University of California Computing Services Conference, UCSB, July 27, 1999
- Information Technology Board
- Information Technology Planning Group
Academic and Research Computing
- Beowulf Systems
Steve Miley, BREN School
Five different units (The BREN School, Chemistry, Computer Science, ITP, and MRL) are in the process of building "Beowulf Systems" or Linux clusters. The various configurations range from a 4 node cluster using the Macintosh platform to a 42 node cluster consisting of 36 dual-processor nodes and 6 quad-Xeons.
- National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS)
Matt Jones, Mark Schildhauer, NCEAS
At the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS), a
small team of researchers and technologists have been working on
projects to improve the process of synthesis for scientific data. These
research projects will address the pressing issue of enabling
researchers to locate, access, and integrate information from
distributed and heterogeneous data sources (in this case, scientists,
researchers and managers needing access to environmental and ecological
information) using next generation Web browsers and cross-platform tools
that we are developing.
The methods that we have employed mainly involve the development of
software that uses STRUCTURED METADATA ("data describing data") to
document the structure and content of scientific databases. This
metadata can then be used to integrate heterogeneous databases for use
in synthetic analyses, and in producing new products for dissemination
through the web or other mechanisms. Our approach is to leverage the
growing prevalence of XML (eXtended Markup Language, a W3C
recommendation) as a lingua-franca for developing structured metadata.
The Resource Description Framework (RDF, parts of which are either
proposed or accepted W3C recommendations) enables us to experiment with
developing a domain-specific 'schema' to not only describe the structure
of the underlying data, but also express their semantics in a
machine-parseable format. This research draws from computer science,
digital library initiatives, and other scientific disciplines in trying
to solve its problems.
Our most recent successes include two new National Science Foundation
awards to increase the scope of the research. In the first award, $3
million from the Knowledge and Distributed Intelligence program, we will
be working with our partners at the University of New Mexico and the San
Diego Supercomputer Center to apply these structured metadata concepts
to the construction of a nationally distributed, integrated data network
of ecological and environmental data. In the second award, $850K from
the Database Activities Program, we will be applying similar structured
metadata concepts to the development of a marine intertidal database
that covers environmental information spanning 61 sites throughout
southern and central California.
Our early work on this topic is briefly described on the NCEAS website.
On the day-to-day side of our scientific research support for ecological
scientists, we continue to find that our two 4-processor
symmetric-multi-processing UNIX boxes are still providing exceptional
functionality for scientific and quantititative analyses, belying the
decade-long, annual prognostications among industry pundits that "UNIX
NCEAS Home Page
- Center For Research in Electronic Art Technology (CREATE)
Stephen Pope, CREATE
We've given 6 concerts now with the 20-channel digitally controlled
Creatophone sound projection system, ranging from student works to world
premieres by internationally known guest composers. We're in the process
of making a permanent installation of parts of the system in Lotte
Lehmann concert hall, and are planning a symposium on spatial sound
performance for early 2000.
In the Paleo multimedia database project, we've implemented a portable
and scalable music and sound database that supports a wide range of data
types, analysis using statistical methods, DSP routines, AI rules, and
dynamic constraints, and multiple query domains.
We have updated our network to GigaBitEthernet just in time to start the
ID3 project that will focus on high-speed low-latency distributed
multimedia data processing and large-scale virtual reality telepresence
applications. We are in the process of hiring 7 new research associates
and GSRs for ID3.
We have participated (with the Dept. of Geography) in the Haptic
SoundScapes project, developing real-time sound synthesis for
incorporation into Web pages.
Our researchers have built a software prototype of a novel granular
synthesizer that we call the Creatovox.
Lastly, we have rebuilt our main recording studio complex with a new
state-of-the-art 24-bit ProTools digital mixing and spatialization system.
CREATE Home Page
- Alexandria Digital Library
Jason Simpson, Alexandria Digital Library
The Alexandria Project is a consortium of researchers, developers, and
educators, spanning the academic, public, and private sectors, exploring a
variety of problems related to a distributed digital library for
Distributed means the library's components may be spread across the Internet,
as well as coexisting on a single desktop. Geographically-referenced means
that all the objects in the library will be associated with one or more
regions ("footprints") on the surface of the Earth.
The centerpiece of the Alexandria Project is the Alexandria Digital Library
(ADL), an online information system inspired by the Map and Imagery Laboratory
(MIL) in the Davidson Library at the University of California, Santa Barbara.
The ADL currently provides access over the World Wide Web to a subset of the
MIL's holdings, as well as other geographic datasets.
