Meeting Notes for 13 April

Present: Joel, Ken, Liz, Sudha, Marge, Mark, Tom

Cosmic Ray Community

CERN has been active lately in cosmic ray research and outreach, with one group developing a Raspberry-Pi-based cosmic ray detector and a separate Open Cosmics team aiming to standardize a cosmic ray data format in order to pool data and increase collaboration between groups.

This prompted an in-depth discussion of QuarkNet's place in the cosmic ray research and outreach community.
  • Historically, there have been many attempts over many years to standardize cosmic ray data and create a common data resource
    • Paul Mantsch of Auger, while at Fermilab
    • IPPOG in cooperation with ASPERA/ApPEC
  • These tend not to work because of
    • Technical challenges: we can't even perfectly standardize our own data because of differences in plateauing, geometry, etc. There's clearly lots of willing spirit, but so far no one has proposed a realistic method to standardize data among highly disparate detector types.
    • Community challenges: most groups simply prefer to operate independently in the manner they're used to
After discussion, consensus was that we should enhance our communications efforts, with an emphasis on establishing cosmic ray outreach in general as something independent of CERN. As starting points, focus should be on
  • Contributing to conferences:
    • The next ICRC is June 13-20 2017 in South Korea. We have collaborators in Japan and Shanghai, and Bob did workshops in Korea, so this could be a good opportunity to build on existing work in that region.
    • Ken mentioned a public education conference to be held in Brazil this year (I can't identify it - Joel)
    • Marge has or will submit an abstract for the EDULEARN16 conference
  • More energetically publicizing our own efforts outside of conferences, including
    • Our own development of Raspberry-Pi-based DAQs (start by putting RasPi info on the Drupal site)
    • Our unique contributions to the community, including full-featured detectors and student-focused educational outreach
  • Forming connections with other cosmic ray groups. Start with IPPOG, which has a cosmic ray working group and representative from HiSPARC. The general approach should be to enhance overlap that already exists rather than to try to force a certain style of collaboration.

Cosmic Ray Detector/DAQ production

The above included some discussion of the logistic consequences of an increased QuarkNet profile, particularly the increased production of detectors.

Moving production to Notre Dame was suggested, as it has been before. Mitch and Marge have looked into this, and the major obstacle is that the DAQ software is the intellectual property of the DOE, which will not transfer it to QuarkNet, an NSF-funded program. Thus, DAQ production must remain at Fermilab. It is possible in some cases to transfer DOE IP to business and industry, but there's not enough demand for the detectors to sustain the type of business model that would allow this.

There's also a potential issue that providing detectors to "customers" not affiliated with QuarkNet centers, especially foreign ones, might violate the terms of our NSF grant. It doesn't appear that this issue has been fully researched, though.

Cosmic Ray e-Lab

  • We should also document the multiple ways to upload data, since there are several ways besides EQUIP to do so.
  • Sudha and Mark's time-of-flight tutorial has been deployed to production, but it still needs a few tweaks that will be deployed this coming weekend.

Drupal Site

Xeno Media's strategy for the Drupal site is to wait to see what develops with Drupal 8, which was released as a stable product less than two months ago. If the appropriate tools and modules are developed for the platform, then the site can be converted from Commons into Core+Modules. This seems reasonable, and it will allow the site to be hosted from CRC servers.

In the meantime, the site will receive professional security support, since the underlying Drupal 6 has reached end-of-life.

Even though we have more time to work on it, it remains a good idea to revisit and articulate exactly what our needs are for the site. I've added this discussion to the Agenda for next week.

We also decided that the Detector Reports function of the site, currently disabled, will be left disabled indefinitely. Once the two sites are hosted from the same set of servers, Joel will recreate this function as part of the e-Labs site.

-- Main.JoelG - 2016-04-14


Topic revision: r1 - 2016-04-14, JoelG
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