San Francisco Friday, 30 September 2022, 06:30 PDT Chicago Friday, 30 September 2022, 08:30 CDT Toronto Friday, 30 September 2022, 09:30 EDT London Friday, 30 September 2022, 14:30 BST Geneva Friday, 30 September 2022, 15:30 CEST Tokyo Friday, 30 September 2022, 22:30 JST Sydney Friday, 30 September 2022, 23:30 AEST
Present: Alex Howard, Alberto Ribon, Susanna Guatelli, Witek Pokorski, Soon Yung Jun, Gunter Folger, John Apostolakis, Gabriele Cosmo, Daren Sawkey, Ivana Hrivnacova, Mihaly Novak, Luciano Pandola, Ben Morgan, Laurent Garnier, Vladimir Ivantchenko
These Steering Board meeting minutes are the first Collaboration internal ones, and differ from the usual public ones. They follow the discussions which took place at the Rennes Collaboration Meeting, requesting more openness on the Steering Board decisions. The Steering Board meeting took place right after the Collaboration meeting. The main item was the follow-up on discussions and issues raised during the week; no review of the regular items (SB action items, requirements, bug reports, etc.) took place this time.
1. Concerns with respect to the international situation
(For information, this point has been put at the agenda since Covid pandemic and then war in Ukraine). No particular issue to report.
2. Feed-back on the Collaboration Week
The discussion and the two surveys on the evolution of the Collaboration have stimulated several ideas and proposals on how to improve the organization of the Collaboration, and in particular to ease and foster the transfer of knowledge between generations of developers.
It has been agreed to divide the various proposals into three categories, to be handled and treated in different ways and time scales:
- Proposals with high degree of consensus and straightforward, shared actions : these should be approved and applied on a short time scale (possibly at the next Steering Board, likely in December).
- Proposals with substantial consensus, but with actions which require more discussions and evaluations : a new Task Force will be nominated, in charge of examining these proposals and provide recommendations to the Steering Board, which will decide. This is expected to happen mostly during 2023.
- Proposals with rather divisive outcome : these will be postponed.
- List of proposals of type a. (see above):
- Advertise the Working Group meetings to the entire collaboration, on a shared calendar to be kept somewhere.
- Encourage to have regular Working Group meetings (e.g. at least every 3 months?). Time zone rotation should be ensured.
- Establish "core" agenda items for the WG meetings to "homogenize" practices among the Working Groups; e.g. include work in progress (round-table), plans for developments, in addition to the final reports.
- Make the Steering Board more transparent to Collaborators.
- Have better and more details minutes of the SB meetings for at least the Geant4 members.
- Have an Early Career Researchers committee with a representative in the Steering Board.
- The SB welcomes this initiative and recommandes this committee to be formed.
- It considers that it must not manage it but makes the following remarks:
- For what concerns representative at SB meetings, the SB suggests to have a rotation of representative.
- The SB warns about having this committee to be as inclusive as possible, taking care of not having a "CERN centric" view : for many young members, their situation is quite different than at CERN, being the only young member in their group because of the modest size of the group.
- Create a forum for Geant4 developers.
- Establish a formalized mentorship program. E.g. Ask for Expression of Interest to be a mentor, collect the list of mentors in a webpage with a short biography. Promote the program at the Collaboration/Contributor level.
- Organise regular seminars within the Collaboration to discuss common items, share knowledge and expertise.
- Establish a Honorary members' list and include it in the Geant4 members web page.
- Make sure to organise regular online tutorials for users.
- The SB agrees that tutorial are of primarily importance, and reminds that regular ones are taking place.
- But it is true that these tutorials are usually quickly full, advocating for more. This is an excellent opportunity for young members.
- Encourage discussion on how Geant4 can be improved in terms of software development and standards with experts.
- Geant4 "editorial" practices: define rules to identify what is a G4-authored paper, and what is an individual paper (for G4 members).
