Big shoes to fill

Rob Roser

On Feb. 1, I assumed the role of associate lab director for computing and chief information officer (acting), replacing Vicky White, who will concentrate all her energies on the role of chief operating officer.

For more than a decade, Vicky has led the Computing Division, now the Computing Sector. During this decade, she has made remarkable strides developing a computing infrastructure that we now know and take for granted. I could write a long list of accomplishments, but a few select ones will provide a sense of scale. Grid Computing Center did not exist when she took the reins. She built it to address the issue that power and cooling supply was woefully inadequate for us to carry out our mission. Scientists had discussed grid computing as a way to address the problem, but it had not yet taken a foothold here at the lab to mitigate the issue. Vicky consolidated computing across the lab into the Computing Sector and installed a governance structure that is paying dividends. To say our sector reflects her personality is an understatement.

I see my role as carrying Vicky’s vision forward and taking it to the next level in terms of services offered and a renewed effort to modernize the way the lab conducts business, on both the science and the operations sides of the house. I don’t see a need to make drastic changes. We should build on our strengths and correct those areas in which we, or the laboratory as a whole, are deficient. Our job is harder than ever — our customers are used to IT excellence, whether through purchases at Amazon.com or automated banking. The consumer world has set expectations high, and we will have to double our efforts to meet those expectations where it makes sense to do so.

I am excited about this opportunity to lead the Computing Sector forward. This is an exciting time as Nigel takes the lab into the future with neutrinos and CMS as our primary focuses. Computing will continue to be an important part of Fermilab.

Finally, I would like to thank Vicky for leaving this sector in such good shape. I will do my best to carry her vision forward.

Rob Roser is the associate laboratory director for computing.