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ATLAS UK Computing



The UK involvement to the ATLAS construction phase represents a £74.2M investment by the UK. There are twelve UK institutions contributing to the project, and the UK has a long record of positions of leadership within the collaboration as a whole. By far the largest part of the UK effort so far has been committed to the research and development, design, construction and testing of the ATLAS SemiConductor Tracker (SCT), with which all UK groups are involved. It is important that the UK capitalises on this large investment, which requires that effective software be in place to trigger and reconstruct the data produced, and the development of tools that will allow the physics exploitation of that data. There have also been major UK investments in the development of the ATLAS trigger. This investment has been directed both in the first-level trigger and in the high level triggers (HLT). The first level trigger is very much hardware-based, but requires detailed simulation effort to allow it to be configured to give the optimal physics output with minimal contamination. There are additional pressures for this simulation arising from the financially-imposed staging of the trigger system, which require much more sophisticated use of the available inputs to recover as much of the possible physics in the low luminosity running phase. The High-Level Triggers are in the area between the online and offline, and require the development of offline algorithms (and then subsequent faster implementations) that will then run on the hardware to select the physics signatures. Given the magnitude of the UK investment in the construction phase, the large involvement in terms of the fraction of UK institutions and personnel into the ATLAS construction and the large fraction of the UK personnel that will be involved in the physics exploitation, it is appropriate that an appropriately large computing project is in place to support these efforts. The skill sets required for such a programme are largely disjoint from those required for the construction. It is also unrealistic to see a simple transfer of effort in the later stages of construction given the required development timeline. While there is some overlap with the skills required for the physics analysis, and it is important to transfer knowledge from the detector construction and commissioning, the computing project requires different software engineering skills. It will afford a suitable training such that younger staff working on the computing will have learned appropriate skills that can be transferred into physics exploitation when running commences. The computing programme also provides a vital opportunity for the transfer of computing skills (in terms of reconstruction and triggering techniques and strategies) from earlier physics programmes to a new generation of physicists. It will also be important to transfer the knowledge being gained from the present Tevatron and BaBar programmes; such transfer has already benefited the ATLAS software design. The construction phase of the experiment was covered by an agreement with the Treasury in 1998. This agreement did not cover the computing needs, and the level of exploitation effort defined in that plan for the later years, which is required for the preparation of physics analyses, is inadequate for the required computing developments. This is recognised in recent Science Committee statements, and in the terms of this call. This situation has recently been exacerbated by the cuts imposed after the `SCP4’ exercise (which made significant cuts on people working in the software area) and by forthcoming retirements. Despite this, a significant computing programme has been set in train and positions of leadership attained, as described in section 2, but this programme needs growth and is at present threatened with significant reductions. This bid is related to the GridPP2 bid, which has a small component dealing with the interface between the experiment software framework and the Grid tools. Only 2.5 FTE/year were allocated specifically to ATLAS under GridPP, with an additional 2 FTE/year working on a common project between ATLAS and LHCb. This modest effort has required support from ATLAS posts on the group rolling grants, and significant success has been achieved. This activity area has been co-ordinated with the overall programme, and its proposed continuation under GridPP2 will also be an integral part of the overall ATLAS plan. It should be stressed that under the first GridPP, no posts were awarded for work on experimental algorithms, frameworks or online support.

Maturity: Initial Research
Region: UK
Type: Pilot
Grant Value: £2,450,000.00
Start Date: 01/04/2007
End Date: 01/12/2007
Project Status: funded
Funding Agency: PPARC

Project Members
Prof Tony Doyle (Local)
Prof Roger Jones

Collaborating Organisations
Lancaster University
Queen Mary, University of London
Royal Holloway, University of London
STFC e-Science Centre
University College London
University of Birmingham
University of Cambridge
University of Edinburgh
University of Glasgow
University of Liverpool
University of Manchester
University of Oxford
University of Sheffield

Component(s) Project Develops
This project is not associated with any components at present.

Application Area(s) associated with Project
Particle Physics & Astronomy


Last Updated: 22 Jun 12 11:02
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