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The Dice Project

Operational Meeting

Minutes of the meeting held on Wednesday 10th October 2007
Seminar Room, Buccleuch Place

Toby Blake, Lindsey Brown, Neil Brown, Roger Burroughes, Chris Cooke, Ken Dawson, Alison Downie, Graham Dutton, Bill Hewitt, Stephen Quinney, Iain Rae, Gordon Reid, George Ross, Craig Strachan (convener and minutes), Simon Wilkinson
  1. Apologies for absence

    There were none.

  2. minutes of the last meeting.

    These were accepted.

  3. Report from Computing Executive Group

    As Alastair was not at the meeting, this item was not taken. Gordon asked why Alastair's presence at the meeting was a requirement for this item when there were several other members of CEG present. It was suggested by Ken and Craig that the item was perhaps misnamed and that "Report from the Head of Computing" would be more appropriate. Nevertheless, the general view of the meeting was that it would be useful for a CEG member to give a brief overview of CEG's activities since the last operational meeting, particularly in view of the difficulty sometimes experienced in spotting new additions to the CEG minutes. It was agreed that Ken, as Deputy Head of Computing would be responsible for giving this report in Alastair's absence with the meeting convener taking on the task should both Alastair and Ken be absent.

  4. Reports from units.

    The general view of the meeting was that a detailed verbal report by a representative of each unit was not necessarily the most productive use of time during the meeting. It was agreed that in future each unit will submit a short written report on their activities by the end of the Monday before the meeting, linked from the meeting agenda. A representative of each unit will give a brief summary of the report at the meeting and invite questions.

    Simon raised the issue of how the individual units could publicise their future strategies. It was agreed that although there was a need for a forum for such discussion, that forum was not the Operational meeting.

  5. AOCB

    Future form of Operational meetings.

    There was some discussion regarding what changes should be made to the Operational meeting in order to improve communication between computing staff and encourage attendance at the meeting. It was agreed that in general the meeting was more useful when a larger number of people attended. The possibility of only holding one meeting a month was raised but it was felt that this would result in too large a gap between meetings. To help stimulate discussion at the meeting, Simon suggested that a mechanism similar to that used at LISA should be used where topics for discussion are suggested and then voted upon with the most popular topics being discussed as time permits. It was agreed that a Wiki page would be set up where all computing staff can suggest topics for discussion and indicate their interest in the topics suggested. There will be a firm limit of two hours set for the length of the operational meeting, topics not discussed being carried forward to the next meeting. It was agreed that this mechanism would be put in place for the next operational meeting.

    There was some discussion on how these discussions should be minuted. It was agreed that the minutes would only contain a note of the topics discussed and any decisions reached but that a mechanism would be provided allowing any member of the computing staff to add notes enlarging on any aspect of the discussion.

    In order to integrate CSOs further into the meeting structure, it was agreed that there would be a new agenda item for a report on CSO issues. Alison or a designated deputy will give this report.

    The next meeting will be on October 24th in JCMB 2511 and chaired by Craig Strachan.

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