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September 4, 1991



                          Computer Committee

                        President's Board Room

                           September 4, 1991

                                 3 PM



      PRESENT:     Don Allison, Jim Bishop, Jan Carr, John Cosgriff,

                   David Goodyear, Bob Heterick, Matthew Jackson, Bea

                   Mahan (for Katherine Johnston), Gerry McLaughlin,

                   Harlan Miller, Mary Miller, Terry Rakes, K. B. Rojiani,

                   Jay Stoeckel, Jeff Wilcke, Michael Williams


      ABSENT:      Darrell Bosch, John Burton, Wayne Clough,

                   Joan McClain-Kark, Ernest Stout, J. R. Webster


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

                   Ed Fox (Computing Center/Computer Science)






      The chairman of the 90-91 Computer Committee will submit his re-

      port on committee activities to University Council.  Draft copies

      were distributed, and members of the committee were invited to

      contact Dr.  Miller if they had any comments.




      SSI Mail has been released.  This software was developed by In-

      formation Systems to provide a mail facility on PC's without re-

      quiring a mainframe userid.  Registration, which is necessary to

      meet accountability requirements for anyone who has access to the

      Internet, is being handled by the Computing Center in its micro-

      computer labs.


      The TELNET server is in full production, providing an interface

      between the CBX and the Internet to allow a terminal to establish

      an Internet session.  SLIP (Serial Line Internet Protocol) is

      also available.  Registration at a lab is required for SLIP or to

      use the terminal server to access off-campus systems.


      Access to the Internet is becoming more and more useful as ser-

      vices, including commercial ones such as LEXIS/NEXIS, are added.


      A PC-based, online University calendar system is also now avail-

      able, with a news facility to be added soon.  Software to access

      the system resides on the user's PC, and no mainframe userid is

      required.  The system is oriented toward meeting student informa-

      tion needs, including items such as athletic events and informa-

      tion from student advising and placement services.  Announcements

      are installed by individual departments, who are responsible for

      the accuracy of their information.  This service is expected to

      grow substantially as it gains momentum, providing not only a

      valuable service to students, but also cutting down on printed

      matter circulating on campus.


      The first version of an X.500 directory has gone production.  Di-

      rectory information is available on VM via the PHONEDIR command.

      Provision of service via stand-alone PC's is also planned.  Since

      the directory follows the X.500 standard, Virginia Tech directory

      information is available to many other Internet nodes which use

      the same directory server.



      The Center has installed a high-end IBM RS/6000.  Several large

      scale applications on the 3090 are being ported to the system,

      but experience with the machine is still limited.


      The Center has proposed that the University include replacing the

      3084 mainframe as part of its request for special funding initi-

      atives to be considered during the next legislative session.  The

      3084 is ten years old, its architecture is outdated, and new

      software releases are often not supported.  The proposed air-

      cooled machine would reduce costs, provide a small increase in

      capacity, and allow continued support of existing applications.


      Computer Purchasing, a new department in the Computing Center, is

      responsible for managing all computer-related University pur-

      chases.  Consulting is also provided by a new department member,

      Joe Kelley, who offers help to departments that request advice or

      information on choosing hardware and software.


      The Center expects to move to printing the new University letter-

      head on its 3800 printer this fall.  Since the letterhead is

      printed via a photographic process that allows only one style to

      be available at a time, managing a long conversion/testing period

      is not feasible.  The old and new letterhead styles are expected

      to be available for about a week with a fixed schedule for print-

      ing each style. The 3800 will then move permanently to printing

      only the new letterhead.  Office 3812 printers will need pre-

      printed letterhead paper since using the printer to produce each

      letterhead page would be very slow.


      The Committee agreed to transact business via electronic mail as

      last year.




      Subcommittees will be formed before the next committee meeting.

      Drafts of last year's vision statement have been returned to the

      Computer, Communications and Library committees for further con-



      The PC Committee met with VPI facilities to discuss site license

      policy for PC software.  A follow-up meeting with the Provost was

      held to explore possibilities.  Further details of the meeting

      will be provided at the next Computer Committee meeting.




      Subcommittees will be formed and all Computer Committee members

      were encouraged to volunteer for one or more subcommittees.  Mem-

      bership lists will be compiled and disseminated before the next

      full committee meeting.




      It was suggested that an ad hoc committee be formed to look at

      workstation issues, and that a standing committee be subsequently

      formed if interest warranted it.


      The Computer Committee wishes to voice special thanks to Dean

      Sorensen for his work in the past few years on behalf of this

      committee.  Despite the demands of his own office, Dean

      Sorensen's efforts in chairing the PC Subcommittee were excep-

      tional.  He did a splendid job and, in particular, the good

      rapport that has developed with VPI Facilities is well appreci-








      The next meeting will be held on October 2 at 3 p.m. in the Pres-

      ident's Board Room.


      Meeting adjourned at 3:40 p.m.

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