DUNE Workshop Review

As membership of the DUNE collaboration approaches a thousand scientists from around the world, one of the challenges that the experiment faces is how to simulate the DUNE and ProtoDUNE detectors, and to analyze the data that these simulations will produce.  But if you are a new student or postdoc that has just joined DUNE, where do you get started?  The DUNE simulation code is  daunting even for veteran scientists, let alone for students who only have a few hot summer months in Chicago to make a difference on the world’s leading neutrino experiment before returning to their quiet university towns.

That’s how the request to SCD came, “Can you put together a tutorial which will teach someone, who knows almost nothing about computers, everything they will need to be running DUNE analysis jobs?  Can you do it by the third week of May?”  It was an impossible request, but a vital one for the experiment.

All four quadrants in SCD banded together to make the impossible request a reality.  Over the course of two months, with Eileen Berman coordinating the efforts, a series of eight mini-tutorials and homework assignments were developed that could teach a brand new collaborator who had never logged into a computer at Fermilab before how to become a maven of the DUNE computing environment.  The tutorials were designed to take the “student” from the basics of logging in to a computer, through how to construct and run simulation jobs using the art/LArSoft frameworks, to looking at the results in Gallery, to using tools to access petabytes of data and launching analysis jobs around the world.

So what happened?

At 12:45 p.m. on Wednesday, May 17, approximately 40 DUNE students, postdocs and professors sat down, lunches in hand, and took part in the tutorials.  Every session was a back and forth of questions and smiles as gradually everyone “got it”.  Less than four hours later, these same people (many of whom had not even logged in to the computers before) had successfully run analysis jobs at Fermilab, on the Open Science Grid, and at sites as far away as Prague in the Czech Republic.  More than that, feedback started trickling in from Young Dune through their president; he stated that it was the best and most comprehensive tutorial he had been to.  In a nutshell, SCD had done the impossible!

So from DUNE, we want to offer a special thanks to Eileen Berman, Tom Junk, Erica Snider, Marc Paterno, Marc Mengel, Pengfei Ding, Mike Kirby, Ken Herner, the entire art and LArSoft teams, the FIFE team and all those individuals in the distributed computing and data management teams who made these tutorials possible.

–Andrew Norman