Minutes of the APSUO Steering Committee Meeting

Held on January 16, 2003, at Argonne National Laboratory


J. Andrew, J. Budai, L. Chen, D. Cookson, J. Day, G. Decker, S. Durbin, P. Dutta, R. Fenner, R. Gerig, M. Gibson, D. Haeffner, B. Hartline, L. Keefe, R. Klaffkey, D. Mills, J. Rose, A. Rosenzweig, B. Stephenson, S. Strasser, R. Torres, M. Vigliocco-Hagen, and P. Zschack.


Paul Zschack, APSUO Chair, introduced Beverly Hartline, Argonne National Laboratory Deputy Director, who welcomed the members and briefly discussed a new facility being proposed by the University of Chicago for construction at Argonne-East to house research involving a range of common infectious disease agents, emerging diseases, and agents with the potential to be used by terrorists. The university's proposal is one of several being submitted to the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases in response to its call for proposals to build four to six regional and two national biodefense laboratories. She also updated the Steering Committee on the progress of the Center for Nanoscale Materials that will be housed near the APS facility. A conceptual design review for the facility is scheduled for February 20-21, 2003. Hartline is currently the acting director of the center. A search is on for a permanent director.

Routine Business:

Zschack called the meeting to order and asked that the minutes from the October 10, 2002, meeting be reviewed. He asked that a correction be made to reflect that he and Steve Durbin met with Judy Biggert's staff members and not with Biggert herself. With that change noted, the minutes were approved.

Action Items from the October meeting:

  • Ask Rick Fenner to present publicity plan at the next APSUO Steering Committee Meeting (APS): This presentation is included on the agenda for the 1/16/03 Steering Committee Meeting.
  • Solicit input on additional survey questions (all Steering Committee members) A draft user survey is included for comment in the 1/16/03 Steering Committee meeting packet.
  • Create a survey question on keeping more beam during the week, a special need for crystallography (APS): This issue has been discussed at the Operations Directorate level; David Cookson attends this meeting regularly as the APSUO representative. Glenn Decker will present further information on this subject at the 1/16/03 Steering Committee Meeting.
  • Prepare a draft of bylaws change for next meeting regarding the changing of number of positions elected each year (APS): Draft bylaws have been developed and will be discussed during the 1/16/03 Steering Committee Meeting executive session.

APS Overview:

Budget update:

Murray Gibson briefed the group on the current APS budget situation. The continuing resolution remains in effect. The current budget is at the same level as last year, $90.l M, an additional $1.3 million transferred to APS to support BESSRC-CAT operations. The anticipated budget increase is $2.1 million. The present staffing level is consistent with the President's budget level for FY 03. While most activities should remain stable, future growth in staffing and budget for user support is expected.

Scientific Advisory Committee:

The first Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC) meeting will be held at the APS on January 21-23, 2003. The chairs of last November's sector review panels (SRPs) will present reports to the SAC for CMC-, MU-, and DND-CATs. The SAC will consider SRP recommendations, review proposals for ENVIRO-CAT and the powder diffraction beamline, and will provide general guidance on the scientific direction of the APS. The group will also finalize the SAC policy and procedures, SRP guidelines, and other issues related to review.

The draft light source user access policy statement received only minor proposed corrections. It will need to be adopted by all light sources, and details of the policy will have to be fleshed out in local policies. One new concept in the policy is that of partner users. Partner users are defined as those users who leave the facility "more advanced" (in better condition than when they arrived. A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) concerning access and interactions will be required. The SAC will also review this new concept.

Partner Users Council (PUC):

Gibson indicated that a new council is being proposed to replace the current Research Directorate. This group would serve in an advisory capacity to the APS ALD. One member per sector would be appointed by "APS-recognized sector management." All members would be non-APS employees or partners. This group would serve an important communications role and provide more formal input, representing partner users, to APS management. The proposal will be reviewed further by the APS and will be presented to the SAC for its endorsement.

