Workbook for BaBar Offline Users - Information Resources
As the last part of your Introduction to BaBar Offline Computing,
this section of the Workbook tells you where to go for information
other than this Workbook.
The main entry point for BaBar information is the SLAC BABAR Detector Home Page, the URL
for which is
Optionally, this URL can be abbreviated to
Collaborators not based in North America may get faster access by
viewing a "mirror site" such as the
RAL BABAR Detector Home Page, the URL for which is
Some items, such as those that access the PEP-II database, cannot be
mirrored and must always be performed directly to the US.
In general any public web page can be accessed from any BaBar web
mirror simply by replacing
with the server address, such as:
The remaining part of the URL (BFROOT etc.) should be identical.
Most collaborating institutes also have their own web pages, often
continuing a lot of information relevant to BaBar. See BaBar
Collaborator Home Pages.
The BaBar web was subject to a major overhaul in early 1999. Take a
quick look at the following pages to develop a sense of what is where.
Other useful BaBar pages:
HyperNews ("HN") is BaBar's newsgroup system. Here you can ask experts
questions, discuss BaBar problems and issues, and get feedback from
other BaBarians. Hypernews items are archived and are searchable, so
if you have a problem, you can search Hypernews to see if anyone else
ever had the same problem, and if they found a solution.
There are hundreds of BaBar forums. Some of them are on general
topics of interest to most users, while others are used mostly by
a single Analysis Working Group (AWG) or other BaBar group.
As a minimum, you will probably want to sign up for:
- The HN forum for your AWG.
- The HN forums concerning code or analysis tools that you are using.
Another useful forum is the Preliminary Unconfirmed Bugs, Problems, Frustrations, Fixes forum. The signed-up members of this forum are mostly experts. But it is intended for non-expert users to post their computing problems and receive feedback from the experts.
(Note: You do not have to sign up for a forum to read the postings
in that forum. You can do that from the HyperNews page. Signing up just
means that you will receive all the postings for that forum by email.)
To see a complete list of available forums and for instructions
on how to sign up for a forum, go to:
The BaBar HyperNews Page
Email at SLAC page
As with all of High Energy Physics, email is heavily used in BaBar.
Keep in mind that discussions that you want to have open to all
collaborators are better conducted through Hypernews (discussed
BFMAIL allows you to send email to centrally-managed BaBar mailing
lists. It provides something in between the open nature of Hypernews
and the more closed nature of simple email. Hypernews is still a
better approach if you want your discussion to be open to all
Any mail that you send through BFMAIL should be addressed to
The specific distribution list is specified by the first line in the
mail itself, such as:
Other sorts of mailing lists can be useful for such things as
notifying you of computing outages. How you subscribe to such mailing
lists depends on our local mail client. From NetScape, for example,
you use "Subscribe to Discussion Groups..." from the mail system's
Software bug reporting is handled through a system called "Remedy".
The system allows users to check whether a given bug has already been
reported and allows persons fixing bugs to provide feedback.
slac.computing.outages is the mailing list for SLAC
A Hypernews forum (the Preliminary/unconfirmed Bugs, Problems,
Frustrations, Fixes mentioned above) also exists for people who have
problems but may not want to start a real bug report till they are
sure it is a bug.
The purpose of both of these resources is to encourage you to
communicate with others rather than suffer silently when your code is
not working. Don't be shy about asking for help.
BaBar makes extensive use of telephone meetings. Such meetings are
most often held at 8:30 AM pacific time since that catches European
collaborators still at work (5:30 PM for many).
Details on meetings are usually posted on appropriate web pages, for
example, the very popular Physics/Reconstruction/Simulation Forum
meetings are discussed on the
Forum web page.
Some BaBar groups have begun to use the new BaBar Meeting Organizer (BMO). The BMO provides meeting schedules and details, and stores presentations and other documentation from current and old BaBar meetings.
Some meetings use video conferences, generally
using the video conferencing suites in the Computing Services
Center. Contact Art Bray
at CSC to inquire about booking the SLAC video conferencing equipment.
Many Unix commands are described in online manual pages. From the
Unix console, one can see these pages by issuing the command
man followed by the command name, as in:
> man cd
You will be given one page of output at a time.
Hit the space bar to get the next page of output.
Type the letter
q to quit this help system.
Man pages can also be browsed over the web.
Standard unix commands have man pages located on the web at the
BaBar-specific commands have man pages located on the web at :
When BaBar users refer to "the database", they usually mean
the Event Store/Mini Database that contains the detector's
constants and event data. But there is also an Oracle Relational
Database. This other database contains administrative data, lists of
publications and drawings, and so forth.
An overall look at Who's Who in BaBar administration can be found in
BABAR Collaboration and Administrative Items.
To find out the people in charge of various aspects of BaBar
computing, see the Computing
Web's Who's Who page.
Ask lots of questions of your local colleages. If any of them wish to
serve as a local contact, they can have their name posted here.
If you have BaBar software questions that don't seem to be answered by
the above sources, send your question to Paul Harrison or Stephen
Gowdy. This allows Paul and Stephen to collect data on what hasn't
been well documented.
Your Introduction to BaBar Offline Computing is now complete. You
have set up your account, run an example job, learned about the
detector and learned where to go for information other than this
The next sections of the Workbook will take you through the software
in ever-increasing detail.
Last modification: 12 April 2006
Last significant update: 2 June 2005