This section of TLR Innovations provides short updates on projects, partnerships, and services offered by UIT’s two academic technology services groups – Educational and Scholarly Technology Services (ESTS) and Research and Geospatial Technology Services (RGTS).

Research & Geospatial Technology Services

Tufts Research Cluster Upgrade

UIT is pleased to announce the completion of the Tufts research cluster upgrade project. Faculty and student access to the new resource began September 1, 2011. The new High-Performance Computing (HPC) research environment is in production with more than 1032-cores of computing power to the Tufts community. Over the past three years, UIT has observed an increasing demand for the HPC research cluster. In anticipation of the ongoing need for additional resources, a project has begun to increase resources more than three fold.

In addition to an increase in capacity, the following changes have been made:</p>

  • The cluster network interconnect has changed from InfiniBand to 10 Gigabit Ethernet to allow our high-bandwidth communication needs to grow in conjunction with our Data Center.
  • Several computing nodes will have 96GB of RAM per node (or 8GB per core) for memory-intensive jobs.

GPU Computing Capabilities

As part of the recent UIT research cluster upgrade that took place this Summer, UIT Research and Geospatial Technology Services (RGTS) added GPU computing capabilities in the form of one compute node with two Nvidia Tesla M2050 GPU processors that is now coming live. GPU processing is an excellent means to achieve shorter run times for many numerical algorithms. Several Mathematics faculty, Professors Boghosian, Maclachlan, James Adler and graduate student Matt Darsney, are taking advantage of these new computing techniques to further their research agenda. Applications such as Matlab, Mathematica, Ansys, Maple and others now offer various levels of GPU support within their product. For researchers interested in developing their own GPC code, Nvidia’s CUDA language fallows programs to run on the GPU instead of the CPU. High Performance Computing developments around GPU computing are growing rapidly and RGTS plans to double its GPU capacity before the end of the year.

Research Storage Migrated to New Infrastructure

As part of the UIT redesign of research storage services, RGTS recently migrated all research storage shares from Network Appliance controllers Titan and Quarry to Lewis and Clark. This migration provides a dedicated research storage environment that can be managed independently from other UIT services, such as P: and Q: drives, and Email, and better quality of service for Tufts.The next phase in the service redesign is to migrate storage from 32-bit to 64-bit volumes. 64-bit volumes allowing for the creation of larger pools of resources and more efficient management of the growing size of research data sets at Tufts. This process will begin mid-January 2012. UIT recently conducted a pilot 32-bit to 64-bit migration task and verified that the migration process is a matter of minutes and with no significant user impact.

Educational & Scholarly Technology Services

New Staff!

In November, Haejung Chung joined the Educational & Scholarly Technology Services team as Senior Educational Technology Specialist. She comes to Tufts with an impressive array of educational technology skills and experience, most recently at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. She will be consulting directly with faculty to help them leverage technology to improve teaching and learning in their courses, and will manage and support a wide array of ESTS projects and services. She can be reached at haejung.chung@tufts.edu or 617-627-0387.

Eportfolio Project

Tufts completed the contract with our professional services vendor, Three Canoes, and the project team is actively working with Three Canoes on requirements gathering and prototyping of the pilot eportfolios. The Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy and the School of Dental Medicine are participating in this year’s pilot to explore ways of leveraging the Sakai portfolio platform for integrative student portfolios.

Eportfolio Events

This month UIT sponsored the second in a series of Eportfolio expert workshops with a visit from Darren Cambridge, Senior Consultant with the American Institutes for Research, author of Eportfolios for Lifelong Learning and Assessment (Jossey-Bass 2010) and co-editor of Electronic Portfolios 2.0: Emergent Research on Implementation and Impact (Stylus 2009). Darren offered an interactive presentation on the value of Eportfolios for transforming learning and assessment in higher education with members of the Tufts Eportfolio community of interest attending from across all three campuses and numerous disciplines. We’ll follow this session with spring Eportfolio events designed to help us think collectively about how we leverage the Trunk/Sakai-based Open Source Portfolio across academic and co-curricular contexts at Tufts. If you would like to be subscribed to the Tufts Eportfolio Info elist, please contact Gina Siesing (gina.siesing@tufts.edu). For Eportfolio resources, see the ESTS site: http://sites.tufts.edu/ests/projects/e-portfolios-for-tufts-university

Online Course Evaluations (part of Trunk phase 2)

UIT is charged with implementing Sakai-based online course evaluations based on the requirements of all of the Schools and rolling out online course evaluations for participating Schools in Fall 2012. This project is well underway with Janet Hill, Manager of LMS Services, leading the project; Gina Siesing, Director of Educational & Scholarly Technology Services, serving as project steward; and Andy Valenti, LMS Implementation Project Manager, providing project management support.

Migration from ANGEL Learning for Friedman School (part of Trunk phase 2)

This project is also well underway, with Andy Valenti as project manager and Patrick Connell as the primary representative from the Friedman School working with the team to plan the transition. Building on rSmart’s migration evaluation, the team has identified the tools and protocols that will facilitate content migration from ANGEL to Trunk. Testing of this process has begun. The team will leverage the communications tools, training for faculty, and documentation developed in Phase 1 and customize those for the Friedman context. The Trunk coordinated service and support model will expand to include Friedman colleagues who provide local support to the Friedman School community.

Digital Library Assets

UIT’s academic technology directorates are partnering with a cross-organizational group of colleagues to propose a strategy for managing library digital assets, leveraging our existing Tufts Digital Library infrastructure, enterprise storage solutions, and expertise from across the respective groups in order to meet evolving data and metadata management and discovery needs for teaching, learning, and research at Tufts. Participating groups include Digital Collections & Archives (DCA), Tisch Library, UIT Educational & Scholarly Technology Services, UIT Research & Geospatial Technology Services, University Library Technology Services (ULTS), and Webster Library. The working group will present the strategy proposal this winter to the University Library Council (ULC) and the IT Advisory Council (ITAC) for consideration and to determine next steps.

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