Preparing to welcome this year’s summer students

Rob Roser

Rob Roser

There are many things that make Fermilab special and set it apart from most institutions. One of its many treasures is its summer student programs.

Every June, students descend on Fermilab with their questions, their youthful enthusiasm and their desire to make an impact on the science we do. They inject a vitality and a freshness to the lab that is unparalleled. With a positive experience, each of these students will walk away from the lab with an appreciation for the science that we do and an advocate for fundamental scientific research. For a few, the experience will change their lives as they perhaps rethink their aspirations and consider a career in scientific research.

Thus it is imperative that we, as a laboratory, roll out the red carpet for these students, welcome them into our scientific and technical lives, and have them be part of our scientific journey for the few short months they are here. Computing expects a dozen or so students this summer, and the lab expects close to 100 total. It is not too early to plan their participation and make sure we can challenge them and give them a rewarding experience. I have no doubt they will challenge us with their insight and probing questions.

In Computing, one of our missions is to work with strategic software partners to provide consistent and standard services across the laboratory. One of these strategic software partners is Siemens, which provides enterprise engineering services software for data management, visualization, computer-aided design, and manufacturing and engineering analysis. Siemens software is used for most of the projects at the lab, including but not limited to LCLS-II, PIP-II and LBNF.

During a typical summer at Fermilab, we expect an influx of about two dozen engineering students who help us create engineering documents and drawings for various projects. The challenge is dealing with this influx of extra “need” in an environment of finite numbers of software licenses for these engineering tools. To solve this, last summer, we reached out to Siemens, and they graciously provided 10 evaluation licenses for NX computer-aided design software for use by these students and has promised an additional 20 for this year. These evaluation licenses not only allow the students to work without the potential of license denials, but they also enable the students to learn the current state-of-the-art software tools on real-world problems. This experience will give them a head start as they move toward a career in industry.

We thank Siemens for their generosity in supporting our scientists and engineering students of the future. We are only a few short months away from their arrival and we are already preparing to roll out the red carpet.

A version of this article was previously published in Computing Bits.

Rob Roser is Fermilab’s chief information officer.