Inaugural PIP-II Technical Workshop is a collaborative success

Allan Rowe

The PIP-II Project, the first DOE particle accelerator project receiving substantial international in-kind contributions, held its first all-partner technical workshop from Dec. 1-4. The remote workshop included over 300 registered participants from seven countries spanning 11.5 time zones. The primary goal was to facilitate communication between the broader technical teams responsible for delivering hardware to PIP-II.

The workshop consisted of nine technical working groups in key areas directly affecting in-kind deliverables to PIP-II. The working groups spanned the areas of radio-frequency (RF) power couplers, cryogenic system, cryomodules assembly and SRF facilities, superconducting RF cavity development (three groups), controls, and management of requirements and interfaces. The chairs and co-chairs of each working group balanced time between presentations and round-table discussions, talking through lessons learned and identifying open issues. Although some of the parallel sessions reached as many as 60 participants, the working groups were able to engage in productive discussions among key stakeholders. Peter McIntosh, STFC UKRI technical coordinator, who originally proposed the workshop, recognized the effectiveness of the working group chairs, co-chairs and speakers. He thanked each of the session coordinators and speakers for maximizing the focus on various themes and ensuring effective discussions took place.

The working group parallel sessions were conducted from the early morning through the noon hour, Chicago time, which enabled participation by hundreds of scientists and engineers working on PIP-II from across the globe. Our colleagues from the Department of Atomic Energy, or DAE, in India, a significant presence at the workshop with 140 registered participants, were able to join the workshop from home after dinner and late into the evening. Purushottam Shrivastava, the DAE technical coordinator from Raja Ramanna Center for Advanced Technology, remarked that this workshop exposed numerous younger DAE engineering and scientific staff working on PIP-II to this international collaboration — staff who otherwise would not have had an opportunity to participate if the workshop had been held in person.

About 150 people attended the closing plenary, 67 of whom are shown here, and more than 300 attended the full workshop.

A dozen technical experts from outside of PIP-II were invited into the working groups to share their insights and experience in areas such RF power couplers and SRF cavity development. Broadening the participation to these colleagues helps PIP-II incorporate essential lessons learned from other similar projects. Leveraging technical expertise from the European XFEL, European Spallation Source, and CERN’s LHC Accelerator Upgrade Project, among others, supports our technical teams and helps them gain deeper insights into what it takes to build a complex accelerator like PIP-II.

During comments offered at the closing plenary session, PIP-II Technical Director Arkadiy Klebaner assessed the workshop favorably, noting that as the PIP-II transitions from CD-2 to CD-3 and finalizes the design, open communication across all stakeholders is essential. The technical teams need to know what other teams are doing, and all need to work from the same playbook. This workshop really helped bring these teams together. Counterparts from all partners engaged in fruitful discussion, contributing materially not only in their own areas but also on other topics as well. In her closing comments, PIP-II Project Director Lia Merminga congratulated the workshop planning committee and working groups for organizing an impactful workshop for PIP-II and the broader accelerator community.

The success of the inaugural PIP-II Technical Workshop means it is likely to be repeated annually and, in some cases, more frequently with smaller topic-specific workshops.

Allan Rowe is the PIP-II in-kind contribution technical integration manager.