Council on Academic Computing

March 16, 2005

Meeting Summary

Department of Computational Biology

Hagai Meirovitch discussed the School of Medicine’s newly created Department of Computational Biology.  The department, one of the first of its kind in the country, was built around the School’s Center for Computational Biology.  Ivet Bahar chairs the department, and Professor Meirovitch is one of the seven members of its faculty.  Professor Bahar was recruited to the University four years ago to head the aforementioned center.

Computational biology brings together several disparate fields, including biology, computer science, physics and chemistry, and the mathematical sciences.  The National Institutes of Health has identified computational biology as one of the fields necessary to accelerate scientific discovery and to translate these discoveries into practical applications.

The mission of the department is to create computational models that both enhance our understanding of human biology and disease processes and lead to the development of new therapies.  The department will focus upon computational structural biology, computational genomics, and systems biology.  Additional information on the department is located in Professor Meirovitch’s powerpoint presentation.

Report from Computing Services and Systems Development

Jinx Walton, Director of Computing Services and Systems Development (CSSD), discussed music file copyright infringements.  The University has received several copyright infringement notices from the recording industry.  When it receives a notice, CSSD identifies the relevant IP address and its owner, supplies the information to the company involved, and notifies General Counsel of its actions.  Any remaining issues are then resolved between the named individual and the recording industry.

Several other issues were addressed:

  • Firewalls will be installed in the residence halls.  The firewalls will not affect music-file downloads, but they will prevent music-file sharing.
  • The University now possesses four IMAP servers.  Intermittent delays in service appear to be a software problem.
  • CSSD is still searching for an individual with the appropriate skills to help develop PITTGRID.
  • The portals will be upgraded in August.  The portals will support browsers other than Internet Explorer.


The National Science Foundation is reorganizing its K-12 educational programs.  Some of the funds from these programs will be transferred to the Department of Education.

Other issues were also addressed:

  • Future speakers for the Council’s speakers program.
  • A second program on modeling and simulation.
  • Department of Homeland Security Centers of Excellence.
  • Multidisciplinary research RFP.
  • The annual Washington, D.C., funding trip.