by Panos Charitos. Published: 24 March 2015

The 4th ALICE ITS Upgrade, MFT and O2 Asian Workshop took place in Pusan, South Korea, on 15-16 December 2014. It was the first to combine the ALICE ITS upgrade with the O2 project and the MFT upgrade. Following the success of the previous workshops, this biannual meeting offers groups from East Asian countries that participate in the ALICE upgrade projects for the new ITS, MFT, and O2 the opportunity to meet, discuss, and present their progress and plans.

Luciano Musa, project leader of the ITS upgrade, organized the first Asian- ITS upgrade meeting in 2012. He foresaw that an East-Asia cluster would facilitate the development of a coherent programme for the upgrade and coordinate the efforts of the various teams. Indeed, many East Asian institutes joined the ALICE experiment in recent years, namely SUT and COMSATS in 2012, the Inha University and the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI) in 2013, and King Mongkut's University of Technology from Thailand in 2014. Moreover, there is a long history of collaboration between South Korean institutes and ALICE, as teams from seven South Korean universities and a supercomuting centre (KISTI) have made remarkable contributions in R&D efforts and physics analysis.

The fact that the Workshop takes place on a six-month basis allows monitoring the progress of the projects and defining tangible objectives for the near future. In addition, these meetings not only provide motivation to the participating institutes, but also have an impact on local authorities, as they offer a clear understanding of the projects in which East Asian groups are involved, and the future impact they can have in local societies and economies.

The organizing committee, In-Kwon Yoo (PNU), Haengjin Jang (KISTI), Luciano Musa and Pierre Vande Vyvre from CERN had prepared a rich and interesting programme for the meeting that brought together the ALICE ITS, MFT and O2 Asian Collaborators to communicate and exchange ideas.Participants presented their progress, discussed their ideas, and shared their knowledge with experts from different fields. So far, Asian groups have made important contributions to many aspects of R&D and to the construction of the upgraded ITS.

On Monday, the first day of the workshop, eleven lectures were presented. In-Kwon Yoo and Paolo Giubellino delivered the welcome talks. Luciano Musa gave an overview of the general status and plans of the ITS upgrade followed by Raphael Tieulent who discussed MFT current status and plans. The ITS upgrade project started in 2011 and after three years of intensive work and preparation 80% of R&D has been completed, as the upgrade project enters its final year before production. Speakers from various Asian groups offered overviews of the research activities at their institutes, including their significant progress so far and their future steps. Following the hard efforts of the past period, all institutes have fully integrated their activities in the present organization of the project.

Many activities are at an advanced stage, such as the design and characterization of the pixel chips as well as the physics and detector simulations. Groups from Korea, China, Pakistan, Indonesia and Thailand contribute to the characterization, production and test of sensors and the construction of detector modules. In addition, the ALICE Asian institutes from China and South Korea will become involved in the production of OB modules later in 2016, and each production centre will have to deploy an identical automatic assembly system to ensure homogeneity over the whole production. Furthermore, scientists from LIPI are responsible for the visual inspection of the modules of the detector using sophisticated algorithms developed for examining high-resolution images.

The Monday afternoon session started with a joint meeting on the ITS & MFT upgrade plans, chaired by Minjung Kweon (Inha University) and Youngil Kwon (Yonsei University). Speakers from different groups presented the work completed so far on sensor characterization and efforts on sensor production. The discussion was completed early next day with a wrap-up by Luciano Musa, who emphasized the importance of the collaborative/joined efforts undertaken by Asian groups on the two upgrade projects  (ITS & MFT) and the steady progress made over the past months

Luciano Musa says: “We were all impressed by the number of projects developed by young students, certainly a very promising sign, not only for the development of the project but more importantly for the future of these countries in the international scientific community”.  In-Kwon Yoo, one of the organizers of the workshop and Korean team leader thinks: "'I’m so happy to say that this 4th workshop in Pusan have become a well-established working group meeting, in which especially Korean team starts playing one of the major roles for the ITS upgrade project, while the first workshop in Inha university had been a kick-off meeting for gathering the East-Asian activities".

The second day was mainly dedicated to the O2 upgrade plans. Speakers from LIPI Indonesia, KMUTT Thailand, Korea University presented the upgrade progress. The O2 project aims to design a completely new computing system for the inspection, read-out, and online reconstruction of LHC collisions at a rate of up to 100 kHz.

Pierre Vande Vyvre opened the session with a presentation on the “O2: General status and plans”. Many Asian institutes have joined the 02 project, creating the unique opportunity of developing state-of-the-art technology and innovative online and worldwide massive data processing techniques to handle data from future runs (2019) of the ALICE detector.

KMUT university will test CPUs/GMUs with realistic algorithms: testing the code with read data will mark an important milestone in the project. In addition, Tiranee Achalakul from KMUT presented the “White Rabbit”; a new project for volunteer computing with ALICE data. In addition to being an important tool for outreach and educational purposes, this project will help ALICE researchers continue with the calibration of the detectors.

The presentations covered the status of the projects undertaken by the institutes and several Computing Working groups. Taking into account all the physics requirements and the specifications of the various subdetectors that will be used after the upgrade, the computing model and architecture has been defined, algorithms have been developed, and tests were conducted. The work on the development of an O2 prototype continues, involving large parts of code development and integration as well as the preparation of the first O2 labs that should be ready by 2016 for more extensive tests.

The final day of the Workshop ended with a general session on O2, in which participants had the chance to discuss the future steps of the project. The O2 collaboration expects to have a first draft of a TDR presented by the middle of March, which will be reviewed by ALICE, before the final version is submitted to the LHCC.

All in all it was a well attended meeting that gave the opportunity to teams working on the different projects (ITS, MFT and O2)  to present their progress, discuss current challenges and exhange knowledge with experts from different fields.

The Korea ALICE Experiment group (Pusan National University, PNU), Pusan National University Supercomputing Centre, and Korean Institute of Science and Technology Information (KISTI) sponsored this year’s workshop. Participants renewed their meeting for 7-9 June 2016, when the next joint ITS, MFT and O2 meeting will take place in Central China Normal University in Wuhan.