Minutes of the APSUO Steering Committee Meeting
Argonne National Laboratory
November 11 , 2005 

Steering Committee Attendees: S. Billinge (via conference call), K. Brister, M. Capel, S. Ginell, T. Gog, B. Golden, T. Graber, G. Ice, D, Reis, W. Smith, and C. Thompson.

APS Attendees: M. Beno, R. Gerig, M. Gibson, G. Long, B. Ruzicka, S. Strasser, E. Streets, R. Torres, and M. Vigliocco-Hagen.

Other Attendees: A. Ekkebus, ORNL, Ben Stillwell, LS-CAT

Routine Business: The minutes from the July 14, 2006, were reviewed and approved as written. The meeting's agenda was approved as well.

APS Update:

J. Murray Gibson reviewed the briefing that was given during the SUF all-hands meeting held in October where safety was an important topic of discussion. Gibson reminded the attendees that all workers must be vigilant and stick to the scope of work. Although there have been no serious injuries during 2005, some recent safety incidents were cited as reminders for safety first and science next.

Gibson went on to discuss the funding picture for FY 2006. The continuing resolution is still in effect, so the situation remains unclear for 2006. Although both houses of congress passed increased budgets for facility operations, overall fiscal concerns create uncertainty. In any case, we need to be as efficient as possible and stretch our resources.

Gibson also reviewed a talk given by Pat Dehmer at the SSRL User's Meeting. The talk centered around the beta test of alternative metrics for assessing the BES Light Sources and showed where the various Light Sources stand in the areas of beamline technical quality factors, user demographics, and distribution of beamline techniques. Dehmer concluded that the U.S. light sources are at a critical point and will fall far below optimum capabilities without increased funding. As a result, emphasis should be given to upgrading infrastructure and instruments and to providing beamline staff to the world-class facilities. Also, investments should be made for major upgrades such as top-off mode at the world-class facilities.

Gibson brought the group up to date on the anticipated reorganization of the APS and explained why this change is necessary. Beamline operations and research (XOR) has doubled since 2002 and will continue to grow, thus making it essential that XOR have the status of a division. Control of the operation and future evolution of the machine should be under the control of one division. Engineering and other support service should be equally available to both the accelerator and beamline divisions in a matrixed fashion, which will improve efficiency and eliminate redundancy. Also, difficult fiscal times in the federal government in the next few years require a focus on maximum efficiency. This reorganization should be in place by the end of FY 2006.

Gibson also talked about UNI-CAT Sector 33 transitioning to XOR in January 2006 and the August 2006 move of USSAXS and USAXS Imaging to 32-ID to begin implementation of the Tactical Plan. UNI-CAT Sector 34 transition to the XOR will also begin in January 2006.

The Detector Workshop being held on December 8-9, 2005, at the APS was also announced. Al Thompson from Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory will be the chairperson. Dennis Mills is the local workshop committee member. More information regarding this workshop is available on the APS web site.

Gibson also announced that Pete Jemian has now joined APS as the group leader for the Beamline Control and Data Acquisition group.

Operations Update:

John Quintana updated the new policy on Machine Shop operations. On February 1, 2006, all current authorizations for using machine tools in user-controlled spaces will expire. Prior to February 1 st , anyone who wants to use the machine shop must undergo a new orientation that will be administered by the Machine Shop Coordinators. This orientation will allow a person to enter the Machine Shop to use hand tools only. Anyone who wants to use a machine tool (including a drill press with a chuck) must identify himself or herself to the Machine Shop Coordinator and then APS will arrange a visit by the Joliet Junior College (JJC) instructor to administer a qualification test. All training will expire after two years. Machine Shop Coordinators are responsible for contacting the users of their shops. Modifications may be considered after experience with the current implementation. The Main Control Room Operators have been to the training conducted by JJC instructors and will be available to help with drilling holes and similar minor jobs in the evenings and on weekends. The first thing to do at this time is to go to the Shop Coordinator to get on the list of those who require training. Patricia Fernandez will be in charge of setting up the training.

