March 21, 1975

Executive Committee of the American Institute of Physics

Minutes of Meeting

Members Present: H. Richard Crane – Chairman, Robert T. Beyer, J. A. Burton, Laurence W. Fredrick, W. W. Havens, Jr., E. Leonard Jossem, H. William Koch

Absent: Jarus W. Quinn

Nonvoting Participants: A. I. Mahan (OSA), Larry D. Simpson (AAPM), R. A. Young (ACA)

AIP Staff Present: H. William Koch, Director; Sidney Millman, Secretary; G. F. Gilbert, Treasurer; Lewis Slack, Assoc. Director for General Activities; Robert H. Marks, Assoc. Director for Publishing; Dorothy M. Lasky, Assistant to the Director; Mary M. Johnson, Assistant to the Secretary; John Auliano, Manager – Programming Section; Michael Martino, Manager – Data Processing

Chairman Crane called the meeting to order at 9:30 a.m.

1. Minutes

Upon motion made and passed without dissent, the minutes of the February 13, 1975, Executive Committee meeting were approved.

2. Approval of Staff Recommendations for New Computer Facilities

Koch started the consideration of this topic by stating that he intended to make a presentation to the Executive Committee on the acquisition of a new computer facility. He expressed the hope that the Executive Committee would approve the submission of this recommendation to the Governing Board the following day for its consideration and approval. Koch said he would be referring to four documents at one time or another:

  1. A set of proposed specifications for a new computer as given to the Executive Committee on February 13.

  2. A proposal from UNIVAC sent to all voting members of the Executive Committee on March 14.

  3. The IBM proposal, which was not sent out. Copies were available at the meeting for examination.

  4. A statement entitled “Background and Recommendation for a New Computer Configuration” dated March 14, 1975, which was sent to all Board members and non-voting participants who had indicated that they would attend the Board meeting.

The AIP Management has particularly worried about the cost, $400,000 to $600,000, and the conversion problems. It has concluded that we should go ahead and acquire the UNIVAC 90/30 computer on a rental basis and retain the UNIVAC 9300 presently in our basement which we can purchase at a nominal cost. The financial investment would be about $9,800 per month, compared with a total of $10,000 per month which we are presently spending on the rental of the 9300 facility and the cost of other activities that the new computer would handle. The Management Committee also brought in our consultant, Ernest von Simson, who helped us sharpen up our evaluation of the specific facility that we should acquire. Von Simson concurs with the recommendation that a new facility should be acquired and that the 90/30 is the proper choice. His own preference would be for a less expensive configuration and a more limited storage capacity.

Koch called attention to four charts on display and made the following points: Our present 6-tape drive computer is highly overworked and abuses the tapes. A year ago we had 30% down time. This has been improved by increased attention to maintenance but at present it is still down an average of 12 hours out of 70. The present system depends on sequential processing and we have limited capacity. We are labor intensive. The proposed 90/30 system incorporates new technology. The information storage is on discs rather than on tapes and therefore can be accessed randomly. Moreover, it has a much larger memory capacity, 128K bytes instead of 32K bytes in the central processor, and 400 megabyte disc storage compared with about 100 megabyte tape storage of the present facility. We would use two of the present tapes for data transfer but, for this purpose, the tapes would be used very lightly. It would also be possible to add more storage capacity in the future and, because of the random access, it would perform many computer operations much faster and more reliably than the present system.

UNIVAC has an edge because the new equipment can benefit from incorporating components of the present system. We could not do that with IBM. Additionally, IBM is more expensive. This can be expressed in terms of total accumulated rental including maintenance for a 5-year lease as follows: about $920,000 for IBM compared with $590,000 for UNIVAC.

Gilbert added that presently, approximately 80-90% of Data Processing costs are charged to Subscription Fulfillment and the balance to Accounting. With complete computerization of Accounting in the future, this ratio will be changed. Moreover, in the new configuration we will have a third element, publishing, and there is the possibility of adding more. Jossem asked how the new facility will affect costs to the Societies. This resulted in some discussion from which emerged the following observations. The conversion cost and purchase of present equipment will undoubtedly result in some additional transient costs, but the net increase in 1976 is likely to be small. Thereafter costs of Subscription Fulfillment and Accounting should decrease although it is too early to estimate the savings to be gained.

