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BaBarians Gather at SLAC this Week

(Image - BaBar)Today marks the start of a busy week for BaBar with the opening session of one of its quarterly collaboration meetings. Calling these gatherings "collaboration meetings" significantly understates both the importance and the intensity of activity that will be underway all week long. This will be an opportunity for about 300 BaBarians, about 50% of the collaboration, to get together for several days of intensive review, discussion, and planning.

"Although we are well-practiced by now in organizing and running collaboration meetings, it still takes many weeks of preparation to put together what is essentially a major conference," said Kathy Webb, BaBar Chief Administrator.

Tuesday through Friday will be filled from dawn to dusk with plenary sessions covering topics of broad interest to collaborators, parallel sessions to allow detailed review and discussion of everything from hardware operations to physics working groups, and additional meetings related to the actual management and organization of the collaboration itself.  The meeting will end Saturday on a special note, with a one-day workshop involving theorists from the lattice Quantum Chromodynamics community and BaBar collaborators working on related experimental results. Given the intense hardware upgrade effort now well underway at PEP-II and BaBar, the meeting will make for an especially busy time.

As has been the pattern for several years now, the September collaboration meeting has taken on a special character of its own. It is now a month since the major summer conferences of 2006, where the big push was to put out a great rush of the latest scientific results from BaBar data. But this means it is only 11 months until summer 2007, when the opportunity will again beckon to highlight another round of forefront physics. As a result, the September meeting has a particular emphasis on long-term planning. "We will be looking at what physics topics will be ready for a revisit with the larger data set anticipated in summer 2007, as well as what new topics will become feasible," said Jim Olsen, incoming BABAR Physics Analysis Coordinator from Princeton University. It is also an opportunity to plan the completion of new results from summer 2006 that have not yet been sent off for publication.

Preparation for summer 2007 includes planning the availability of live data from BaBar, as well as the correspondingly large samples of simulated events that will be essential for sound physics analyses. "Major improvements to our offline reconstruction code have been in preparation for some time now," said Gregory Dubois-Felsmann, BaBar Computing Coordinator. "We need to be sure that the improvements can be applied to the full live and simulated data samples in time for summer 2007 analyses." Such processing of the full data set will involve significant BaBar computing resources at SLAC and the other BaBar Tier A sites in Europe, but efforts need to be carefully orchestrated to be completed by next spring. "The BaBar computing team is able to get data processed and in the hands of physics analysts within a week of it being recorded at the experiment, but this takes real planning and dedication to accomplish," said Dubois-Felsmann.

The September meeting is also an occasion for transitions in many management and organizational positions around the collaboration. There will be new members and chairs for the Speakers Bureau, the Publication Board and the Membership Committee, as well as significant changes in senior collaboration management. Passing the baton from old to new, while ensuring smooth organizational continuity that underpins a successful international collaboration, will be underway this week. "The B Factory has a bright physics future ahead with two more years of intense data taking," said incoming BABAR Spokesperson Hassan Jawahery from the University of Maryland. "The meetings this week will set us on a course to continue realizing the great physics potential of BaBar and PEP-II."

óDavid MacFarlane
    SLAC Today, September 12, 2006

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