Information to Geant4 newcomers

If you are new to Geant4, it means that your membership has been approved by the Steering Board and that you belong now to one or several working groups (WG). This approval has been made on the basis of developments you proposed, which have been presented to the Steering Board by the WG coordinator(s) you contacted, and approved.

Working Group, Work Plan, Work Items

WGs represent the various categories of software development (electromagnetic, hadronic,…) or support or services (testing and Q&A, documentation,…) of the collaboration. Each WG has a coordinator who interacts with you to build the yearly work plan, make the yearly census, prioritize and oversee developments, organize WG meeting, approve merge requests, etc. The yearly work plan is composed from propositions by WG members. They are discussed and iterated, if needed, to ensure the WG work plan consistency or to ensure the consistency with other WGs in case the work items appear cross-category ones. In the last case, the discussion is carried out inside the Steering Board. In practice, most of the work items are approved. The cases which trigger most discussions are changes of API, hence breaking the backward compatibility, which are only accepted for major releases.

Once WG work plans are built, the global collaboration work plan is assembled by the Release Coordinator by February/March and presented to the March Technical Forum for feed-back from users and experiments. It means that the work plan may evolve, specially about the priorities.

In addition to the yearly work plan, new work items may come all along the year as users’ Requirements, which are formulated during Technical Forum meetings or at any other occasions. These requirements are examined by WG coordinators and/or the Steering Board to ensure their validity and their feasibility under the Geant4 resources. Once approved, their are entered in the JIRA system, for monitoring progress. Requirements recognized as valid but which can not be served because of lack of resources are marked as such in the system.

Daily Work

The typical daily work is to evolve, test and validate your code, submit merge requests to the geant4-dev repository, check the Continuous testing -which is triggered automatically when you submit a merge request- for early detection of potential problems, check the Nightly testing when your code is selected by the testing shifter to be processed so. The shifter will alert you in case of problems with your code and discussion to resolve issues is carried on through the GitLab discussion panel of your merge request.

The testing shifter are all Steering Board members by default, but also any volunteer, after approval by your main activity WG coordinator.

An important task is the support to users. One efficient channel for this is the User Forum.

An other important task is the response to bug reports, through the Geant4 Bugzilla interface.

Keeping the user documentation in sync with your developments is also an important task.

Collaboration Yearly Calendar

At the beginning of each year, you will be solicited for three things:

  • by the spokesperson to renew your membership : a simple process, all explanations are given in the e-mail sent by the spokesperson
  • by your WG coordinator(s) to provide your plan work items for the coming year
  • by your WG coordinator(s) to provide your past year full-time equivalent (FTE) in the WG(s) and planned FTE for the coming year

The yearly work plan is finalized by March/April.

By June, Geant4 publishes the beta release of the yearly developments. Items which may have important impact must be present then, to allow early feed-back for any potential problems.

Generally in September (sometimes late August or early October), the Geant4 Collaboration holds its yearly Collaboration Meeting. This is a unique opportunity to meet and exchange with other members, and this is hence very recommended to attend this event. During the Collaboration Meetings, overall activities and progress are presented, and important issues, involving key developments or collaborative aspects, may be discussed. This is during the Collaboration Meeting that important decisions are taken for what the yearly release is concerned.

By early December, the yearly release happens. It is the final step of a release procedure, typically starting mid-October, where code categories are delivered. There are three group of categories, and hence three related deadlines for development code delivery. Once a group deadline is over, only fixes are allowed. The release schedule is announced to the Collaboration by the Release Coordinator soon after the yearly Collaboration Meeting.

The December release comes together with the update of the User’s Guides. Your WG coordinator may solicited you to provide the “how to” for the “User’s Guide: For Application Developers”, the “how is” for the “User’s Guide: For Toolkit Developers” and the “what’s inside” for the “Physics Reference Manual”.

Boards and Regulations

The Geant4 Collaboration has two boards:

  • The Steering Board, made of the WG representatives, including the coordinator, the number of representative depending of the total FTE of the WG. The coordinator and representatives are elected every two years by the WG members. The Steering Board is also made of the Spokesperson, chair of the Steering Board, and elected by the Collaboration members, every two years too. The Steering Board drives the Collaboration, its tasks are specified here (ref).
  • The Oversight Board, made of the representatives of the funding agencies. The Oversight Board ensures the Collaboration has the needed resources to respond to the main needs of the funding agencies. The Oversight Board as other roles and competences, like the organization of reviews.

The Collaboration functioning is formalized by the original regulation documents, which are translated to “daily regulations” one and in the Geant4 software license, all of which you have to approve at the yearly membership renewal.

Among the regulations is the publication policy, which is applied to conference presentations or posters and to journal papers. The publication policy publication process is operated by the Publication Board, but before contacting it, you have to inform your WG coordinator and get his/her approval.