Alexandria Digital Library Home Page
- Instructional Development
Art Battson, Instructional Development
The most significant project we are involved in at the moment is equipping
20 classrooms with computer lecterns. The efficient scheduling of equipped
classrooms will permit up to 3 times as many users per day as is currently
possible using portable equipment. Details may be found on the Instructional Resources website. There may be other items of interest under the news section of our website, including video streaming services, the Faculty New Media Development Center, and the new Student Multimedia
Production Center prototype.
We would be happy to arrange small group tours of our facilities if there
is any interest at this late date.
- Undergraduate & Graduate Student Email & Web Service
Matthew Dunham, Instructional Computing
U-Mail is now the "official" student e-mail/web provider on campus.
At this point we have roughly 16000 active accounts
out of 23,600 in our authorization database (registered grads and
rolled out a choose-your-own-login service so that in addition to the
auto-generated user id we issue, every student can open their account
using a user id of their own choosing. in the next week or so we'll be
introduce a subsidiary component that allows those with existing
u-logins or other (ugly) auto-generated logins can make a one-time
change to their user id so that everyone who wants one can have a vanity
Possibly of note is our IMAP based webmail system, which we'll be
introducing this fall. because it uses IMAP underneath it's completely
compatible with PINE, Simeon, Netscape and the other mail clients we
Coming this fall we'll also be introducing a file-storage service
kind of an internet hard drive, if you will by which students can
save and retrieve files to their U-Mail home directory using our
MyAccount web interface, the Mac chooser, or Windows networking. Ideally
students working in campus computing facilities will use this service as
an alternative to storing their papers and such on a floppy disk.
Also, we're in the early stages of setting up course-based mailing lists
such that we'll have an e-mail based discussion group list for every
class offered each quarter. Subscription to the lists will be automatic
as students add and drop classes. Ought to be cool if we can get it all
coordinated with the registrar.
- Instructional Computing
Bill Koseluk, Instructional Computing
year I.C. and its sister departments hosted the International New Media
Centers Conference, a consortia of leading institutions in the development
of Multimedia. I.C. continues to foster its mission of providing computer
support to hundreds of classes campus-wide each academic quarter. As well,
I.C. provides key assistance to many campus departments in the area of
computer laboratory management support.
- Laboratory for Computational Chemistry and Biochemistry
Paul Weakliem, Chemistry
Chemistry got a grant
from the NSF and built a teaching classroom with 21 SGI O2 workstations.
There is one which is hooked up to a projection system at the front of the
room for the instructor, and the students sit at their stations and can
work along with the instructor. They also have 3D glasses which are useful
for looking at complex biological molecules.
We built it during winter quarter and it's been used in computational chemistry
and biochemistry classes so far. I believe it may be one of the biggest
labs of this type in any Chem. dept.
- ClassWeb System
Elise Meyer, Physics
The ClassWeb system is being used in all the Lower Division Physics Courses and some Math Courses too. Over 2,000 students take web based quizzes each week before they attend class. These quizzes ensure that the students are familiar with the material before they hear the lecture, and the system also produces statistics that allow the Lecturers to adapt their lecture to focus on the topics that the students have trouble with and to lightly cover the areas that they understand.
- Off-Campus Studies
Off-Campus Studies is preparing to
video stream our CS and ECE classes next quarter along with selected
campus conferences and colloquia. We presently have demo clips from one
of our televised CS classes last spring and almost all of the
International Women's conference held last May on campus.
Our server is a dual processor machine running NT and RealNetworks G2. We
will be building a Windows Media test in August and experimenting with
text enhancements. We also plan a live streaming experiment before the
start of the quarter.
Prof. Duane Sears, Department of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology
Goals for Using Computer-Assisted Discovery Tools for Teaching Biology
Vehicles for Delivering Course Instruction with Computers
- Exploring the 3D structures of complex biological molecules by "hands-on"
manipulation of computer-generated images of real structures.
- Analyzing empirical data using interactive graphs that hone students'
quantitative skills while guiding them in the direction of inferences about
- Linking mathematical principles to real-life processes that are best
understood in mathematical terms.
- Reinforcing comprehension through interactive, self-assessment quizzes .
Goals of Biochemistry and Immunology Videowebs
- Fully-developed web sites for Biochemistry and Immunology courses
- Streaming videos of all lectures
- Lecture aids (mainly PowerPoint slides) made available on the course webs
Video Web Summary
- Web access to all videotaped lectures
- Access from either campus or home computer
- Relatively low resource requirements
- Random access to specific topics critical
- Client autonegotiation (currently using SureStream technology of RealPlayer G2).
