Elizabeth Gallas

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Elizabeth Gallas

Database Design Engineer

Roles in ATLAS:

  • ATLAS Database Coordinator
  • Database application developer
  • ATLAS Metadata Architect (2011-2017)

ATLAS is a large multi-purpose experiment at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN exploring the physics of head-on collisions of protons (and sometimes heavy ions) at the high energies available. Its global scale data repositories include tens of petabytes of real and simulated event data and their processing through the collaboration's standard production chains. Every process of reconstructing and analyzing this data requires "metadata": the key quantities of the data which describe the underlying data and relate it to the big picture.

Efficient and effective metadata collection and storage are key to the success of this endeavor (and indeed any process within it). Metadata is used to not only give a descriptive overview of existing samples, but is used in everything from driving large scale processing to helping physicists find rare events. Metadata is stored centrally in database systems, which has been very effective at delivering this important information to all processes that need it. In addition, these systems are the back end to the interfaces needed by physicists to find the data they need.

Dr. Gallas has taken an active role in the development of many applications which use the data in ATLAS databases since 2006. In 2008, she became part of the ATLAS Database Coordination team to facilitate coherent database application development across the many systems in ATLAS using databases. She was appointed ATLAS Metadata Architect in 2011, working with subsystem, computing, and database experts to ensure optimal storage and access to this critical information.

Dr. Gallas is a head of the Oxford Physics Practical Computing Laboratory Course, where 1st (Prelims) and 2nd (Part A) year physics undergraduates gain practical experience in programming as part of their degree course.

Physics Practical Course Computing Laboratory Portal Page:

Instructions, notes, links, and lecture material:

Elizabeth was born in Chicago, Illinois in the United States. She received her Bachelor of Science degree in Engineering Physics from the University of Arizona (Tucson, Arizona) then specialized in Particle Physics at Michigan State University (East Lansing, Michigan) where she received her Ph.D studying neutrino induced events in the Tevatron Neutrino beamline at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Batavia, Illinois).

As a post-doctoral scientist at the University of Texas at Arlington (Arlington, Texas), she worked on the D-Zero experiment, one of the two large detectors studying proton-antiproton collisions in Fermilab's Tevatron collider (the D-Zero experiment co-discovered the top quark in 1995). In this capacity, she took an active role in the analysis and publication of multi-jet final states, wrote online and offline tracking software for muons in the calorimeter, and became a Co-project Manager for the design and construction of an upgraded scintillating tile component of the calorimeter.

Building upon an interest in data management and databases, she moved on to became an Applications Physicist at Fermilab. In this capacity, she continued to work on D-Zero, but specialized in the design and implementation of mission-critical database-based applications for both online data taking and offline analysis. She became the D-Zero Database Coordinator in 2004.

In 2006, she moved to the United Kingdom to work with the Particle Physics Group at the University of Oxford on the ATLAS experiment at the LHC. She was appointed ATLAS Database Coordinator in 2008 and to the position of ATLAS Metadata Architect in 2011.

More specific information about my application development including those involving graduate students can be found in the link: ATLAS: Metadata and Databases.