Quintana also discussed the Machine Fault Notification system progress to date. APS IT has installed a modern listserv system, which will allow users to add/delete email addresses via WWW page or email, and a prototype pager has been programmed by ANL. Testing still has to be accomplished with several different vendors. Currently, Tmobile, Nextel, and Cingular, as well as wide area and local pagers are part of the testing. Announcements will be made in User News, at CAT-CHAT, etc.

Quintana reminded the group of the APS Construction/Commissioning Review Panel's (CCRP) charge to conduct semiannual reviews of all CATs with beamlines in a construction or commissioning phase. The reviews are designed to provide APS management and the APS Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC) with appropriate information for them to assess CAT progress toward full operational status. Items to be evaluated include progress against previously presented and approved timelines, resolution of issues identified in reviews of design (conceptual, preliminary, and final) reports, potential problems with instrumentation or beamline designs, schedules, vendors, types of experiments conducted during commissioning, and issues identified at the last CCRP review. In addition, the CCRP will provide the APS with the initial review of conceptual designs presented by prospective CATs, Collaborative Development Teams (CDTs) or X-ray Operations and Research (XOR) beamlines and review major reconfigurations/reprogramming of any existing beamlines. The Chair of the CCRP will report the detailed committee findings to the APS Director's office in writing and will provide an oral summary report to the SAC. The CCRP members are Quintana (Chair), Steve Davey, Dennis Mills, Kevin Randall, and Alec Sandy. This panel will review all beamlines identified as not taking General Users in 2004 report to DOE. Panel findings will be released to beamline management prior to the SAC meeting and as soon as possible after the review to afford beamline personnel an opportunity to provide a written response that will be presented along with the findings. The written report will be due twice per year until the beamline accepts general users.

APS User Satisfaction Survey:

Susan Strasser discussed the results of the 2005 User Satisfaction Survey. The survey, now conducted annually in September, includes BES-required questions, is given to only unique users during a particular fiscal year, and is used to gain information for APS management planning and complete required DOE/BES Annual User Facility Statistic Report. The survey showed some concerns about the proposal review system, particularly for PX proposals, but some felt that the external review is good. Other comments included the need for dedicated time for graduate student proposals and more sample mail-in capabilities.

User Advocacy:

Gene Ice attended a meeting recently where advocacy was discussed at length. Ice introduced the idea of identifying a proactive individual with ties to the APS to keep up on the budget situation in Washington . This could be a long-term position for the individual who would serve as an ex officio member of the APSUO. Steering Committee members were asked to think about whom would be the right person for this job.

Scientific Access:

A policy paper is being prepared for Scientific User Access for beam time at the APS. The APSUO and PUC are being solicited for ideas for the four types of accesses. After the PUC meets, a final policy paper will be prepared for the SAC to review when it meets in January 2006.

Lunchtime Presentations:

The following CAT representatives gave brief sector status reports:

  • Vukica Srajer -- Sector 14
  • Keith Brister -- Sector 21
  • Craig Ogata -- Sectors 8-BM and 24
  • Lisa Keefe -- Sector 17
  • Randy Alshire -- Sector 19
  • James Fait -- Sector 22

Executive Session:

Steering Committee Membership:

The first item for discussion was the fact that four steering committee members will be leaving the group at the time of the next Users Meeting. Current members were asked to offer suggestions for nominees to serve on the committee. Suggestions should be sent to Steve Ginell.

2006 Users Meeting:

Several individuals have offered to chair workshops during the meeting. Gene Ice will look further at the workshop possibilities and come up with a firm listing soon.

The Franklin Award nomination deadline will be set for mid-February. An announcement regarding nominations will go out soon with a reminder sent out shortly after the first of the year.

Meg Vigliocco-Hagen is developing the budget for the meeting along with guidelines for speakers and workshop chairs.

Next Meeting:

The next APSUO Steering Committee Meeting will be held on Thursday, January 12, 2006, in Building 401, Room A5000.