FIFE workshop brings computing experts and experimentalists together

From left: Herb Greenlee (ND), Mike Kirby (SCD) and Rob Kutschke (SCD) participated in this year’s FIFE workshop. Photo: Hanah Chang, OCIO

June 1 and 2 marked the third year of the annual FIFE workshop. The workshop serves as a single point of contact between the experiments and a broad array of computing services for running their applications, provided by Computing.

This year, Computing hosted participants from more than 10 different experiments, including talks from MicroBooNE, NOvA, DUNE, Mu2e, LArIAT, MINOS, SeaQuest, DarkSide and MINERvA ,as well as from members of the Scientific Computing Division who work on the software and services. Additionally, Open Science Grid (OSG) project staff and computer scientists from the University of Wisconsin-Madison HTCondor Project participated.

The workshop provided a forum for experimenters and experts to work together, consult and get feedback and introduce changes.

“The workshop gave the experimenters an opportunity to communicate our experience and requests directly,” said Fermilab scientist Herb Greenlee, who works on MicroBooNE. “We could effectively communicate to Computing some of the things that we want.”

One example of this was a coordination session between FIFE, OSG and the Dark Energy Survey and the latter’s new campaign to conduct data analysis based on upcoming possible gravitational wave signals from the LIGO experiment. This was a new use case for both the FIFE group and OSG, said Mike Kirby of the FIFE team. Once the data is available, time will be of the essence, he said, so that the Dark Energy Survey can point other observatories at the signal source.

The workshop also served as a great learning opportunity.

“I learned about a few tools and applications that I didn’t know existed and that we’re going to adopt,” said Rob Kutschke of Mu2e. “The workshop was beneficial in alerting the experimenters to what’s coming down the pipeline. It gives us a chance to prepare for it, influence the priorities of the FIFE team and say ‘Look, I really want to be at the table when you’re making final decisions about this part of the job.'”

Satish Desai of NOvA agrees.

“It was a great opportunity to learn about the infrastructure that we’re using and give feedback to the maintainers of FIFE,” he said.

There’s always something to be gained when experts from diverse fields meet face to face. With FIFE, OSG and HTCondor experts in the same room, this year’s workshop was a success. Participants look forward to a fourth in the FIFE series in June 2016.

Hanah Chang