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In this issue:
The Hum of Science
Safety Note: Hazardous Waste Drum Funnels
From Purchasing: New SOW Format
South Gallery Road Closed This Morning
Safety Seconds

SLAC Today

Tuesday - May 1, 2007

(Photo - computers)
A few of the several thousand computers managed by Scientific Computing and Computing Services.

The Hum of Science

Every day, SLAC researchers send thousands of calculations, simulations, and other computational tasks to the computing center, where, like a black box, a cluster of computers run programs and churn out results. Inside this "black box" is an impressive array of computing technology.

The second floor of Building 50 is home to the lab's computing workhorse—the compute farm—which is made up of roughly 2,100 computers and hundreds of file servers that store and feed data. The pizza box-shaped computers sit on rows of metal racks, their processors humming, fans whirring, and green lights blinking.

"These resources are available to every user at SLAC," said Neal Adams, who administers the Load Sharing Facility (LSF), the software that operates the compute farm. At any given time, there are about 5,000 jobs running and 26,000 waiting for the next available spot.

Each computer lasts about four years before being replaced by a more efficient model. Several hundred new machines are bought each year. These computers are overseen by a dozen people; the team also manages and designs all scientific computing at the lab.

To meet the logistical challenge of managing so many computers, the SLAC computing team continuously comes up with automated methods to maintain the system with weekly security patches and other updates. For example, SLAC computer scientist Alf Wachsmann created an automated tool that installs the operating system onto hundreds of computers at once. After just an hour, the new machines are ready to start doing science.

"Without computing, there would be no scientific research at SLAC," Wachsmann said. "It's a vital tool."

(Column - Safety Today)

Safety Note: Hazardous Waste Drum Funnels

Many of us at SLAC transfer hazardous wastes—including paints, solvents, and oils—into drums as part of routine activities. On those drums, many use an in-place funnel, allowing liquid wastes to easily be poured in. If you do use an in-place funnel on your drum, please make sure that the funnel is equipped with a lid and that the lid can be latched shut.

That in-place funnels have lids is an important requirement by the County of San Mateo, SLAC's hazardous waste inspection agency. The general rule is that unless you are adding or removing liquid hazardous waste, the drum or container must be closed. An extension of that rule is that in-place funnels must be equipped with a latched lid that will keep the funnel, and in turn the drum, closed and sealed. If you are currently using a funnel that does not qualify as an in-place funnel, when not in use, please remove the funnel and make sure the drum is properly closed and sealed.

On drums containing solid hazardous wastes, the lid must also be securely in place except when adding or removing waste.

More information can be found in Chapter 17, Hazardous Waste, of the ES&H Manual or by calling Rich Cellamare, Waste Management, at x3401.

From Purchasing:
New SOW Format

Beginning today, the SLAC Purchasing Department will require a new Statement of Work (SOW) format for all construction work to be performed at the lab.

The format change is the result of a new Department of Energy health and safety regulatory requirement, referred to as "10 CFR 851." SOWs will now require additional information necessary to accurately describe the project to a potential bidder as well as provide bidders with the additional SLAC training and other requirements that must be met by an outside contractor. The new format may be accessed from the Purchasing homepage under Buyer Quick Links or as a word document from the Conventional and Experimental Facilities website.

Use of the new format should begin immediately. Any SOW not in the new format as of June 1, 2007 will be returned to the requestor. Questions should be directed to Burl Skaggs x2245.

South Gallery Road Closed This Morning

South Gallery Road will be closed between 10:00 and 11:00 a.m. on Tuesday, May 1st and between 10:00 and 11:00 a.m. on Friday, May 4 to allow riggers to lower equipment through the Sector 19 equipment hatch. Thank you for your patience!

Safety Seconds

Flight 1248 ended up in an automobile intersection, killing a six-year old child, because they did not deploy their thrust-reversers until 18 seconds after landing on the icy runway. Would you begin a task knowing that you had no margin for error, and if something went wrong someone could die?

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