Oxford University Computing Services

Annual Report 1994/95

T Alex Reid

Director

October 1995


Annual Report

1-Aug-94 to 31-Jul-95

Table of Contents

1. General Overview

2. Network Services

3. Central Computing Services

4. Personal Computing

5. Training and Help

6. Humanities Computing

7. Other Services

8. Mainframe Statistics

9. Staff Establishment and Movements

10. Main Equipment Installed

T Alex Reid

Director 30-Oct-95


1. GENERAL OVERVIEW

1.1 Preface

This report has been compiled from the contributions of many individuals in OUCS, to the reports, and to the statistics. All their contributions are much appreciated.

As in last year's Report, we have endeavoured to present an overview of the full range of activities in which OUCS is engaged, where possible providing some objective evidence of the scale of that activity, and giving an indication of trends by means of comparisons with data for previous years.

As might be expected, there is a wealth of statistical information which could have been presented in this Report, and we have had to be rather selective in order to keep it to a manageable size. We have tried to present truly representative figures, which are thought to be able to satisfy most requirements. However, since OUCS has such a large and diverse constituency, there will inevitably be some questions that will not be answered by what is presented here. Additional statistics or information are available on request to answer questions not addressed in this Report - these should be directed to the standard OUCS Advisory service, or straight to the Director.

Information Technology is now a significant part of the lives of almost everyone at the University of Oxford. OUCS plays a key role in supporting that use in a wide variety of ways. However, there is much IT activity in which we have little or no part to play. Details of that activity must be sought from the relevant department, faculty, college or other central support service, with all of whom we have happily collaborated throughout the year.

1.3 Overall Level of Demand

As indicated above, Information Technology is now key to much academic and support activity within the University, and OUCS' mission is to support and advance that use in furtherance of the mission and objectives of the University.

The nature of this support changes as the needs of members of the University change, and as technology changes. In addition, for those departments which have themselves assembled considerable resources and expertise, the nature of the support is quite different from that required by departments which are novices in regard to IT - OUCS must simultaneously be the provider of basic infrastructure services used (though not often seen or acknowledged) by the whole of the University, and be the provider of all the IT services required of some sections of the University.

It is also a truism that the overall quantity of IT services being consumed by the University continues to rise sharply. Thus, despite substantial distribution of IT resources and support, the load on OUCS actually continues to rise. This is seen in many of the statistics presented in this Report. Without the current degree of distributed computing at the University, the load on OUCS would have been quite unmanageable.

This rise in workload for OUCS has put further pressure on some resources which are already stretched. Several strategies are being employed to cope with this load. These include the redeployment of staff from areas in decline; the use of automation where possible (eg the Newuser self-registration system); the development of substantial on-line documentation; the focus on skill impartation through training courses and self-paced supported learning (eg the LaRC); and even the use of charging for certain "discretionary" services through which the additional resources required to meet demand can be acquired.

1.3 Categories of OUCS Services

In determining the most appropriate strategy for dealing with the increased workload, the deliberations of the IT Committee are helpful, indicating as they do (through the IT Strategy Review) the relative strategic importance of the services to be offered by OUCS for the next few years. The Review places the services to be provided by OUCS into four categories as follows:

1. Core Services : these are part of the essential IT provision of the University, and are usually those which effectively only OUCS can supply. They will be fully funded to certain levels, principally by top-slicing the academic budget, and are expected to continue indefinitely (relative to the period under consideration in the Review).

  1. Campus network (Backbone, installation of key wiring, support of certain key Ethernets, link to Janet).
  2. Provision of dial-in and other facilities for casual access to the Campus network.
  3. Monitoring and policing of network security.
  4. General advisory services, including microcomputer consulting.
  5. IT Training, documentation, self-paced learning materials, other guidance in the effective and efficient use of IT.
  6. Facilities to allow supported self-paced learning (eg the LaRC).
  7. Email servers, name servers, mailing lists, email post office services.
  8. Information servers and support.
  9. Massive fileservers, backup and archive services.
  10. Student email and network access accounts (where not provided elsewhere).
  11. Site licensed software.
  12. Support for SIGs and other University-wide support vehicles.
  13. Exploration, trialling, pioneering, piloting new technologies and service.
  14. Humanities support services and facilities.

