by Catalin-Lucian Ristea. Published: 30 September 2016


The ISS ALICE group

The ISS ALICE group

The Institute of Space Science (ISS) has a long experience studying the system created in collisions of hadrons and nuclei at relativistic energies, starting from early 2000. ISS has been a member of the ALICE Collaboration since 2006. Currently, the group consists of 6 physicists and 3 guest scientists, with various activities related to jet and flow analyses, offline, production management and software service tasks, GRID maintenance and operation.

Over the years, the group members were highly involved in offline activities, simulation and geometry modelling for the experiment, physics analyses regarding jet production in proton-proton and heavy-ion collisions recorded by ALICE. Jet analyses carried out in our group are related to jet shapes, full jet spectra and jet fragmentation functions for inclusive charged particles as well as for identified particles. Study of radial distribution of jet transverse momentum and multiplicity reveal information about the nature and internal structure of the jet, as well as the parton-to-jet fragmentation process.

Romania-ISS group was strongly involved in offline-related activities, in particular the execution of the ALICE central Monte Carlo productions needed for physics analyses. Initially, this was done in the framework of ‘service tasks’, a process mandated by the Collaboration and certified by the ALICE Computing Board. Recently, this task became an institutional responsibility. Romania-ISS is part of the ALICE Data Preparation Group (DPG) and is actively involved in the coordination activities carried out by this group. All of the group’s members have participated in the ALICE data taking over the years.

The ISS is also involved in GRID activities related to CERN experiments since the beginning of developments of AliEn middleware (2001-2002), a pilot deployment installed as early as July 2006. This installation supported the AliEn GRID middleware of ALICE since the beginning (one of the first implementations of the GRID in Romania). For some time ISS has a certified European Middleware Initiative (EMI) site that also supports ALICE (and others), a fact that brings complementarity to the ALICE computation model. Key features of the system imply high computing contribution/cost ratio, high utilization by ALICE user analyses and high availability and high success ratios of our storage elements (SEs). Over the last years ISS has invested into a new data centre which hosts the ISS-ALICE grid facility.

Romania's full membership at CERN

Romania has a strong background in scientific research – in theory, fundamental research and applied physics. Many of the institutes are grouped on the Magurele platform and in Bucharest - many being institutes of the Romanian Academy. Starting in 2008, Romania expressed interest to become full member of CERN, and this path began with the associate membership at the end of 2010. This was a joint effort of many people, the Romanian government through the Ministry of Education and Research (MEC), the National Authority for Scientific Research and Innovation (ANCSI) and the institutes which were already participating in nine CERN experiments.

During the associate membership, Romania fulfilled all of its duties and steadily headed towards the full membership, which happened in 2015 and was signed by the Romanian Parliament in 2016. This full membership of Romania comes at a time when structures are established and functional at all levels, starting at national authority level. Multi-annual group funding is provided by ANCSI through the Institute of Atomic Physics (IFA), in the framework of National Projects (NP II and NP III), via a dedicated sub-programme RO-CERN. Then we have the International Scientific Advisory Board (ISAB), which provides guidance and evaluation for the groups’ physics projects, well-functioning for many years now. It is followed by the local institutes and, last in the chain, the scientists performing their activity at CERN and the related experiments. Our group finds this multi-layered structure beneficial for our activity at CERN, as there were multiple times when we felt well-supported and we had received help at all levels. We can thus concentrate on our physics activity, with all the administrative tasks being kept to a minimum.

For us, the full membership of Romania represents the certitude of long-term support for our presence at CERN, which is acknowledged at the highest level and, why not, a recognition of the strong involvement of Romanian groups at CERN.

From the aspects revealed above, it may be seen that the moment of Romania becoming full member of CERN is mostly an event to celebrate all the efforts done over the past years to actually come to this point.

Of course, there are things requiring closer view for the next years. One of them is getting more industry involved in CERN-related activities, in order to increase the return coefficient of the funds. Another important thing is to get more PhD students involved in scientific activities and, in general, to enlarge the types of interaction with CERN. We are definitely looking forward to seeing more Romanian applications for staff and scientific associate at CERN being approved. This will increase the Romanian awareness both at CERN and in Romania.

We see the full membership of Romania as a recognition of our national scientific research. This, together with the upcoming opening of scientific facilities like ELI-NP, will likely allow Romania to overtake the highly-specialized human resource loss specific to the countries in Eastern and Southeast Europe.