2015 is going to be a great year for Fermilab computing

Rob Roser

Rob Roser, chief information officer, wrote this column.

As I type this column, the snow is falling outside. I have a tired Brittany pup on the couch next to me. I look up from the computer screen to stare at the fire in the fireplace to think back about what a remarkable year 2014 was for the laboratory, as well as for computing, and how excited I am for the prospects moving forward.

One of the lab’s biggest challenges in 2014 was the transition to adopting the P5 plan as quickly as possible, and I am proud of all that we as a laboratory accomplished there. I’m also proud of what we in computing accomplished in 2014 to support the laboratory mission.

The Core Computing Division, along with WDRS staff, helped roll out FermiWorks and started the transformative process of changing the way the lab does business with respect to human resources. This was the largest systems integration that we have ever attempted, and it required us to pull together as a team like never before. This enterprise system has truly changed the way we do business and will continue to do so as we roll out more features and functionality.

Remarkably, FermiWorks did not happen in a vacuum. CCD had to keep the wheels turning on the other 150 or so applications that we support and make advances there as well, from a SharePoint 2013 migration to a Sunflower upgrade — and many, many others.

The Scientific Computing Division also had an excellent year with widespread adoption of its art framework and a number of artdaq systems deployed and collecting data. Also, CMS is completing preparations for its very exciting 13-TeV run. These are only a couple of achievements of many.

Perhaps more interesting is what lies ahead in 2015, which is going to be an exciting year for both computing and Fermilab. According to the Chinese zodiac, this is the year of the sheep. For Fermilab, I think 2015 will be the year of the neutrino as the lab truly embarks on both a short- and long-baseline program.

In computing, our aim will be both to facilitate and help execute the science, whether that is through the new labwide budget and planning system, mining the Dark Energy Survey science or operating our world-class data centers. Everything we do is in some way connected to the scientific mission of this lab.

Welcome back, everyone. Now let’s have some fun and make 2015 a year to remember. I need to throw another log on the fire …