Proposal for UK HEP institute computing representation via system managers

(Last mod: 28-May-1998, R.Cranfield, UCL)


This proposal arose from discussion among the system managers present at the RAL "SYSMAN" meeting on 20-May-1998, in the presence of the current chair of CNAP, Robin Devenish. Many sites reported concerns about the growing system support load and looked for opportunities to access the collective view of the HEP community. The majority of those present agreed that the proposal should be given a trial. Bob Cranfield, Dave Kelsey and David Martin (co-organisers of the RAL meeting) agreed to progress the matter.


  1. Perceived/reported need for greater information flow between "system managers" at the different institutes.
  2. Perceived/reported need for greater information flow from PPARC, CLRC, accelerator sites and experiments to institutes, and vice versa.
  3. Requirement from CNAP for information on institute computing needs concerns, and strategic planning.

Suggested terms of reference

Communication between institutes, CNAP/PPARC, CLRC, accelerator sites and experiments, on institute computing matters, with special emphasis on technical and management topics not already covered by PPNCG (networking focus) and CUF (experiment focus).



~3 per year

One 2-day open meeting, continuing series organised by Dave Kelsey at RAL.

These meetings will attempt to present one or two items in depth, with hands-on where appropriate, plus relevant reports and updates.

Two 1-day meetings, with venues rotating round institute sites:

Format to be evolved, but probably: 11:00-16:00, with round-table "business" session, covering site updates, organisation, interaction with CNAP/PPC, experiments and central labs, plus topic-focussed in-depth presentation/discussion. Attendance would be by invitation, with at least one representative per site, plus appropriate CLRC attendance (20-25 people?).

Electronic information flow

Establishment of bulletin-board type dynamic information exchange on problems and ideas. Precise form to be agreed (possibly Hypernews?).


This may be problematic with so many sites involved, but the possibility should be explored wherever it looks promising.


It is proposed that the CNAP membership contain TWO members specifically representing institute computing interests. These roles would naturally evolve from the current "system managers" and "graphics group" appointments. The rotation cycles of these two appointments are conveniently out of phase with each other, providing a useful overlap period.


It should be a task of the institutes to provide appropriate information to the PPC, at least by providing input to the "institute computing" reps on CNAP for the CNAP Annual Report. Part of this input would comprise summarised site information on current computing arrangements, plans and concerns. Other reports can be envisaged on topics identified at the meetings.