of photo I.D. badges in the APS User Guide (S. Strasser)
  10. Provide an update on conference and meeting protocols at the July APSUO meeting (S. Strasser)