Wednesday, Jan. 12 2011 1:12 a.m. UTC
Today will probably be another short post since it’s getting late in the satellite pass. I’ve been outside three times already today — first for a morning jog out to the IceCube laboratory (ICL), then to take the obligatory “hero shots” out at the Pole markers (there is a geographic pole marker, which moves every year as the ice, with the Station and everything else, gradually glides towards some distant oblivion in the Southern Ocean; and the Ceremonial Pole a few dozen meters away which is ringed with the flags of signatories of the Antarctic Treaty). Finally, I went out to meet Mark D., a new collaborator from Belgium who I hadn’t met before. On his plane were half a dozen “DVs” — Distinguished Visitors, which in this case included reporters from the National Science Foundation and National Geographic, which may stroll by here any moment.
It was interesting going out to the ICL and seeing all of the strings cabled to computers there. It looks quite well organized and impressive to me, very 21st Century, and I thought of how far we’ve come since the AMANDA days in the 1990s when we ran everything off of a Macintosh desktop computer. We have perhaps several thousand times as much computing power on the Ice now, and though there are plenty of loose ends and improvements to be made, I think the overall design is correspondingly more advanced, robust and complete.
Yesterday we collected some test data to pave the way for the first runs of the full 86-string detector, which required some trial and error but which were ultimately successful. Progress is being made, though schedules might be a bit tight if we are going to get the first full runs in before I leave in little over a week (!).