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In this issue:
Tower Turnover
Computing Keeps Its Cool
ATLAS Gearing Up for Next Beam Period

SLAC Today

Monday - January 26, 2009

(Photo - Cooling Tower 101)
Cooling Tower 101 has served SLAC for more than 40 years. (Photo by Shawne Workman. Click for larger image.)

Tower Turnover

Cooling Tower 101 has stood at the intersection of Loop Road and what is now PEP Ring Road for as long as the SLAC linac has run. A 1966 photo on page 13 of SLAC 1962-2002: Celebrating Forty Years, A Photo History shows the tower's vertically-striped rectangle, a punctuation mark between Buildings 28 and 40 within the newly minted SLAC campus. In the background, a bridge to nothing straddles the linac where Highway 280 will later cross the landscape. Tower 101 has run almost continuously since those days, cooling and circulating nearly 6000 cubic feet of water through a network of chillers, air compressors and low-conductivity water systems for the SLAC Test Lab, Buildings 50, 137 and more.

"This is the last of the original towers," said Facilities Department project manager Harry Shin, who is overseeing replacement of Cooling Tower 101. "We haven't been able to do much maintenance on it because we needed to keep running the chillers." So the old tower has been patched over the years where possible, he said, and has come in need of replacement. "Now's the time."  Read more...

(Photo - cooling and heating pipes entering the tunnel under Cooling Tower 101)
The Building 50 computer room holds row after row of heat-generating servers and data arrays. (Photo by Peter Ginter. Click for larger image.)

Computing Keeps Its Cool

The lower floors of SLAC's Building 50 house more than 3500 computer and data systems. This collection of servers, batch systems and hard-disc arrays serves the lab's computing needs from e-mail and file storage to large-scale simulations and data processing. All of that compute power generates a lot of heat—enough to melt about 580 one-ton blocks of ice a day—and relies on the circulation of chilled water to keep the air below circuit-blowing temperatures. So when it was time to replace the 40-year-old cooling pipelines, minimizing disruption of computer services required tight coordination between SLAC computing, electrical, and heat, ventilation and air conditioning crews. Completed January 12, the cooling upgrade was a success of careful planning, hard work, cooperative weather and a hearty dash of quick, creative thinking.  Read more...

ATLAS Gearing Up for Next Beam Period

Even without beam, the first half of 2009 is going to be surprisingly busy, not the least for the people involved in running the Large Hadron Collider's ATLAS detector, and any of its sub-detectors. While improvements and repairs are ongoing underground, developments are also in progress in many areas, from getting more flexible ways of changing trigger prescales, developing enhanced data quality monitoring, to simply reorganizing shifts and 24/7 on-call duties, … everything between the sky and the floor of the ATLAS cavern, which can improve how efficiently ATLAS will record data, once the collisions are here.

After the short Christmas break, every piece of ATLAS, from the gas systems to the high speed link to Tier 0, have been quickly brought back online. Why such a rush? Simply because there is so much on the to-do-list, and everybody is motivated to get ready again. And this time you can feel there is more confidence, given that the LHC has gained real experience now.  Read more in ATLAS e-News...

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