Council on Academic Computing

September 27, 2005

Meeting Summary


Council Charge

Provost Maher delivered the Councilís charge.He asked the Council to:

  • Provide advice to CSSD on campus computer security issues, the campus security plan, web-based classes, and future CSSD initiatives.
  • Work with the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center and University departments to develop an ongoing speaker series that highlights trends in academic computing.
  • Sponsor brainstorming sessions on topics (e.g., modeling and simulation) that facilitate interdisciplinary cooperation among the sessionsí participants.

CAC Seminar Series

Members of the Council decided to hold two seminars in the fall and two in the spring.The first seminar will be hosted by Ralph Roskies and will cover potential uses of the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center.Experts in other areas of academic computing will be invited to present at the remaining seminars.

Report from Computing Services and Systems Development

Jinx Walton, Director of Computing Services and Systems Development (CSSD), discussed wireless networks.CSSD is currently studying the feasibility of creating a campus-wide wireless network.Wireless networks currently exist on campus, but they are not linked in a systematic fashion.Student-funded wireless networks currently are available (only to students) in five indoor and two outdoor public areas.Fifteen departments currently possess their own wireless networks, and another 10 departments have requested them.Academic units would be given priority if a campus-wide network is created.

The University received 16 copyright infringement notices from the recording industry last year.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.The University requires students to remove the copyrighted material from their computer.Further University-related action is usually taken through the Student Judiciary Board.Any remaining issues are then resolved between the named individual and the recording industry.

Ms. Walton provided usage statistics in several areas:

  • Ninety-seven percent of students own a computer, but eighty percent of students still use the computer labs.Students must run anti-virus software before they log onto the University network.
  • The spam and virus filters continue to function effectively.Approximately 500,000 viruses and 1.5 million spam messages were caught by the filters.About 17 percent of University accounts use the spam filter.
  • Approximately 36,000 individuals use the Universityís web portal.

Ms. Walton addressed several other issues:

  • The Web Portal, IMAP servers, and Courseware software have been upgraded.
  • The PeopleSoft information system was implemented in August.