2. Secondary Services : these are important services, though alternatives to the OUCS provision may be available to some (but not all) users. Some of these are centrally funded (in full or in part), but many incur charges, sometimes to augment this funding or as a means of rationing resources.

  1. General purpose software-rich time-shared computing service.
  2. Supply and sale of PC's, software, consumables (the Shop).
  3. PC maintenance.
  4. Specialised input and output devices.
  5. Support for providers of computer-based education (CBE).
  6. General-access terminals and workstations.
  7. Microprocessing development.
  8. General IT consultancy, especially in supporting use of a wide range of application software.

3. Discretionary Services : these are services for which alternatives are available to most users, or for which there is only a small number of users or users are not widely distributed across units; it would be expected that these services should be self-financing in some sense (either just the running costs, or running costs plus staff costs, or all costs including capital).

  1. Managing the computer facilities of others.
  2. Departmental/college Ethernet hardware and software support service.
  3. Departmental/college general first-level IT support.

4. Obsolescent Services: these are services for which a provisional termination date has been set (as indicated).

  1. The Vax general-purpose computing service (Summer 1997).
  2. The Convex vector processing service (July 1996).
  3. The Gandalf serial-line network service (December 1997).

These categories (and the subsequent allocation of costs against them) will provide a framework against which to judge the deployment of relatively scarce resources as demand continues to rise and to change its direction.

The IT Strategy Review has also provided the context within which to set approximate timetables for the decommissioning of the obsolescent services - the Vax, the Convex and the Gandalf. Target dates for each of these, respectively, are Summer 1997, July 1996, and December 1997. Considerable work has to be done before these services can be phased out in a relatively painless fashion, but strategies are now being put in place to prepare for that work.

Removal of these services will enable some reduction in OUCS' equipment grant requirements (most of which has already occurred), and the redeployment of a few staff (some of which has already taken place).

Overall, this reflects the continued move to direct OUCS effort less towards the support of centralised computing, and more towards the infrastructure for and support of distributed computing, using a client-server model. This reduces the requirement for concentration of computing resources at the centre, placing them where the greatest leverage can be achieved (usually, nowadays, on the desktop). However, it does require the deployment of a support infrastructure, consisting of networks, specialty servers and key expertise - all of which are most effectively and efficiently provided centrally. In addition, it requires the acquisition of large numbers of networked personal workstations (already, over 8,000 are deployed in Oxford - see Figure 1), special application servers (a few of which are now being deployed in departments), and the establishment of a localised IT support staff structure.

 

Figure 1: Nodes on University Network

The greatest challenge the University (and OUCS in particular) faces in this environment is to ensure that all the pieces are deployed properly, and that there are "seamless interfaces" between the components of this complex system of infrastructure and support

For OUCS, this requires, inter alia, clear definitions of our responsibilities, establishing close liaison with local IT support staff, and ensuring that the basic infrastructure upon which this model depends functions to the highest standards of reliability and performance.

1.4 Network-Based Services

The predominance of OUCS services now centre on networking, and this is likely to increase in the future. The following summary of significant events and activity during 1994/5 highlights the importance and diversity of these services.

The reach of the University Network has been extended substantially during the year, and its reliability improved. Loading is still quite light, and so no consideration has yet been given to replacing the basic technology (FDDI) with one with greater capacity (eg ATM). This network is now one of the most extensive in Britain (or perhaps Europe), and is something of which the University can be justly proud.

The challenge now is to ensure its straightforward extension to the few remaining (but generally less easily reached) parts of the University. This includes the John Radcliffe Hospital, which still does not have connectivity at full Ethernet rates (works are in progress), connection of other hospitals via higher speed leased or our own lines, and the connection of graduate then undergraduate accommodation.

Access to the network from homes and other more distributed locations has been enhanced during the year through the installation of additional dial-in lines, and the deployment of PPP/SLIP capability (giving Ethernet functionality, though not speed!). Further development of such connections can be expected, with the trialling of ISDN connections, and the readiness to add more lines as the demand warrants it.

