HEP Software Foundation startup team meeting notes, Oct 8 2014
Present: Torre, John, Andrea, Dario, Craig, Frank
Apologies: Pere, Michel, Daniel
- news on contacts made, discussions had, …
- open floor for general discussion on startup, the make-up of the startup team, communication/openness, etc.
- practical organization: mailing list/discussion forum, agendas, vidyo/or…, web presence, …
- discussion of what to focus on early, relative priorities
- how to proceed on white paper synthesis
- plans, objectives for SLAC workshop
Torre - recent contacts and discussions:
- the US has a parallel initiative, the DOE-sponsored HEP Forum for Computational Excellence (FCE) for which Craig and I are advisory panel members. I informed them of the HSF launch and expressed the hope that the FCE would closely ally itself with the HSF. There are people within the FCE working groups who have expressed an interest in doing so, and the DOE has been supportive of a close connection.
- Amber Boehnlein (SLAC) head of SLAC computing, very supportive and offers help (very materially already of course, hosting the workshop). Richard Mount has reached out to the FCE leads (Rob Roser, Salman Habib) encouraging FCE participation in the Jan workshop. Strong interest in how G4 relates to the HSF; SLAC and of course many others want to see that G4 is on a firm footing.
- Anders Borgland (SLAC) - At SLAC we have some experience dealing with the Photon Science community. I understand (and agree with) the initial focus being on HEP. But if you want to look beyond HEP we may be of use.
- Thomas Kuhr (KIT) Belle II software coordinator, interested and supportive, prepared to give Belle II input.
- Jeff Tseng (Oxford) (NB the UK not represented on the startup team at present) interested in broadening beyond HEP: making useful HEP software generic and available to other experiments and sciences, bringing in non-LHC communities
- Makoto Asai, Richard Mount (SLAC) - offering ideas about how the HSF might add value to the process of user requirements gathering and user-developer interactions for projects like G4.
open floor for general discussion on startup
Craig - meeting time is not good for Pacific time. Can it be an hour later?
*** The discussion made it clear we’ll need a Doodle poll, action on Torre.
Andrea outlined input he sent by email, and general discussion ensued. Some points from the discussion:
- both small experiments and small development projects should be considered; they are candidates for off the shelf tools. There are few tools today that are really off the shelf; HSF could usefully cultivate more of them. In areas like build tools, requirements are pretty much the same for all.
- strong emphasis on being practical. Help integrate/harmonize projects, help the users of those projects.
- first focus should be on surveying the community, identifying commonalities, how the HSF can help without being overly ambitious, pick the low-hanging fruit first
- there is much disparity in the ‘public face’ of software tools and packages that is a barrier to adoption. That can’t be easily fixed but there are aspects like tutorials, training, examples where HSF could help users a lot.
- there are communities like event generators with many packages and many users who could really benefit from commonality, a coherent approach to development, so users could use different tools in a coherent manner. e.g. services for integrating software, making coherent releases, documentation, basic tests, etc.
- technical conclusions/recommendations we come to may imply a need for material support. Even without ‘new funding’ there are places in our community – like the software activities of the big labs – where the support potentially exists, if the HSF produces convincing conclusions/recommendations. Demonstrate we’re well organized and coherent at the community level.
- HSF should help in sustaining important, valued software as developers leave etc. Find ways to provide continuity. Once we endorse a tool, we should make an attempt to ensure continuity. Particularly important for small projects.
There was pretty much unanimous agreement within the discussion, and with the directions presented last week which were consistent with the discussion. The discussion took up most of the hour.
practical organization: mailing list/discussion forum, agendas, vidyo/or…, web presence, …
We came to quick agreement on some points:
- we will use Indico and Vidyo as the basis for agendas and conferencing
- we will use Google Groups for mailing list/discussion forum
- John provided HSF with an initial web presence but going forward we need a web presence that is neutral in terms of lab/country (but continues to identify us as a HEP community activity, albeit one intending to reach beyond HEP).
*** We’ll look into a something.org presence.
There are precedents, like hepforge.org, dcache.org; it is not a difficult thing to do these days.
discussion of what to focus on early, relative priorities
how to proceed on white paper synthesis
Torre uploaded to google docs some bulleted notes on white paper highlights and main points. These need more eyes reviewing and improving them so they represent the white papers well and can be a guide to identifying commonality, priorities and writing the synthesis. Dario has gone over them, Craig volunteers to do so as well,
*** others are asked to as well. Either state which ones you’ll review or if you have time, go over all of them. Torre volunteers to then take it to the next step of a first draft outline of a synthesised document.
plans, objectives for SLAC workshop
[We didn’t get to this. Richard’s doodle poll leads to the conclusion that Tue/Wed Jan 20/21 looks best for the workshop. We should think about whether/how we want to use additional days for ancillary meetings.]
Meeting next week. We may or may not have managed to settle on a new time by next week; if not, we’ll meet at the same time.