- Videoweb is very popular with our students
- Most students use it as a supplement for review in addition to attending live lecture
- Very few use it exclusively
- Demand has increased each quarter for the last two years.
Prof. Alan Liu, English Department
Our main instructional IT initiatives over here include creating
database-to-Web resources that allow our students to use a browser to
input/edit research materials in an on-the-fly generated class web site;
using Exchange Server to allow students to post papers and other files in a
class-only environment; and integrating student Web-authoring into class
assignments. We are now working on creating a set of online guides for the
critical evaluation and citation of online resources, online research, Web
authoring in courses, etc.
We have (nearly) wrapped up the remediation work and
will be "integration testing" job streams through sets of related
applications using a "Time Machine" (Logical Partition with the
date set to 1/1/2000) next month. I say "nearly" because we fired up
the files for next winter quarter and discovered applicants were being
admitted to winter 1900.
- Billing, Accounts Receivable & Cashiering (BARC)
Gail Johnson, IS&C
the new object-oriented JAVA framework being used to develop the new
BARC system went into production this month when we brought up a new
Cashiering system (CashNet).
- LDAP Directory Service
We now have about 1000
CorporateTime users linked to the directory. Next month we will
integrate payroll-personnel records from UCOP that contain UCNetIDs
for all faculty and staff and then telephone numbers from the
Communications Services directory database.
Auth and Dir Subcommittee
The Electronic Scheduling Advisory Group submitted their final report which
was accepted by the CNC on July 23, 1998, and we had our
first production customer on November 23, 1998. We now have over 1,000
- Retirement of PROFS service
On July 1, 1999 we shut down (completely) our PROFS service. We
actually shut down the scheduling portion of PROFS in February, 1999.
PROFS was in service for 15 years. The PROFS service was replaced by Simeon for email and CorporateTime for
calendaring/scheduling. We now have around 550 Simeon email
IS&C Simeon Email Service Description
- New Services
During the past year we introduced some additional services:
FaxSr - a TCP/IP based network fax service
ADSM - a TCP/IP based network backup service
And we are currently experimenting with "Thin Client Computing" and
have begun a pilot project to explore this technology.
- UCSB Bookstore
Ken Bowers, Bookstore
The Bookstore at UCSB is experiencing
very rapid growth from a new E-Commerce venture started last year. With the
ability to accept orders on-line, the bookstore is expecting to double
international sales this year.
In addition, this year's commencement marked the second time that UCSB offered
live commencement attendance over the web. Using two cameras, a switcher,
microphone, mini transmitter and an apple G-3 server, the six ceremonies were
viewable from all over the world. Over one thousand viewers tuned in to
substantial segments of the ceremonies, which delivered both video and sound.
UCSB Bookstore Home Page
- Housing & Residential Services
George Gregg, Housing & Residential Services
The UCSB Housing and
Residential Services department has purchased and
implemented a package called RMS for residential student
management and a package called TMA for maintenance work
- Retirement of the Broadband Network
We shut down the broadband network, which started in 1982 and, at its
peak, supported all of the campus Ethernet networks, all of the SNA
connections (over 1,000), all of the asynchronous device connections
(over 1,400), and a couple of television channels.
We completed our design process, two RFPs, and ordered our backbone equipment in February 1999. Our border router is a Cisco GSR 12008 and our backbone consists of 2 Cabletron SSR-8s. We use Gigabit Ethernet to interconnect the backbone equipment, and to connect the research groups to the backbone equipment. The backbone infrastructure implementation was completed in May. Research Groups are currently hooking up to the network and testing it out.
CalREN-2 Implementation Group
- 800 MHz
We replaced our two-way radio system with an 800 MHz
system that is compatible with all other campuses for emergency mutual
- Student Residence Wiring Projects
There are currently about 3,400 Ethernet outlets in the six on-campus
Residence Halls and two off-campus apartment buildings. This summer we
are installing 978 outlets in another campus apartment complex (Santa
Ynez), which will leave two apartment complexes without networks. We
are about to issue a Request For Proposal for xDSL equipment to be
installed in these two remaining apartment complexes, possibly during
We have released BORIS, on web-based Billing, Order and Repair
Information System to our residential customers and will be releasing it
to our business customers (faculty and staff) this summer. BORIS
provides access to telephone call billing records (within 5 minutes of
completion of the call) and prior billing statements. It will, in the
future, support the creation and status review of Work Orders (requests
for service) and Trouble Tickets (requests for repairs), including the
history of all work for each customer. It will also enable all
customers to update their Campus Directory data via the web, instead of
sending in hand-written forms.
BORIS for Faculty and Staff
Vince Sefcik, Communication Services