- These rules already exist, but will be better advertised.
- List of proposals of type b. (see above):
- Discuss an eventual restructuring of the Working Groups (Eventually, consider also the restructuring of Technical Forum and/or Task Force.)
- Identify methodologies to integrate more coherently and more efficiently physics development, validation and knowledge transfer from experts to less experts.
- Propose practices aimed to enhance the collaboration among Geant4 members to apply for grants to support the development of Geant4.
- Identify strategies to increase the sense of community within the Geant4 Collaboration.
- Identify processes to improve the communication within the Collaboration.
- Open some SB meetings (or their parts) to Collaborators as observers.
- Investigate the opportunity to have an 'advisory panel' in the SB representing the knowledgeable experts, in addition to the Working Group coordinators responsible for the organisation of work and meetings.
- Establish better procedures for elections, with realistic chances of rotation.
- Increase participation in the life of the Geant4 Collaboration:
- Provide recommendations on how to increase participation in the processes of the Collaboration in terms of elections, census and yearly renewal of membership.
- Provide recommendations to increase Geant4 members' participation in the Geant4 forum, shifts and tutorials.
- Provide recommendations on how to more effectively provide information to new Geant4 members.
- Provide recommendations on the establishment of eventual awards for outstanding individual contributions.
- Define a "feedback schedule" program within the Geant4 Collaboration to improve it overall.
- Increase collaboration between the Geant4 Collaboration and the User Community. Identify ways to encourage "users" to work in some specific technical/service tasks (e.g sort of "help needed").
- Find ways to improve the communication with Geant4 users on the validation for Geant4, advice on optimal usage of Geant4 for users, etc.
- Regarding the above points i. and viii., it would be desirable to come up with a new structure and new election procedure for the Working Groups in time for the next elections, expected in Spring 2024.
- List of proposals of type c. (see above):
- Changes in the practice connected with FTE (Full Time Equivalent):
- Use the FTE contribution to weight the collaborators' votes. (The majority of the voters said "no".)
- The current list of members can be misleading for funding agencies with a negative impact on the available resources. (The voters did not express a common opinion on this.)
- FTE pledges should be published alongside the members' list. (The majority of the voters is either against or does not care about this.)
- FTE pledge of Geant4 Collaborator should not go below a certain threshold - eventually allowing temporary exceptions, and looking at overall performance. (The majority of the voters said "no".)
- Members' list should include information on total FTE, as well as on how many members work for Geant4 outside of their usual work responsibilities (or are on retirement). (No clear trend in the result of the survey.)
- Idea to have the Collaboration Week in multiple (two) geographic locations at the same time. (In the survey, the number of "no" are higher than "yes".)
- More collaboration publications should be released. (This is likely an item for the Steering Board, rather than for the Task Force.)
- Regarding i., although there are quite different opinions, the problem of having a numerous collaboration, but with a substantial fraction of members who contribute relatively little, needs some thoughts and ideas, to avoid over expectations on the capabilities of the Collaboration to meet users' requirements, as well as to have a realistic assessment and planning of the resources needed by the Collaboration. It has been reminded that the pattern of the Collaboration -with few big groups and numerous smaller contributions- was a choice at the beginning of Geant4, as a way to aggregate expertise from people who have often other activities than Geant4.
- The following item should be considered by the Documentation Working Group:
- Changes to the code should be merged only if properly documented (Doxygen comments, documentation in users guide). Specify concrete guidelines beyond what is already existing? Or more in general what can be done in this respect?
- Changes in the practice connected with FTE (Full Time Equivalent):
3. New web site
- Agreed to switch to the new site shortly, giving that there are no major pending problems.
- The decision whether to stay with current technology (Jekyll) for the new web site, or to evaluate an alternative one (e.g. Hugo), should be made after the switch to the new site, and in agreement with the appointed web master.
- Ben Morgan has agreed to take the interim as web master, and eventually hands over it to a young volunteer, if found.