Director's Corner

17 August 2006

Barry Barish

Happy Birthday GDE

One year ago, most of the 49 newly appointed members of the Global Design Effort came to Snowmass, Colorado, for the International Linear Collider Workshop where they participated in our first GDE face-to-face meeting. On 16 August 2005, the GDE members trudged up the hill at Snowmass to a small meeting room – the birthplace of the GDE. At that meeting I defined our mission, our initial organisation and some of our milestones. Now, one year later, I'd like to reflect on how far we have come in our first year of existence.

The GDE is one year old and walking the walk and talking the talk.

Once the GDE was formed, our first task was to organise ourselves in such a way that would enable this globally dispersed group to work together, take decisions and develop the ILC design. A key organisational element was the formation of our Executive Committee (EC), consisting of the three accelerator leaders and the three regional directors from Europe, Asia and the Americas, as well as myself. The EC has evolved into a pro-active committee who work closely with me and participate in essentially all major decisions. In my view, our Executive Committee has been very active, very effective and a key to our success. Because of this small and simple organisational structure we were able to develop a global, yet flexible, process for decision-making and for leading the effort.

The first major milestone we set for ourselves was to develop a baseline configuration and to document it before the end of 2005. We worked our way through a list of more than 40 major decisions in the process and accomplished that goal. The guidance I gave at the time was that the baseline should be forward looking and consistent with being able to cost it during 2006. We succeeded in creating and documenting a baseline that has both many good points and some admitted flaws. It is now serving the purpose for which it was intended, namely to give us a common starting point for developing a reference design and costs.

Our next step was to "freeze" the baseline and to put it under configuration control, meaning that we would have a process in place that would make it possible to make changes to the baseline in an orderly and formal manner. Again, we succeeded at this step and we have processed 14 change requests by our Change Control Board to date, with several more in the works.

Finally, our next major milestone is to produce a reference design and costing by the end of 2006. We are well on our way to doing that, having gotten our first cut at costing the baseline this past month. We are now beginning the difficult task of validating those costs in detail, looking hard at areas where we can institute savings and exploring design alternatives that could give a better cost to performance.

The original GDE mission statement also included an important global coordinating role for the ILC R&D programme. Since an ambitious R&D programme was already in place, the GDE role needed to be carefully developed. We are now making strides towards coordinating the ILC R&D in a variety of ways, and also in matching its priorities and goals to those of the GDE. An example of such coordination is the new S0/S1 and S2 Superconducting RF task forces that I wrote about last month.

It is clear that we have a lot to be proud of for our first year and I believe that as a result the prospects for the ILC have markedly improved. To acknowledge this very good start, I cheerfully wish us a very happy first birthday and an equally successful second year!

Read the historic 'Live from Snowmass' coverage!

-- Barry Barish