APS/User Communications:

In addition to the regular monthly APS/User meetings, CAT Chat, TWG, science seminars, and retreats, a proposal has also been introduced that would combine the APSUO and PUC (RD) for a one-day meeting. The groups would meet jointly along with APS management for part of the day and then meet separately for discussion of issues with APS management and executive sessions. The day would end with separate closeout sessions with APS management. This new proposal will be discussed further.

New Innovations:

Gibson also spoke of the Center for Nanoscale Materials, scheduled for groundbreaking this summer. The state of Illinois contributed $2M during FY02 and $17M in FY03. Also expected is $36M for instrumenting the nanoprobe beam. As Beverly Hartline stated in her welcome, the Conceptual Design Review meeting for the center is scheduled for February 20-21, 2003.

Low Energy Undulator Test Line (LEUTL): A proposal has been submitted to BES for funding for upgrade to allow the LEUTL to run during top-up mode. No further development can be realized until additional funding is received.

Linac Coherent Light Source (LCLS): The LCLS will allow the APS to remain in the forefront of Insertion Device (ID) design, which will benefit Ids on 3rd generation sources. This will also allow for continued involvement in free-electron lasers (FEL). Steve Milton has been appointed as the Argonne LCLS Project Director. Kathy Harkay will assume Milton's former duties as Group Leader of the Accelerator Physics Group in the Accelerator Systems Division.

Operations Update:

Roger Klaffky briefed the group on the latest operations information. The latest run was record setting with 99.1% beam availability. The next run (January--April) includes a week of operation at 110 mA and a week of operation in a multi-bunch mode. Studies conducted in December to determine the optimum storage ring parameters for multi-bunch operation were very encouraging for using the multi-bunch mode. A second workshop on future machine operating modes will take place in spring 2003 to discuss operating modes for June 2003 and beyond. The users will have had experience with 110 mA operation and multi-bunch operations.

Klaffky reported that the watchman data collection system should be fully operational by summer 2003. If problems are experienced, Yeldez Amer should be contacted.

Klaffky also informed the group that a revision to the Experimental Safety Review Process is currently underway. The goal is to provide a more effective, efficient process for experimenters, CATs, and the APS. CATs will have an opportunity to provide input on the policy and procedures document. The new system is expected to be in place for the June--September run. A reminder to all is that the electronic submission is required for the January--April run cycle.

General User Program:

Denny Mills thanked the II Task Force for all of the time and effort expended in the development of the new General User (GU) proposal process and reported on how the latest cycle was viewed by the task force and the users. A total of 322 proposals were received with 188 proposals being allocated time. A total of 1,920 shifts were available for GU time. Proposals receiving beam time had a mean score 2.2.

Mills reported that a few changes would be applied to the next cycle. Two proposal review panels will be added: Instrumentation, Macromolecular Crystallography. There will be increased time between the PRP and BAC meetings. Plans for "aging" proposals will be developed.

If a proposal is denied time, the user may appeal the decision. The appeal will be forwarded to the ALD office where a re-review may be requested or other action taken. The PRP Chair will be involved in the appeal review. The ALD office will determine the action to be taken based on the results of the second review. The reviewers' comments will be provided to the user for consideration in future proposals.

Mills reported that mandatory user accounts would not be required for General Users performing routine experiments. Office supplies will be available for purchase in the Guest House Sundry Shop and shipping costs can be charged to a user's home institution's shipping account. General Users who require Argonne services, such as central shops, riggers, etc., who wish to use the APS stockroom, and /or do not wish to charge shipping costs to their home institutions, should continue to set up a user account before coming to the APS. Host CATs will not be responsible for the costs incurred by General Users during their visits. This system will be started on a trial basis for one year beginning this year to allow the APS to judge the effectiveness of this proposal.

Operation Scheduling:

Glenn Decker reported on APS Strategic Scheduling Planning. Top-up operation has become the standard operating mode for the APS storage ring since November 2001. Time spent in top-up mode has increased to approximately 75%. The 25% of the schedule devoted to non-top-up operation is to provide operator training on the injector machines, to provide dedicated machine studies time, and to provide opportunities for machine intervention for repairs. The technical groups have found that the injector systems run reliably when they are not turned on and off as they were during periodic daily fills.

