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March 3, 1993

 

                               MINUTES

                         Computer Committee

                       Presidents's Boardroom

                            March 3, 1993

                                3 PM

 

 

  PRESENT:     Terry Rakes, Erv Blythe, David Goodyear, Katherine

               Johnston, Tom McAnge, Travis McCoy, Al Bloom, Harlan

               Miller, Jay Stoeckel, Ernest Stout, Patricia Summers,

               J.R. Webster, Michael Williams

 

  ABSENT:      Sean Arthur, David Coe, Darrell Bosch, John Burton,

               Jan Carr, Wayne Clough, John Cosgriff, Glen Holmes,

               Carolyn Moore, K. B. Rojiani, Jeffrey Wilcke

 

  VISITOR(S):  Barbara Robinson (Computing Center)

 

 

  AGENDA ITEM 1:  MINUTES OF THE FEBRUARY 3, 1993 MEETING (RAKES)

 

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

  February meeting.

 

  AGENDA ITEM 2:  COMPUTING CENTER ANNOUNCEMENTS (WILLIAMS)

 

  The Computing Center has software consortium agreements with IBM,

  SUN and DEC which provide for workstation software at a flat fee.

  At these programs' inceptions, cost justification was easy since

  the cost of the consortium contracts was no more than existing

  central system costs.  Charges are increasing, however.  When

  Digital's program began, for example, the cost was about $15,000.

  This year the Computing Center paid about $30,000 and the charge

  is scheduled to increase to $80,000 next year.  At this price,

  the Computing Center will not be able to fully subsidize this

  consortium contract.  Other vendors are discussing similar in-

  creases.  A move toward a cost recovery model for workstation

  support seems inevitable.  Comments and suggestions are solic-

  ited.

 

  AGENDA ITEM 3:  CHANGES TO THE COMMITTEE'S CHARGE AND DESCRIPTION

 

  The Chair of the Commission on University Support suggested se-

  veral changes to the membership and appointment method for the

  Computer Committee.  After discussion, the Computer Committee

  agreed that the representative of the Vice Provost for University

  Outreach and International Programs should be appointed by the

  Vice Provost and that the representative of classified staff

  should be nominated by the Classified Staff Senate.  It was also

  agreed that language should be changed to indicate that all mem-

  bers are selected rather than nominated, in order to avoid the

  exercise of nominating two individuals and subsequently selecting

  one to serve.

 

  Other suggestions regarding Extension representation were to be

  returned to the Commission for clarification.  Concerns were ex-

  pressed over increasing the size of the Computer Committee, as

  well as confusion regarding how various elements of Extension

  might best be represented.

 

  AGENDA ITEM 4:  SUBCOMMITTEE REPORTS (CHAIRS)

 

  o   End User (Goodyear)

 

      The subcommittee will meet next month.

 

  o   PC

 

      The subcommittee plans to meet next month.

 

  o   Workstation (Rakes)

 

      The subcommittee is processing the surveys.  Results will be

      reported next month.

 

  o   Capacity and Planning (Rakes)

 

      The subcommittee will reassess their charge after reviewing a

      copy of the vision statement produced by the Computer Commit-

      tee several years ago.  They expect to coordinate activity

      with the End User Subcommittee and prepare a plan.

 

  o   Site License (Robinson)

 

      The subcommittee is receiving responses to its request for

      information on existing site licenses on campus.  Compilation

      of results will begin next week for posting on INFO.  Other

      means of dissemination will also be evaluated.

 

      Requests for proposals to fund new site licenses will be

      evaluated this week.  Immediate action is required in order

      to allow sufficient time for processing purchases this fiscal

      year.

 

  AGENDA ITEM 5:  PHASE 2 AND THE COMPUTING CENTER (Williams)

 

  The state legislative budget amendment proposal requested by the

  Senate Finance Committee for the pilot instructional development

  effort described last month has been funded.

 

  Desirable and reachable goals for research in the Information

  Systems restructuring include:

 

  o   every researcher having access to the kind of computing he

      needs.  This encompasses a broad range of facilities.  Liai-

      son support can be provided for using remote supercomputers.

      Mainframes are no longer required to support large databases

      such as those used in social sciences, which can now be

      served by relatively inexpensive RISC systems with no loss of

      functionality.

 

  o   every researcher having access to timely, comprehensive and

      tailored information concerning research funding opportu-

      nities.  Existing Information Systems projects offer new ca-

      pabilities in information delivery.  These tools can be

      applied to massive information sources to deliver produc-

      tively organized and presented information, offering the op-

      portunity for researchers to become more competitive.

 

  o   multi-fold leveraging of central expenditures for research

      computing.  Directing central funds in ways that promote in-

      creases in departmental and sponsored research monies is the

      only way to reach a desirable scale of funding for research

      computing.

 

  o   every researcher having access to world-wide information re-

      sources, including specialized services in areas of exper-

      tise.

 

  o   every researcher having access to system support services for

      desktop workstations.  A prototype program is currently

      underway in the Computing Center to help alleviate the burden

      of system administration on faculty using high-end UNIX

      equipment.

 

  This transformation will enable independence of mainframes as

  well as bring some coherence across disciplines to computing

  infrastructure.  Links between research and instruction will also

  be fostered.

 

  Benefits of new environments are expected to encourage migration.

  Extensive support will be offered to assure changes are as smooth

  and graceful as possible, and no loss of functionality is envi-

  sioned. In such an environment of change, rumors abound and pro-

  viding factual information in all quarters is a high priority.

  In addition to speaking to a multitude of groups on campus, Erv

  Blythe and Mike Williams have been meeting with individuals with

  special needs or concerns.  Such efforts will continue.

 

  AGENDA ITEM 6:  ADDITIONS TO THE AGENDA

 

  The Communications Committee continues to advocate universal fac-

  ulty access to computers and communications ports and suggested a

  closer collaboration between the Communication and Computer Com-

  mittees might be desirable.  It was agreed that committee minutes

  should be exchanged to facilitate more direct lines of communi-

  cation.  Although universal access is widely agreed to be desira-

  ble, the mechanism for funding remains at issue.  Central funding

  is in conflict with the distributed management philosophy at the

  University.  Last year's reduction in data charges significantly

  reduced cost as a limiting factor in achieving universal access.

  In some areas, interest remains low.  The committee felt the

  phase II activity in Information Systems is addressing the prob-

  lem of providing equipment, and additional Computer Committee ef-

  fort on this issue was not warranted at this time.

 

 

  The next meeting will be held on April 7 at 3 p.m. in the Presi-

  dent's Boardroom.

 

  Meeting adjourned at 4:30 p.m.

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