Burton reported that he showed the UNIVAC proposal to some computer experts at Bell Laboratories and they felt that the recommendations of the Management Committee are inescapable. However, AIP would continue to be locked into the UNIVAC system. They did suggest that, in expanding into other areas, it might be good to consider doing more programming in higher level languages so as to get away from being locked into a single vendor. Martino agreed and indicated that some higher level programming is quite feasible with the new facility and that, after the initial conversion period, his staff will take that on as a goal.

Koch added that the lease for the proposed facility is 5years. Crane emphasized the importance of having an initial smooth and reliable conversion. "We cannot afford another foul-up." Koch agreed and stated that that is why it is planned to run both systems in parallel for 3 or 4 months.

The discussion was concluded with the passing of the following motion:

MOVED that the Management Committee's plans for acquiring a UNIVAC 90/30 computer facility be recommended to the Governing Board.

There was a consensus that Koch should make the same presentation to the Board on the following day as he did to the Executive Committee.

3. Reports of AIP Journal Editors

Koch stated that each year we make sure that we have received a report from each editor. We have received all reports but one, and copies are attached as Exhibit A. The missing one is from the editor of THE PHYSICS OF FLUIDS (subsequently received and included here). At the recent Publication Board meeting the chairman invited the editors to transmit comments or complaints to the Governing Board. None was received.

We might note that the number of manuscripts in THE REVIEW OF SCIENTIFIC INSTRUMENTS has been going down and this causes some concern. The editor, J. B. Horner Kuper, is now retired from his former place of employment, Brookhaven National Laboratory, and we think that during the next year it is time for a review of the status of RSI. We would like to ask the Publishing Policy Committee to take on this study if there are no objections. Havens agreed and expressed the belief that the decrease in manuscripts is due to the editorial policy. "What should be the role of RSI" is a question that should be investigated. Havens also commented that the Publication Board needs some more direction or purpose. The recent meeting was long and drawn out. It would be good to have their reports circulated (as we are now resuming). Editors do not want to report to the Publishing Policy Committee which then reports to the Governing Board. They want a direct line to the Board.

4. Review of Governing Board Agenda

  1. Financial Report for 1974

    Gilbert reminded the Committee of the previously projected income of about $122,000 for 1974. His latest estimated net income is $157,000. The net income is due in part to interest on investments, which represents income on short-term investments of excess working capital. It was helped greatly in 1974 by long delays in the publication of Soviet journals and the large prevailing interest rates. This net income wipes out our previous accumulated deficit of approximately $115,000 and results in an accumulated income of about $9,000 as of December 31, 1974.

  2. Financial Handling Charge for 1976

    Gilbert reminded the Committee that the AIP bylaws provide that Member Societies pay a financial handling charge not to exceed 1% of the monetary value of business done on their behalf. This financial handling charge must be fixed annually by the Governing Board, and was set at 5/8 of 1% for calendar year 1975. The staff recommends the same percentage for 1976. In the past the Executive Committee has always made a recommendation to the Board, and the following motion was passed:

    MOVED that the Executive Committee recommends the continuation of 5/8 of 1% as the financial handling charge for 1976.

  3. Manpower Surveys

    Slack suggested that it would be a good idea to bring the Board up to date on 1975 Manpower plans as a follow-up to the 6-year report presented to the Board at the last meeting. In particular we could tell them of the phasing out of DEIS (Doctoral Employment and Information Service) as recommended by the AIP Advisory Committee on Manpower and also by the APS Manpower Committee.

    In the case of the Register, the Executive Committee at its last meeting, approved continuation of the address maintenance but deferring actual conduct of a Register until some later time. Accordingly, no significant data of any kind are being gathered for the non-doctorate population.