Decker said it is proposed that the 324-bunch ultra-long lifetime low emittance mode be chosen for the week occurring near the middle of the period, specifically the week of July 8-14, 2003. The ultra-long lifetime (100 hours) reduces the thermal cycling of optical components in comparison to the 23 singlet high-emittance operation mode. The low emittance configuration would be preserved for the second week of the run and extending through the second to last week. Also, the 324-bunch mode of operation will be considered as a default for non-top-up mode. Consensus from the Steering Committee was advice go to multibunch mode for all non-top-up during the summer run, and if the one-week trial at the end of the spring goes badly, the APS can revert to the normal 23-bunch mode.

In response to an action item from the last APSUO Steering Committee Meeting, Decker addressed the concern of some users regarding the use of machine study and repair time during the week rather than on weekends. Since specialized expertise is required in most repairs, attempting to perform these repairs on weekends would be very disruptive and costly. Having these specialists standing by on weekends in case they are needed to perform a certain task could be very expensive. Availability during machine studies time for FY 2002 was only 91%. This would drop significantly if studies were to routinely occur on weekends. Some beamlines use the machine studies and/or intervention periods as opportunities to perform configuration changes. This activity is best performed during weekdays for the same reasons of efficiency that benefit machine maintenance.

Decker also discussed the pros and cons of moving the September shutdown to the end of August. With the APS continuing to be an actively advancing facility, the need to maximize the effectiveness of a limited shutdown period is paramount. Making the suggested change would reduce the effectiveness of the shutdown and would disrupt the plans of all the technical groups in completing their missions. Accelerator employees would have to postpone vacations for both July and August. This will impair the amount of work that will be ready for the shutdown. However, this issue will be looked into further.

Decker also discussed the subject of four shutdowns versus three shutdowns. A direct impact of this situation is that one additional startup week would be required, making the 5000 hours of operation goal more difficult to attain. Changing back to four shutdowns a year would result in several shorter shutdowns. Conservative planning involves the inclusion of time for two complete vacuum back cycles following the opening of any vacuum chamber. This would not be possible during a short shutdown. The situation is even more severe for rf cavity vacuum work, which requires cavity conditioning under power. It was the consensus that the present three shutdowns per year should continue.

Special Program Proposals:

Gibson discussed the Special Program Proposals (SPPs). Examples of SPPs are developing instrumentation, building new user communities by attracting exceptional people to spend time at the facility, and by stressing outreach and education. This will encourage scientific partnering, especially in XOR where they will go from 50% General User (GU) time now to 80% GU time by October 2003. Special Program Proposals will permit XOR to bid for up to 30% on sectors 1-4, leaving at least 50% for GUs. [Note: After the SAC meeting, the concept was incorporated into the Partner User concept.]

Partner User Proposals:

Gibson explained that CAT proposals are examples of Partner User Proposals. ENVIRO-CAT has submitted a proposal for discussion at the upcoming SAC meeting. Special program proposals can also be partner proposals and are strongly encouraged. The Powder Diffraction beamline proposal is also an example of the partner user proposal concept.

BES-CAT Transitions:

Gibson explained the various BES-CAT transitions that are currently taking place and will take place in the future. BESSRC-CAT staff in sectors 11 and 12 will join APS as a new group in XOR. BESSRC proposes that this transition plan will reduce CAT beamtime from 75% to 20% in five years. At that point, they will be similar to the other XOR sectors. Former CAT members can access any excess GU time over 25% by the normal GU route. Former CAT members can develop SSPs as partner users. The BESSRC-CAT executive committee will remain to provide advice to APS management and to administer CAT time.

Other BES-CAT transitions include the IXS and NANO being funded by BES with transition to APS operation built into the planning. APS will also play a major role in developing these sectors. IXS has proposed a plan to reduce CAT time from 100% to 20% in six years. The executive committee will also remain involved.

