About the Author

Tom Throwe is the Deputy Director of the RHIC/ATLAS Computer Facility (RACF), a position he has held since the inception of the RACF.

New Director for RHIC and ATLAS Computing Facility

by Thomas Throwe

After ten years as Director of the RHIC and ATLAS Computing Facilities, Bruce Gibbard decided to step down so that he could pursue ATLAS physics as it starts to take data. An international search for a new director was initiated, which resulted in Dr. Michael Ernst joining BNL as the new director of the facilities on 1 February 2007.

Taking over the leadership of a facility with 34 FTE's, 2000 computers, 1600 Terabytes of disk and 7 Petabytes of robotic tape storage should not be a problem for Michael. He received his doctorate in computer science from Technical University in Berlin, and worked at DESY, in Germany, where he was the head of the DESY IT Department and later, Computing Integration Coordinator for the CMS Experiment. He has served as the manager of the US CMS Tier-1 Facility at Fermilab, the CMS equivalent to the ATLAS Tier-1 Facility here at BNL. Michael is one of the originators of the dCache distributed disk system, which is extensively used by both ATLAS and PHENIX at BNL. Thus Michael comes to us well versed in IT, LHC, and Grid computing matters.

Year-round, RHIC/ATLAS Computing Facility staff are working 24 hours a day, seven days a week, providing support to users.

Michael immediately faced challenges here with regards to both the RHIC and ATLAS aspects of the facility. The RHIC program is at the start of Run 7 and, even though there are now only two RHIC experiments, with the upgrades of the experiments and the increased machine luminosity over Run 4 (the last Au-AU run), a substantial increase in the volume and rate of transfer of data is expected.

ATLAS is also ramping up with a new set of service challenges now underway. These service challenges are expected to entail an aggregate data transfer rate of 300 MB per second from CERN and to and from the US Tier-2 sites. All of this while the data from the RHIC collider is also coming into the facility. The service challenges are part of the final preparation for the turn on of the LHC later this year.

So, with massive amounts of data, BNL extends a warm welcome to Dr. Ernst.

For further reading, click here (pdf).