by Tapan Nayak. Published: 26 June 2011

The first ALICE Centre was inaugurated at the Variable Energy Cyclotron Centre (VECC), Kolkata, India on 16 June 2011. The advantages of this ALICE Centre are manifold. Smooth functioning of the experiment relies on continuous monitoring and control, and the ALICE Centre will provide a means for experts to attend to the detectors remotely.

The facility at VECC will extend the capability of Tier-II and Tier-III computing with direct connection to CERN. This will improve data monitoring and analysis capabilities to a great extent.

Tapan Nayak

Attendees at the ALICE Centre inauguration at the VECC - Subimal Saha, Subhasis Chattopadhyay, Tapan Nayak, Bikash Sinha, Srikumar Banerjee, Yogendra Viyogi, Dinesh Srivastava and Rakesh K. Bhandari [Front row]; and Baldev Raj, Jogender Saini and Susanta Pal [Back row].

Shift duty in the Alice Control Room (ACR) is mandatory for all. New scholars and postdocs will get exposed and trained at the ALICE Centre in an environment like the ACR. The centre will provide a dedicated conference facility, which will increase interactions and active participations in different physics working groups. Attending the daily ALICE Coordination meetings, where performance and future plans are discussed, will now become easier.

At the moment, the centre contains two workstations for Detector Control System and Data Acquisition monitoring; two LED televisions with wireless internet, for displaying the ALICE run status and the LHC status; and several computers for use with various data monitoring and analysis programs.

The 16 June happens to be the foundation day of VECC, and so the inauguration took place amidst the presence of many dignitaries. Srikumar Banerjee, the chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission and Secretary of the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE), inaugurated the Centre alongside of Rakesh K. Bhandari, the Director of VECC; Bikash Sinha, Homi Bhabha Professor, DAE; and Baldev Raj, Former Director of the Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research, Kalpakkam.

Paolo Giubellino and Jurgen Schukraft – the current and former spokespeople of the ALICE collaboration - joined via a Skype connection from the ALICE Control Room at CERN. In addition to the regular shifters in the ACR, Indian colleagues who were present at CERN also joined in the ceremony.

During the event, Giubellino and Schukraft reiterated the importance of having the centre in India. Banerjee praised the contribution of Indian scientists to CERN programs, and conversed with Giubellino and Schukraft about the functionality of the centre, and India’s role within CERN.

The inauguration of the center will certainly provide a much needed boost to the scientific activities of ALICE’s Indian team. With India having been offered the status of Associate Membership of CERN, the new ALICE Centre is a step in the right direction in this regard.