EECS Instructional Support, University of California at Berkeley
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                          College of Engineering
                     EECS Instructional Support Group

								July 23 2008
              EECS Instructional Computing - Review and Plans
		                 Fall 2007

	Mission Statement
	Recent Improvements 
	Current Initiatives
	Parallel Computing Cluster (Icluster)
	Notable Events

Mission Statement

  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

Recent Improvements 

  Due to fiscal limits, we did not make any major computer or infastructure 
  purchases in FY 20006/2007.

  - purchased software licenses for Shake on Macs in 349 Soda (for CS198)
  - purchased 50 new chairs for labs in 330 Soda and 119 Cory

Current Initiatives

  - received grants from Google and Intel for a parallel computing cluster
  - requested AEG grant from SUN for 24 new worksatations in 275 Soda 
  - purchased 32 20" LDCs to replace old CRTs in 105 Cory (EE20N, etc)
  - purchased 32 new USB kbds for 275 Soda (CS61B, etc)
  - purchased 96 new USB mice for 271/273/275/330 Soda
  - purchased 2 new printers to replace 3 old ones in 274 Soda

Parallel Computing Cluster (Icluster)
  With generous grants from Google and Intel, we have purchased this equipment 
  for an Instructional Parallel Computing Cluster:

  - 26 Dell PowerEdge 1950 (each with 2 quad-core 2.33GHz Xeon, 8GB RAM)
  - a rack and a gigabit switch for the cluster internal network

  In addition, the department is installing a water-cooled rack in our server 
  room to accommodate this new cluster.

  The cluster nodes run Linux and the Nutch/Hadoop implementation of the 
  GFS distributed filesystem.   User applications will include a public-domain 
  version of the map-reduce parallel processing tool, which is implemented in 

  The ICluster became operational in mid-October 2007 and was used by CS61A.
  CS61A students developed an Stk/Java interface to Hadoop/mapreduce so they 
  can add related functions to the UCB Scheme programming language.  

  Classes that may use the Icluster in the future include:

	CS61A (Prof Harvey, adding a parallel processing module to scm)
	CS152 (Prof Asanovic)
	CS198 (Prof Garcia, using MPI and other APIs)
	CS186 (Prof Hellerstein, using Hadoop and map-reduce)
	CS194 (Prof Yelick) 
	CS267 (Prof Yelick) using MPI, UPC(C), CAF(Fortran), Titanium(Java)?

Notable Events

  See for current events.

  Dec 5 - This WEB server was down Tue 5pm-5:30pm, Wed 1am-8am

	This WEB server ( was down from about
	5pm-5:30pm Dec 4 and again from 1am-8am on Dec 5.

	The server was being overwhelmed by downloads from remote sites,
	mostly in Asia.   We had to reboot it to clear bad processes that 
	were preventing new connections to the WEB server.   At 1am, the
	reboot did not complete so the server stayed down until the start
	of work later that day.

	We are implementing measures to selectively block the sites that
	are abusing us with excessive download requests.

  Dec 3 - licenses for Xilinx, ModelSim, ADS, Synplicity were down on Sat & Sun

	The Instructional license server for Xilinx, ModelSim, ADS and 
	Synplicity was unacessible from about 1pm on Sat Dec 1 until 2pm 
	on Sun Dec 2.  An ISG staff member came in on Sunday voluntarily 
	to reboot the server.

  Nov 29 - network interruptions to some *.eecs computers and software licenses

	8:30am-9:00am:  A switch failure cut off wired and wireless networking 
	on the 1st floor of Cory.  This cut off well-known Instructional
	computers such as (and the SunRays in 199 Cory)

	It also cut off access to the license servers for Cadence, Synopsys,
	HSpice, Xilinx and other software used in the Instructional labs.

	The network group posted an update at

  Nov 26 - network interruptions to some EECS computers

	From about 10am-1pm (Nov 26), there were intermittent interruptions 
	to network service in EECS.  This prevented logins on some computers 
	in the Instructional labs, and it prevented access to some servers 
	such as as imail.eecs (Instructional email) and inst.eecs (this WEB 
	The network group posted an update at

  Oct 27 - login failures to Inst Linux and Mac computers.

	Instructional accounts could not logon to the Instructional Linux 
	and Mac computers intermittently on Saturday afternoon.  These 
	computers include 

		ilinux1.eecs, ilinux2.eecs, ilinux3.eecs 
		PSI (reseaach Linux cluster used by CS194-2)
		Macs in 199 Cory and 349 Soda

	An Instructional LDAP server went down again for a few hours on 
	Saturday afternoon.  Apparently it was intermittent.  We have 2 
	redundant LDAP servers, but Linux and Mac systems don't fail over 
	to the second one. (Our Solaris systems do, so logins there were 

  Oct 24 - login failures to Inst UNIX computers and WEB server.

	The Instructional LDAP password servers were down on Oct 24 from 
	about 3pm-4:30pm, with some brief interruptions after that while 
	the servers were updated and rebooted.  The symptom was that you 
	couldn't login to an Instructional UNIX computer.  The problem 
	started with a network denial-of-service attack, which forced us 
	to reboot both servers.  That triggered an unpublished LDAP 
	expiration date that forced us to update the LDAP software on both 
	servers.  We also updated the firewalls to prevent the initial

	The "https" interface to the inst.eecs WEB server was down from 
	about 1pm Wed 10/24 until 1am 10/25.  This was due to an ireversible 
	security patch that caused an undocumented incompatibility with the 
	SSL module; after some effort we determined that the syntax of a 
	pre-existing configuration file had to be updated.  The symptoms 

	WEB sites that start with https://inst.eecs get the error
		"The page cannot be displayed"

	Logons fail to WEB sites that start with https://inst.eecs.

