New ECE Computing Lab

Recently NACS helped the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) assemble a new computing lab for ECE majors.

The Computer Science and Engineering Instructional Laboratory comprises 32 “SunRay Appliance” Unix workstations and a four-processor server. The lab will also include a station running NACS’s PayPrint service for student printing. The creation of the new lab was driven by record enrollments in ECE and the Henry Samueli School of Engineering. The new facility will serve both as an instructional lab and a drop-in homework lab.

30 of the workstations are Sun Microsystems SunRay 100’s for student use. The other two are SunRay 1’s for use as teaching aids which can be connected to overhead projectors.

The SunRay appliances were selected for the lab because ECE found these systems allowed much lower per-seat administration costs than other options.

ECE and NACS wish to acknowledge a generous contribution from Sun Microsystems, which helped make the new lab possible.

New Computing Lab

NACS has completed a new, very large instructional computing laboratory in the Multipurpose Science and Technology Building (MSTB). Officially opened on February 27, the lab has already been used by several UCI classes, and is available for Spring quarter courses.

The lab has an electrically operated partition so that it can be used as two 48-seat labs or one large 96-seat lab. The lab is equipped with Pentium III 733 Mhz systems with 256Mb of RAM — our fastest lab systems, capable of running the most demanding Windows applications.
Both sides of the lab have independently controlled state of the art projection systems that can be used together when a single class uses the entire facility.

The main purpose of the lab will be to support campus instructional activities. Either or both labs can be scheduled by contacting the NACS Response Center (email nacs@uci.edu). When not in use by reserved classes, the lab is available for drop-in use.

Lab hours are from 8 a.m. to midnight Sunday-Thursday and 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

Computing Labs at Local Campuses

NACS sponsors regular bimonthly meetings of Computer Lab Coordinators (CLCs), UCI staff who manage academic computing labs, to help them address mutual problems, to establish campus standards, and to improve services.

A recent CLC meeting included computing support staff from several nearby campuses, including Irvine Valley College, Saddleback College, Chapman University, Cal State Long Beach, and UCI.

Representative(s) from each school described the computing situation at their respective campuses. Topics discussed included number of faculty, staff, and students supported, operating systems and software supported, classroom use of computing, printing, replacement cycles, user authentication, and other pertinent issues.

Chapman University is starting a notebook computer program in which all incoming freshmen will receive a notebook computer next year. Cal State Long Beach gives all their students an ‘all-in-one’ card, which acts as both a student ID card and a debit card. The campus tracks student usage and provides increased security by requiring students to swipe their cards when entering and leaving any computer lab on campus.

Learn more about the computing situation at the other campuses by viewing the meeting minutes athttp://www.nacs.uci.edu/support/clc/meetings/2000.11.29.notes.html

Laptop Computer Support in NACS Labs

NACS has created two “laptop stations” in the NACS Engineering Gateway computing labs where portable computers can be connected to the campus network. Laptops with an appropriate Network Interface Card (NIC) and running current versions of the Microsoft or Macintosh operating systems are supported. Connections are made using the Dynamic Host Control Protocol (DHCP) to simplify the process, which is outlined in new NACS documentation:

http://www.nacs.uci.edu/computing/laptops

We have created only two stations for laptops at this time, while we determine support requirements and the level of demand. If the demand warrants it, we will establish laptop positions in other NACS labs, such as the NACS@HIB lab in the Humanities Instructional Building.

Please let us know your experience and interest in using this new facility.

Instructional Computing Lab Summaries

With the help of campus lab managers, NACS has created two summaries of UCI open-access instructional computing labs. The first is a summary of classroom labs that can be scheduled by faculty for classroom use. The summary lists the location, hours of operation, number and type of computers, available software, and reservation contact information for each lab. The classroom lab summary is available in the Web as follows:

http://www.nacs.uci.edu/support/clc/instruct-labs.html

The second summary lists the instructional labs at UCI open to students of all majors and available for drop-in use. The hours of operation, location, type of computer, and a summary of software available is listed for each lab. The summary is especially useful as a reference to provide students to ensure they are aware of facilities available to them; it is available in the Web as follows:

http://www.nacs.uci.edu/support/clc/open-labs.html

NACS’ Indirect Support Team plans to work with campus lab managers to keep both of these documents current — this will be a bit of a challenge due to the constant growth and change in UCI computing labs.