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Report of the Visiting Committee on ATLAS

 
Report of the Visiting Committee on ATLAS




Meeting Held in Jerusalem November 16-17, 2006

Since joining the ATLAS Collaboration in 1995, the Israeli group, comprising members of the high energy physics (HEP) groups at the Technion, Tel Aviv University and Weizmann Institute of Science, have performed outstandingly well in a highly competitive environment made up of many of the best HEP groups internationally.   Under the excellent leadership of Prof. Giora Mikenberg of Weizmann, the group undertook an ambitious set of tasks, mainly concerning the muon particle tracking and identification system.  This large undertaking has involved the design, engineering, fabrication, testing and installation of a very large number of highly sophisticated “thin gap” muon tracking chambers (TGCs), their readout electronics and software, their calibration hardware and software and muon detection software.  This task has been undertaken in collaboration with groups from Japan and China, adding additional challenges to the leadership role played by the Israeli groups. 
 
The Committee was highly impressed by the work accomplished by the Israeli groups: their performance has been outstanding. The chambers have all been fabricated and tested, on time and within budget. Installation of the full system is nearing completion.  Final testing of the full chamber system at CERN has been accomplished using the production readout and data acquisition systems. This includes the detection and successful reconstruction of cosmic-ray muons. The quality of the chambers is uniformly excellent and all detector performance specifications have been met.
 
The establishment of a distributed Tier-2 center with resources at all three institutions requires a great degree of coordination for successful operation and professional expertise at each institution.  A single, clearly designated leader must be elected and given the attendant authority to be in charge of the Tier-2 center and must be recognized as such within ATLAS Israel and by the international ATLAS collaboration.  This designation needs to be done very soon. The availability soon of 2-3 FTE computing professionals, distributed across the three institutions, is essential for the required support of the center operations.  Such highly qualified personnel are necessary from the outset and since they are in great demand elsewhere, an aggressive recruiting effort should be mounted now.
 
A distributed Tier-2 center model empowers the three institutions and will create the synergism to enhance the combined effectiveness of the participating scientists.  To make this model work, all three institutions must provide the vital physical infrastructure needed for success, such as space, power and cooling. Upon further study, it may turn out that inter-university network connectivity may also be needed, which likewise should be provided by the institutions.  If these infrastructure contributions cannot be realized, then the distributed model may need to be abandoned in favor of a Tier-2 center at one of the three institutions: it is hoped that this would not be necessary.
 
Because first beams at the LHC are not far away, it is also imperative that the uncertainties regarding network connectivity bandwidth internationally and within Israel be resolved quickly, with the “Quality of Service” (QOS) solution as a leading possibility.
 
The Tier 2 budget and its annual profile, must be fully supported at the requested level, namely a total of $2317K ($3471K), spread over the next four (six) fiscal years as follows: $362K in 2007, $743K in 2008, $548K in 2009, $663K in 2010, $555k in 2011 and $600K in 2012.  After a careful scrutiny of the proposal, and with comparisons to similar efforts elsewhere, the Committee concluded that the requested budget is appropriate and that the funding profile is crucial to realize the important opportunity for ATLAS Israel, which would otherwise evaporate while the rest of ATLAS moves into physics-analysis high gear.
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