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College of Engineering
EECS Instructional Support Group
June 26, 2006
EECS Instructional Computing - Review and Plans
Email and WEB Services
The EECS Instructional Support Group (ISG) installs and maintains networked
computers that are used by EECS classes. ISG provides computer accounts for
instructors and students in the Instructional labs and on Instructional
servers. ISG purchases, installs and maintains application software needed
for classes. ISG supports instructional labs in Cory Hall, Soda Hall and
Hearst Field Annex.
These are the functions in which ISG interacts with other UCB support groups:
- we obtain enrollment lists from the Registrar (Student Information Services)
- we synchronize our user accounts with the EECS department (IDSG)
- we provide cardkey pre-authorization for our students to EECS Facilities
- we bill students' voluntary printer charges to CARS
- we coordinate our use of the EECS Network Node Bank with IDSG and CNS
- we manage the computers in engineering labs with ESG
- we manage the computers in EECS conference rooms with ESG
- we manage the licenses for Synopsys/TCAD/HSPICE with the Device Group
- we manage the licenses for Cadence with the BSAC group
In FY 2006-2007, our budget and grant priorities will be:
- re-hire third student staff, to support CS Lower Division software
and the UCWise courseware computing server ($12000)
- upgrade 30 PCs in 105 Cory for EE20N and EE120 ($45000)
- replace 60 kbds and monitors in 271 & 273 Soda ($18000)
- 3 Sun V480s to replace cory.eecs and 2 SunRay servers in Soda ($21000)
- 1 new multi-processor CPU server for CAD applications ($45000)
Email and WEB Services
1) student accounts and email:
ISG creates computer accounts for students in EECS classes. All EECS
majors get computer accounts, email accounts and a WEB site on the
Instructional computers until 6 months after they graduate. All students
have CalMail accounts and no longer need an email account from us, so we
plan to retire the Instructional email service by Aug 2006.
2) course WEB sites:
Instructors can manage their course WEB content on the EECS Instuctional
server. Other servers on campus offer other services including the
course schedule and description, student enrollment and email lists, the
submission of grades and a course management system. Instructors are
encouraged to use new courseware services at http://bspace.berkeley.edu.
This site is especially good for communicating with the students and for
storing password-protected content.
These are the major improvements in ISG resources from May 2005-May 2006:
1) Purchased new Sun Fire V440 Server (A42-XHB4C2-16HD, 4 * 1.593GHz
UltraSPARC IIIi processors with 1MB Cache each, 16GB Memory). It is
valued at $31K and was purchased with a 50% SUN Matching Grant.
It will serve the SunRays in 271 Soda and be a general computing login
server. The existing server in 271 Soda will be reallocated to 273 Soda,
so that performance in 273 Soda will be improved by having 2 SunRay
servers. The primary benificiaries will be classes using Java and the
Eclipse IDE (CS61B, CS188).
2) 119 Cory: renovated ("High Performance Computing Lab"). 16 DELL 670
(WinXP) with 3-GHz Xeon and 2-GB RAM, via grant from INTEL. Used
by EE upper division classes for CAD tools and programming. New lab
tables and chairs (http://inst.eecs.berkeley.edu/~kevinm/119Cory/).
3) 330 Soda: upgraded ("Upper Division Computing Lab"). 30 Sun W1100s
(WinXP) with 2.4-GHz Opteron and 1-GB RAM, via partial grant from SUN,
used by CS programming classes (Visual Studio). New chairs.
4) 275 Soda: upgraded ("Eclipse Lab"). 10 Sun Ultra 20s (Solaris X86) with
2.8-GHz Opteron and 2-GB RAM, donated by SUN, used by CS61B, CS188 and
other CS programming classes (Java/Eclipse).
CS61B and CS188 use Eclipse (an IDE for Java). These classes were
previously assigned to a lab with SunRays, which share a single large
Sun SPARC server. During Fall 2005 we found that Eclipse overwhelmed
the server during labs, and the solution was for the students to run
Eclipse on individual PCs instead of the shared server. These classes
needed a larger lab with PCs, so in January 2006 we replaced the SunRays
in 275 Soda with PCs from 277 Soda and added the 10 new Ultra 20s that
Sun donated in November 2005.
5) 277 Soda: re-organized ("Collabarative Lab for Laptops").
CS4 needed a lab that is suitable for group interaction and coding using
the HP laptops that Prof Garcia obtained on a grant for developing group
collabaration. We provided empty table space with power outlets for this
in 277 Soda, with storage space for the laptops nearby. If funding is
available, we could replace the tables with more ergonometric furniture
6) New "Fileservice": SunFire V20z with 1.7 TB disk space, purchased with
Matching Grant from SUN. Provides home directories for courses and
students, application software repository and file system mirroring.
7) Class WEB sites organized to manage archiving of old sites
8) Instructional computers are now compliant with campus firewall and
security policy (http://security.berkeley.edu:2002/MinStds/).
9) Hired new PAII staff member (Linda Huang) to be sys admin for
computers and servers in ESG labs and EECS conference rooms.
10) Ferenc Kovac gets credit for managing the upgrade of 67 PCs in 125
Cory (an ESG lab) in January 2006; we had no primary sys admin for
the lab (Khossrov had left, Linda had not been hired yet), and
Ferenc arranged to outsource the software installation to Berkeley
Communications, with a good team effort from ESG/ISG staff and
1) Revision control server for classes
A number of classes use the CVS revision control utility for source
code development. CVS is somewhat difficult to master, it is UNIX-
centric and uses ssh2 as an authenticion mechanism. So we intend to
improve this by maintaining a central revision control server that
can be accessed more easily from Windows as well as from UNIX. We
are likely to use a more up-to-date utility called "subversion" rather
than CVS. We have not implemented the Microsoft Visual Source Safe
because it is does not work well on our multi-user workstations and
it does not work with UNIX.
2) Improve Instructional WEB-based services for instructors.
Currently, the development of EECS course WEB sites is inconsistent.
Some classes have WEB sites that are well-maintained by the teaching
staff, while other sites are left with old or inconsistent data.
ISG provides a WEB server (inst.eecs), disk storage and technical
assistance about the WEB sites. The teaching staff maintain the
content. ISG will provide newer tools to help the teaching staff
obtain, edit and archive the content of their sites. This will
integrate information from other campus WEB resources to facilitate
course administration. This may include WEB site publishing, access
to students by email and newsgroups and access to the new campus
GradeBook service. Instructors are also encouraged to use the new
courseware services at http://bspace.berkeley.edu.
3) Purchase and Grant priorities:
- new SunRay server for 271 Soda (CS61C, etc)
- new parallel computing cluster (CS267, etc)
- blade cluster (Intel) for Linux/Cadence (EE141, etc)
See http://inst.eecs.berkeley.edu/notices.html for current events.
For additional information, please contact me:
Kevin Mullally, ISG Manager
EECS Instructional Support Group
378 Cory Hall, (510) 643-6141