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May 4, 1988

                                    MINUTES

                              Computer Committee

                           Newman Library Board Room

                                  May 4, 1988

                                     3 PM

 

 

       PRESENT:     Jim Thomas, Don Allison, Jeff Birch, Randy Crockett,

                    Ray Dessy, David Goodyear, Bob Heterick,

                    Katherine Johnston, Harry Kriz, Craig Woods (for

                    Tom McAnge), Gerry Mclaughlin (for J. Montgomery),

                    Ernie Stout, Jeff Wilcke, Michael Williams,

                    Michael Leahy

 

       ABSENT:      John Burton, Sharon Crawford, Jim Hicks,

                    Dennis Jones, Joan McLain-Kark, Charles Nunnally,

                    Vernon Shanholtz, Chris Chenard

 

       VISITOR(S):  Wayne Donald, Rosie Higdon, Bill Sanders

 

 

 

       The meeting was called to order at 3:05 p.m.

 

       AGENDA ITEM 1:  MINUTES OF THE APRIL 6, 1988 MEETING

 

       Motion made, seconded and passed to approve the minutes of the

       April meeting.

 

       AGENDA ITEM 2:  COMPUTING CENTER ANNOUNCEMENTS (WILLIAMS)

 

       o   The DEC 8800 arrived May 3, 1988.  A critical piece of the

           equipment, the power conditioner, will not arrive until May

           18.  The delay in receipt of the power conditioner may cost a

           week to 10 days in getting the systems in production.

 

       o   A handout was distributed showing the growth in usage of the

           VM systems.  Third shift usage has been especially high with

           CPU utilization at 1 a.m. in excess of 98% on more than 80%

           of the nights.  This utilization is due to VM Batch work at

           night.  The VM3 system remains saturated and a resolution is

           being sought to provide relief.  The IBM 3090 with vector fa-

           cilities is a natural place for the CADCAM work; however,

           there is insufficient capacity.

 

       o   A question was asked as to what facilities will remain in

           Burruss after the Computing Center moves to the Corporate Re-

           search Center.  While final determination has not been made,

           the Center will certainly continue to offer walk-in services

           for tapes and consulting on-campus.  Current planning calls

           for all hardware, including the 3800 laser printers, to be

           moved to the new building.  To maintain the IBM 3800 printers

           in Burruss would require a CPU, disk drives and other periph-

           eral devices.  The situation with the printers could change

           because IBM and other vendors are working on ways to run

           these devices remotely.  The move is still planned for August

           1989.

 

       AGENDA ITEM 3:  INFORMATION INFRA-STRUCTURE IN THE FUTURE

       (DONALD)

 

       Wayne Donald described his document, "Information Infra-Structure

       in the Future".  Over the years good administrative systems have

       been developed here at Virginia Tech, but problems remain.  These

       problems include large application software backlog, poor artic-

       ulation of needs and the failure to incorporate newer software

       technology.  There are administrative pockets that are creating

       their own software and thus causing situations of data redundancy

       and problems with integrity.  A plan is needed to address all of

       these issues.  In particular, the information infra-structure

       document provides guidelines for looking at the global informa-

       tion needs of the University, addresses how to keep pace with the

       newer technology, and evaluates ways to improve productivity.

 

       The ideas presented in the document represent a long term plan.

       Data Administration will undertake a campaign to gain acceptance

       in the University community of the concepts presented in the doc-

       ument.  A major project that needs to begin now is the develop-

       ment of the "University Database".  Software and hardware tools

       must be integrated to present the user with a "single system im-

       age" approach to access information.

 

       Several questions were raised by committee members.  They were

       answered by Mr. Donald as follows.

 

       Did the formalizing of Systems Development and Data Adminis-

       tration under Information Resource management put the mechanism

       in place to address the issues in the document?  Organizational

       issues are not discussed in this document.

 

       Does this imply the implementation of an Information Center?  Not

       really, Information Centers have not worked as well as once

       thought.  The document addresses information management, not what

       PC to buy.

 

       What is the size of the student data base?  Currently, there are

       approximately 180,000 students in the data base.  The new struc-

       ture will have 30,000 to 35,000 in the current data base and the

       rest in historical or admission data bases.

 

       AGENDA ITEM 4:  ADDITIONS TO THE AGENDA

 

       SUBCOMMITTEE STRUCTURE (THOMAS)

 

       The subcommittees this past year were Budgeting for Computing, PC

       Compatibility Requirements, Printing and Graphics, and Research

       and Graduate Computing.  The subcommittees were not very active

       this past year because of the lack of specific direction.  Sub-

       committees should be formed to address specific issues, dissem-

       inate the findings, and then disband.

 

       Suggestions for issues for subcommittees to address next year in-

       clude:

 

       o   Computer resource utilization monitoring to provide feedback

           for analyzing equipment upgrades.

 

       o   Personal computer diversity between groups on campus.

 

       o   What is the role and future of UNIX?

 

       o   Technology changes - how should the University react; should

           there be standards?

 

       o   Deans are wrestling with the idea that all students should

           have PCs.  What kind of impact would this have?

 

       o   We need to make sure we are looking at the "global Univer-

           sity" environment for computing.

 

       Annual Report:  A draft annual report will be sent to all members

       for review during the summer.

       Information System Commission Proposal:  A letter was submitted

       to the University Council detailing the concerns of the commit-

       tee.

 

       The next meeting is scheduled for September 7, 1988.

 

       The meeting adjourned at 4:04 p.m.

 

 

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