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September 5, 1990

                                MINUTES

                          COMPUTER COMMITTEE

                 FOURTH FLOOR BURRUSS HALL BOARD ROOM

                           SEPTEMBER 5, 1990

                                 3 PM

 

 

   PRESENT:     Don Allison, John Burton, Joseph Cochran, John Cosgriff,

                David Goodyear, Bob Heterick, Bea Mahan (for Katherine

                Johnston), Fred Medley, Harlan Miller, Mary Miller,

                Terry Rakes, K.B. Rojiani, Richard Sorensen, Jay

                Stoeckel, J. R. Webster, Jeff Wilcke, Michael Williams

 

   ABSENT:      Darrell Bosch, James Gamble, Joan McLain-Kark,

                Gerry McLaughlin, Ernest Stout

 

   VISITOR(S):  Barbara Robinson and Bill Sanders (Computing Center)

                Jim Thomas (Mechanical Engineering)

 

 

   AGENDA ITEM 1:  MINUTES OF THE APRIL 4, 1990 MEETING

 

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

   April meeting.

 

   AGENDA ITEM 2:  1989/90 COMPUTER COMMITTEE ANNUAL REPORT (THOMAS)

 

   Motion made, seconded and passed to approve the 1989/90 Computer

   Committee Annual Report.  The report will be forwarded to the

   University Council.

 

   AGENDA ITEM 3:  COMPUTING CENTER ANNOUNCEMENTS (WILLIAMS)

 

   When it became clear last winter that a major upgrade would not

   be forthcoming, the Center initiated stopgap measures to allevi-

   ate problems associated with saturation of the systems.  Memory

   was doubled on the 3084, which produced substantial improvement

   in MVS throughput.  The special measures required last spring to

   accommodate registration were unnecessary this fall.  Memory was

   also added to the 3090 (VM1).  This improvement is less apparent

   to most users, but has had significant effect on throughput for

   larger memory-bound jobs.  The growth of usage continues, how-

   ever, with many shifts registering 100% utilization for the en-

   tire shift.  Other measures were also taken to improve

   throughput, including upgrades to disk and tape controllers.

 

   The Computing Center has been working for some time on an elec-

   tronic directory which will serve as a link between individuals

   and the electronic entity that represents them, often described

   as electronic "white pages".  In order to produce a system of

   comprehensive value, the directory also includes other personnel

   data, such as physical addresses and telephone numbers, with se-

   curity controls to assure access to confidential information is

   available only to authorized individuals.  The directory was de-

   veloped in accordance with the well-defined X.500 international

   standard, in order to allow interconnection with our peers on

   networks around the world.  The system will be made available in

   stages, beginning this fall and a solicitation will be sent to

   departments soon, asking for help in identifying userids and for

   the designation of a departmental representative to be responsi-

   ble for maintaining some of the data.  While system startup may

   require some effort on the part of departments, the long-term

   value for the entire University is expected to be significant.

 

 

   The University is facing a crisis related to the movement of pa-

   per on campus.  The Computing Center alone is responsible for de-

   livering 2-3 tons of paper each week, at extraordinary expense

   since the Center has moved off campus.  Interdepartmental and U.S.

   mail have grown in volume for many years without a corresponding

   growth in mail service staffing.  One attack on the problem is to

   increase the use of electronic mail.  It is anticipated that the

   X.500 directory will facilitate the transition, and efficient

   delivery of information is expected to be one of both the

   Center's and Information Systems' top priorities this year.

 

   With this in mind, a motion was made, seconded and passed to

   promulgate Computer Committee minutes and agendas by electronic

   mail only.

 

   VTTCF, the new mainframe UNIX system, is relatively stable,

   though there are some performance problems with numerically in-

   tensive jobs.  System usage is currently free, but the Center ex-

   pects to begin charging soon.

 

   As the transition is made from centralized to distributed comput-

   ing and the entire community becomes computer-enabled, the rig-

   idly defined central systems are unable to meet many of the

   changing requirements of users.  Dr. Robert Heterick has devel-

   oped a draft report, "Administrative Systems Development," which

   addresses this issue, describing strategic directions that emerge

   from the trends.

 

   Budget cuts in the Computing Center mean prospects for a system

   upgrade are highly unlikely for three to four years.  Demand for

   computer time already exceeds the supply, work is not getting

   done, and the problem can only get worse.  Replacement of old,

   worn-out equipment will have to be postponed, resulting in more

   frequent failures.

 

   AGENDA ITEM 4:  PC SUBCOMMITTEE REPORT (SORENSEN)

 

   Last year the PC Subcommittee asked the academic colleges for in-

   formation on the scope of their current computing activities and

   future needs.  Since many of the concerns that emerged from this

   survey related to the bookstore, a meeting with the leadership of

   VPI Facilities and other concerned individuals was held to dis-

   cuss the issues.  The bookstore felt that the dialog and inter-

   action provided by the formation of an advisory committee would

   be helpful in developing policy and correcting some miscon-

   ceptions.  It was suggested that the PC Subcommittee, with some

   additional members, might also perform this liaison function.

 

   AGENDA ITEM 5:  ADDITIONS TO THE AGENDA

 

   o   Charge of the Committee

 

       The Computer Committee's purpose is not operational.  It does

       not set policy, but rather offers the opportunity to examine

       issues and make recommendations.

 

       The committee may pass resolutions and forward them to the

       University Council for action.  Computer Committee minutes

       are also forwarded to the Council, where they are noted and

       accepted.

 

   o   Subcommittees

 

 

 

       There are three subcommittees, Personal Computer, Computer

       Capacity and Planning, and User Services.  New members were

       solicited for each.

 

 

 

 

   The next meeting will be held on October 3 at 3 p.m. in Burruss

   400.

 

   Meeting adjourned at 3:55 p.m.

 

 

 

 

 

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