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Monica Dunford | USLHC | USA

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Meetings, meetings, meetings

Yet another big ‘week’ has passed us by. A few weeks ago it was ‘ATLAS week’, a week of meetings about the detector’s status. This week was ‘Trigger and Physics week’, another week of meetings about all the physics studies being done in preparation for the beam turn-on.

Some friends and I were discussing the volume of meetings within ATLAS. And I thought I might support this discussion with some statistics. This is the 13 year summary of the number of ATLAS meetings registered on our main scheduling website:

atlas_meetings

Really? Really guys? Did we really have 4531 meetings in the past year? I would have guessed like 1000 per year.

Actually what is shown here is the number of ‘events’ in the past year. For example, Trigger and Physics week which was five full days of meetings is listed as one event in this figure (which makes this figure all that more depressing). Say there are approximately 250 working days at CERN, this would be approximately 18 meetings per day. It baffles me that we actually have that much to talk about!

And since I just couldn’t resist I decided to look at the number of CMS events in the past few years.

cms_meetings

947 to ATLAS’ 4531. Hmm.

I think there are two possible explanations here. CMS uses a different scheduling/conference website. This is entirely possible. They might want to avoid having random ATLAS bloggers comb through their meeting statistics. Or. CMS is just more verbally efficient. They say in one word what ATLAS says in four.

It would be interesting to see the monthly statistics but the website doesn’t generate those. This is probably for the greater good of the experiment. People can really get into plotting all the various statistics. And knowing ATLAS, we would probably have to schedule a meeting to discuss the results.

If you were to ask me (and I feel represent the population well for this question), ‘Do you spend too much time in meetings?’ I would say, yes. But if the next question was, ‘Which meetings do you think ATLAS could afford to get rid of?’. I would say, none.

Take Trigger and Physics week. Of the talks that I attended, the information presented was useful and relevant. Meaning that for the most part it was information that I needed to know. Information that I need for the continuation of my own work. I can not point to a single talk that was not worth having. Nor are there many talks that are redundant. Certainly there is some overlap, where one talk might be using as input some work presented elsewhere. But I didn’t feel like I was being told the same thing twice. So maybe 4500 meetings per year is the reality of doing physics in an experiment with 2000 people.

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