Director's Corner

9 November 2006

Brian Foster

GDE and WWS meet at Valencia

Today's issue features a Director's Corner from Brian Foster from the University of Oxford.

On Tuesday a momentous meeting for the future of the ILC began in Valencia. Under cloudy skies and occasional rain, the ILC family has gathered for one of its tri-annual joint meetings, reviewing progress and the status following the Vancouver meeting last July. The beautiful surroundings and amazing architecture of the medieval old centre of Valencia are an inspiring environment in which the almost 400 participants can contemplate the future of our science.

The welcome cocktail took place in the La Nau de la Universitat.

Everyone in the GDE and the ILC project as a whole knows that we have entered a difficult but vital part of the RDR process. We have a viable design for the ILC, but we need to assure ourselves that it is as cost effective as possible. Although we often think of this as meaning we have to make the project cheaper, in fact we would need to go through this process no matter what the headline price (which is in any case only known in detail to our Director and our three Cost Engineers). Barry has given us a goal of trying to reduce the cost of the project by 30% compared to the Vancouver level, and the last three months have seen an enormous effort to that end from all parts of the project. In order to try to drive and steer the process as efficiently as possible, the Executive Committee and RDR Management Board have been meeting face-to-face every month since Vancouver. Good progress is being made towards our goal, as we heard in Nick Walker’s plenary talk and from Kaoru Yokoya’s and Tetsuo Shidara’s talks to the Plenary GDE session on Tuesday. In addition we heard a positive analysis of the world situation as seen from FALC by Roberto Petronzio and the status of the parallel detector effort to produce a CDR from John Jaros.

The remainder of the meeting is devoted to making further progress on cost reduction. There will be in-detail closed sessions to discuss cost-reduction options for each of the technical systems. Dialogue with the experimenters will take place throughout the meeting, but particularly in a joint plenary session on Wednesday afternoon and in a round-table discussion on Wednesday evening; very long sessions, sometimes until 9pm, emphasise the amount of work that needs to be done and take advantage of Spanish dining hours! The intention is that the end of the meeting will see us launched on target to freeze the RDR design by the end of the month and to enter the detailed cost validation process at SLAC in December.

The opening reception in the elegant colonnade and courtyard of the university building “La Nau”, open to the sky, was an opportunity to relax and enjoy traditional Spanish hospitality and tapas – the calm before the storm of work to come. At the closing plenaries on Friday, Barry will summarise the status of the GDE and the work to come before the RDR release in Beijing in February. Albrecht Wagner, Chair of ICFA, will no doubt raise our eyes to the longer path to our ultimate goal of a working ILC in the next decade. We hope that the Spanish sun will have returned by then to its usual prominence and throw its light on our labours in the beautiful city of Valencia.

-- Brian Foster