With the pace of the transitions slowing down at least for the next couple of years, APS will have a better opportunity to demonstrate mutual benefits from APS operational support. It is recognized that it is critical to keep partner users connected and involved. Funding increases are needed both within and outside the facility to stimulate this important partnership between the national facilities and universities.

Public Relations:

Rick Fenner presented the group with the latest information on the publication reporting system and what the APS is doing to increase the visibility and publicity of the APS. As a result of APS management's request to develop a proposal that would assure timely dissemination of research results, a scientific information services function will be developed, using the talents of current APS employees in the areas of science writing and editing. The goal of this function will be increased productivity, flexibility, and cost control in the area of science publications.

Fenner reported that additional publicity enhancements will come in the area of a tri-fold APS brochure and continued coordination between ANL-OPA and user institutions.Additional contacts will be made at Physics Today, Nature, NYT, Science, etc. Also, upgrades to web-based graphics will be enhanced. APS posters have been sent to 3,000 high school science teachers, as part of a contest for student-designed exhibits for the 401 atrium.

Fenner reported that the APS will be assuming data-entry responsibility for all publications. The data range will be extended next week to include abstracts, awards, and invited talks. Per CAT requests, there is an adjunct database where non-APS papers can be entered, stored, and retrieved. There is also a link for each CAT that generates up-to-date publications information for that particular CAT.

APS 20-year Plan:

Gibson outlined the plans that BES has for major construction projects in the next 20 years. Some of the facilities upgrades to be considered at the BESAC committee meeting on February 22-24, 2003, are the Linac Coherent Light Source, Spallation Neutron Source, Transmission Electron Achromatic Microscope, Spallation Neutron Source, and the Advanced Photon Source to name a few. The APS upgrades include beamline construction and operation for the first 10 years. The second 10 years may see a next-generation user facility and accelerator upgrades that retain and exceed existing capabilities. Efim Gluskin will lead a one-day discussion group to look into the possibilities. User input is requested prior to the meeting. In the shorter term, the APS must make sure that strong proposals come forward that match BES mission interests, such as high-energy x-ray scattering and a possible dedicated soft x-ray line. Within the coming year, Gopal Shenoy and Sunil Sinha will co-chair a study to identify strong possibilities. The SAC will also be involved in this process.

Executive Session:

Nominating Committee Report:

Brian Stephenson reported on the list of Steering Committee nominees that were suggested for the upcoming election. The Nominating Committee felt that attendance at meetings should be a high priority when selecting the final nominees. Reimbursement for members who travel to the APS for meetings was clarified and will be handled on a case-by-case basis. Stephenson and Amy Rosenzweig will contact nominees to confirm that they are willing to serve on the Steering Committee. The officers of the Steering Committee will serve a one-year term. The list of nominees will be posted on the web prior to the User Meeting.

12th User Meeting:

Steve Durbin asked for suggestions for people to speak at the User Meeting. The keynote speech will be during the morning session, followed by the presentation of the Compton Award. Possibilities for speakers are a member of the American Physical Society, Judy Biggert, and Ray Orbach. Many suggestions were offered for the user science talks to be conducted during the afternoon session. Members of the Research Directorate will be contacted for additional suggestions. Dean Haeffner will be the chairman of the poster session. Susan Strasser outlined the budget, the schedule at-a-glance, and the logistics for the meeting. The planning committee will meet again within the next few weeks for updates.

APSUO By-laws Change:

With the change in frequency of the user meetings, it is necessary to amend the by-laws governing the APSUO. The numbers of members elected at each election changes to four, while the elected members' terms will expire at the third-following user meeting so that the steering committee will have 12 regular members. These changes will be presented to the APSUO membership, who will cast votes through electronic means. An open voting period of no less than two weeks is required. The by-laws will be amended by a favorable vote of two-thirds of ballots cast.

Next Meeting:

The next meeting of the APSUO Steering Committee will be held on Thursday, May 1, 2003, during the 12th User Meeting.