	[Thanks to Marcelino for fixing both problems.]

  Oct 19 - 9:30am - network problem at EECS border

	Networks in Cory and Soda Halls have experienced delays and lost 
	connections to outside networks today.

	The CS3L and CS61A labs in Hearst Field Annex are cut off from EECS
	computers (home dirs, WEB sites).  Students in those classes should 
	use the UNIX labs in the second floor of Soda Hall today.  CS3L labs
	can meet in 273 Soda.

	Symptoms include stalled logins, NFS timeout errors and other delays 
	to *.cs and *.eecs) computers.

	The problem does not affect computers within Cory and Soda Halls that
	are not attempting to connect to computers outside of Cory and Soda

	10:10am - The network staff have announced that the problem is fixed:

  Oct 11 - 5:30pm - network problem in Cory Hall

	Cory Hall computers can't reach some computers in Soda Hall (coeus, 
	project, imap, ...).   This is causing NFS timeout errors and other 
	delays on the Cory Hall (*.eecs) Instructional UNIX systems.

	The network staff are aware but there is no prediction of a cure:

	The problem does not affect our systems in Soda Hall and HFA (*.cs).
	You can find the names of those computers at

  Feb 2007 - Exceed (XWindows) Security Alert<br>

	X Windows server programs such as Exceed have been targets for 
	password-sniffing and other security holes recently.  If you 
	are running an X Windows server on your computer at home or in 
	an office on campus, please read this excellent article for 
	instructions about using it securely:

  Oct 2006 - empty INBOX?  your email is on<br>

	(Oct 9 2006)  We have stopped exporting /var/mail to all computers.
	If you use 'pine' on UNIX and find that your INBOX is empty on the
	Instructional computers, you probably need to update the way you
	read email.   

	You can simply logon at
	to read and send email via the EECS Instructional email server.

	To set up spam filtering, run this command in your UNIX account:

	You can also configure the email client of your choice to connect to
	the EECS Instructional email server.

	Please see for 
	more information.

  July 2006 - unable to use Firefox or Mozilla on UNIX?<br>

	We are upgrading our SUN UNIX systems to Solaris 10, and the new 
	versions of firefox and mozilla are incompatible with the older
	configuration settings.

	So if you get no response when you try to start firefox or mozilla,
	you should delete (or rename) your ~/.mozilla/firefox directory.  It
	will be re-created the next time you run the browser.  You can rename
	it with this UNIX command (you can delete it later):

		mv ~/.mozilla/firefox ~/.mozilla/firefox-old

	You can verify that the computer you are on is running Solaris 10
	with the UNIX command:
		uname -a

	You can see a list of all of our login servers and their operating
	systems at<

  Spring 2006 - Printer usage quotas are now in effect

	Instructional UNIX and Windows accounts now have page limits on the
	Instructional shared printers in Soda, Cory and Hearst Field Annex.

	The print quotas this semester are computed at 50 pages for each
	course credit that the account is being used for.  In addition, 
	students who are EE or CS undergraduate of graduate majors are 
	given an additional 50 pages per semster on their print quotas. 
	The print quotas are reset each semester.  Unused pages will NOT 
	be credited to you in future semesters.

	If you exceed your print quota, your next print job will be replaced
	with a "QUOTA EXCEEDED" page.   That page explains that you can logon
	to to view your print quota
	allocation and to purchase additional pages.  Pages that you purchase 
	will be billed to you, at a rate of $12 (non-refundable) for 200 pages.


  Spring 2006 - Forgot your password on the Instructional computers?

	<u>For named accounts:</u>

	Login as 'newacct' (password 'newacct') again (in 199 Cory, 273 Soda or 
	'ssh' to  Enter your Student ID number.  Then 
	select the new "p" option for resetting your password and reprinting a 
	form.  The form with a new password will be emailed to you the next 
	day (weekday) or sooner.

	Named accounts look like 'gbush' or 'bclinton'.

	<u>For class accounts:</u>

	Go to the Instructional sys admin staff in 333 Soda, 378 Cory or 
	386 Cory.  Bring your initial class account form or student ID card.
	There is no on-line procedure for resetting the password of a class 

	Class accounts look like 'cs61a-aa' or 'ee141-agore'.

  Symptoms when UNIX email or home directories are missing:

	- when you try to login the screen freezes 
	- you see the error message "home directory is /" 
	- session hangs up if you try to 'ssh' into an Instructional computer
	- unable to read WEB pages from the 
	- lots of annoying "NFS timeout" error messages on your screen
	- new email deliveries will be delayed on imail.eecs 

	While the server is down, you may not be able to logout in our labs
	because you can't type any commands.  On a SunRay, even turning it
	off doesn't log you out.  The support staff check the labs after 
	events like this to be sure everyone gets logged out.  We also post 
	information about the problem at to 
	help students find out when the problem has been fixed.   So all you 
	can really do in this case is to wait until the problem is fixed, go 
	back to the lab (or login to the SunRay server for that lab) and log 
	yourself out, or let us log you out.

	We disable email receipt and relaying through imail.eecs when the
	home directory server ( is down.  No mail is 
	lost.  Computers that send mail queue messages that are not accepted
	by a remote server, and they resend the messages periodically until 
	they are received.


For additional information, please contact me:
  Kevin Mullally, ISG Manager
  EECS Instructional Support Group
  378 Cory Hall, (510) 643-6141

source: ~inst/public_html/reports/managers/Fall_2007