17 October 1996
ICFA Statement on Communications in International High Energy Physics Collaborations
Over the past two decades, high energy physics experiments have in general become fewer in number and larger. They are now often carried out at laboratories far from home institutions. Indeed, experiments are frequently located on other continents.
The ability of researchers to participate fully in the life of their home institutions, and simultaneously to fulfill their commitments to the preparation, data-taking and analysis of their experiments(s), has come to depend crucially on access to good computer networking.
The availability of powerful low-cost distributed computing, the existence of wide-area networks with the potential for high bandwidth data transmission, the availability of powerful networking software such as the World Wide Web, and the increasing maturity of video-conferencing technology, have all changed the ways in which widespread collaborations operate. The simultaneous use of WWW and video-conferencing forms an effective way for remote groups to participate meaningfully in decision-making processes, and to collaborate significantly on data analysis problems and the preparation of publications. However, for this to be really effective, adequate bandwidth must be available on all of the frequently used paths, whether between the host laboratory and the remote institutions, or between the various remote institutions involved in the experiment.
ICFA notes with satisfaction that the major collaborations and host laboratories involved have actively deployed these new modes of communications and encouraged their use.
ICFA urges that all countries and institutions wishing to participate even more effectively and fully in international high energy physics collaborations should:
- review their operating methods to ensure that they are fully adapted to remote participation
- strive to provide the necessary communication facilities and adequate international bandwidth.