  4. Report by Chairman of Committee on Committees

    Jossem, a member of the subject committee, reported that the chairman plans to present an interim draft since the committee is not yet at the stage where it wants to make definite recommendations.

  5. Appointment of Committees

    Koch pointed out the need to proceed with the approval by the Board of the 1975 committee roster since the new committee structure is still under study. A list of proposed committees and representatives for the interim has been sent to Board members.

  6. Plans for Fall Assembly, Governing Board, Corporate Associates

    Lasky informed the Committee that two sets of dates are under consideration, October 16, 17 and 18, and October 9, 10 and 11. We are planning again to go to Washington and meet at the National Academy of Sciences, since last year's arrangements there were regarded as highly satisfactory. The Assembly of Society Officers will be held on the first day. There will be a Corporate Associates meeting that evening and all the next day. The Societies can caucus the second evening, and the Governing Board will meet on Saturday. W. A. Fowler is Chairman of the Assembly and E. C. Lingafelter is Secretary.

  7. NSF Anniversary

    Koch pointed out that this year is the 25th anniversary of the National Science Foundation and that it would be nice to recognize this milestone. The possibilities are: an editorial in PHYSICS TODAY or perhaps an appropriate certificate. Burton suggested an appropriate picture on the cover of PT. Crane thought that we could write a letter of commendation, with copies to various people.

5. Election of Corporate Associates

Lasky reported that she made an extensive mailing in January to 420 organizations calling particular attention to the new low rate of $250 in the dues structure for those employers that have four physicists or fewer. There were five positive responses, all from advertisers and exhibitors. We had 38 other responses, all negative. Collections to date from 79 Corporate Associates are $86,000 gross. At the end of 1974 we had 85 Corporate Associates and gross collections of $97,240. We might try to have more personal contact.

Upon motion made and passed, the following organizations were elected Corporate Associates of the Institute for 1975:

Bell Aerospace Co. $500
Pergamon Press Inc. 500
LeCroy Research Systems 250
Spex Industries Inc. 250
Springer-Verlag New York, Inc. 250

6. Proposal for a Peer Review Study

Koch referred to a proposal of Congressman Bob Casey, Democrat of Texas, transmitted to the Institute in a letter from Professor H. E. Rorschach of Rice University, requesting publication of a questionnaire in PT in order to assess the peer review system. He added that Crane had suggested that we refer it to the Member Societies. There was general agreement for this course of action. Jossem noted that there is an excellent book on the subject by Robert K. Merton which should be called to the attention of Professor Rorschach and Congressman Casey. In general, the peer review system is well regarded in the physics community.

7. Ratification of SPS Elections

Slack reminded the Committee that the constitution of the Society of Physics Students requires that elections be ratified by the AIP Governing Board and that the Board had previously authorized the Executive Committee to act for it on this matter. There are altogether 12 councillors, one from each region in the U.S., and 12 associate councillors in the SPS organization. Four new councillors are elected every year for a 3-year term. The associate councillors, who are students, are elected annually. A copy of the list of newly-elected councillors was distributed by Slack and a copy is attached as Exhibit B. It was recommended that these results be ratified and a motion to that effect was passed.

8. Pending Application of the American Vacuum Society to be Admitted as a Member Society

Millman called attention to an item in the Governing Board minutes of September 20, 1972, pointing to the need for some reply to the American Vacuum Society. This AIP Affiliated Society had applied formally about two and one-half years ago for admission as a regular Member Society of AIP. Our reply to AVS was to the effect that consideration of their application would have to wait until the report of the AIP Long-Range Planning Committee had been received.

This brought out some discussion along the lines: (1) How desirable is it for AIP to continue to expand, and (2) What guidelines should we follow for admission of new Member Societies. It was decided to bring the subject up for further discussion at the next meeting.

9. Next Meeting

Millman pointed to the need for changing the previously set date of May 1, at Washington, for the next meeting of the Executive Committee as that date will not be convenient for all concerned. It was decided to change the date to Wednesday morning, April 30.

The meeting was adjourned at 12:10 p.m.