Besides this expansion of network connectivity, and planning for its future enhancement, other network services, to which particular attention has been paid during the year, have included:

Hierarchical File Server

Planning for what may prove to be the most critical IT service provided over the Network has taken most of the year. This is the Hierarchical File Server, which is expected to come into operation for public use near the start of Michaelmas Term, 1995. One of the principal dangers of a distributed computing environment is that the integrity or security of valuable information files stored on a multiplicity of systems may be compromised by neglect of routine and reliable file backup. The HFS should address that in a simple client-oriented fashion.

This is one of the several significant services that this system will provide, and it will be the first to be offered. Characteristically, the HFS will only ever be used in client-server mode.

Network Security

Another threat to the networked community is that of security breaches on the network. Because they permit passive connections, which can see all traffic which passes, Ethernets are susceptible to snooping. Consequently, attention must be given to security measures, and this has been done by OUCS on a number of fronts during the year.

Firstly, we have taken the lead in setting up the emergency response team (OxCERT), which has investigated several suspected breaches, but also has engaged in a programme of education.

Secondly, we have taken action against a number of individual students who have been in breach of simple network etiquette ("netiquette"), as well as a few more serious offences which have been taken up by the University Proctors. Prompt and appropriate action should signal to the user community that OUCS and the Proctors treat these matters seriously. Even though this has frequently proved most time consuming, it is hoped that the investment in securing a more responsible user community will prove a worthwhile one.

Finally, we have started to develop means of providing for and fostering the use of encryption, especially of email. Oxford is a lead site in a JISC project to develop a secure email environment for the academic community nation-wide.

In the longer term, it is recognised that a system such as Kerberos is necessary, whereby all users of the network and its services are securely authenticated, and sensitive traffic (especially passwords) is always transmitted in a secure fashion. Some preliminary investigations and proposals in this regard were prepared during the year, and more can be expected in the coming year. In particular, the HFS system shortly to be launched will employ similar security techniques.

Student Networked Computing

It is estimated that nearly half of the student population of Oxford University have computer accounts on one of the OUCS systems. All students are entitled to an account on Sable, which automatically provides them with email and full Internet services. This is done in order to enable them to acquire modern IT skills during their time here, both so that they will be better equipped as graduates, and also so that they can use those skills and facilities in the course of their studies here. Increasing numbers of teaching staff are finding that email is a powerful means of communication with their students, and vice versa.

Use of email, on-line information resources, and other IT facilities so made available is enriching and enabling to those students making good use of them.

Of course, this policy of open access has also led to significant additional demands on OUCS resources (of staff time as well as of equipment capacity), as well as bringing security problems into sharp focus. But these are issues that any networked community must face eventually. We believe that the basic arrangements are in place for these matters to be handled satisfactorily. As more and more students arrive already in possession of IT and Internet skills, this load should decline, though it is unlikely to peak for some time to come.

OUCS will continue to support and develop such network-based services, which will become increasingly pervasive in the research and teaching (and administration) programme of the University.

Figure 2: University Network Schematic

 

2. NETWORK SERVICES

2.1 Campus Backbone

The only change to the basic Campus Backbone Network configuration which has taken place over the past year has been the installation of a 3Com Netbuilder II router at the Radcliffe Infirmary to serve clinical departments located there. The installation now consists of nineteen 3Com Netbuilder II routers located at OUCS and in eight Telecommunications Rooms distributed throughout Oxford. They are all linked to form one of the largest FDDI ring installations in the UK. Two further routers located at the John Radcliffe Hospital and at the Radcliffe Infirmary are not yet connected at full 100Mbit/sec FDDI speeds. Installation of UPS (uninterruptible power supply) equipment has been carried out at the eight Telecommunications Rooms to eliminate problems caused by interruptions in mains electricity supply. An overall schematic of the Network is given in Figure 2.

During the 1994/5 University year the number of attached Ethernet Networks has increased from 94 to 149. This increase has been mainly due to the Ethernet wiring project undertaken during the past year which provided 1900 outlets throughout 23 buildings of the University. The completion of this project in February 1995 ensured the provision of Ethernet services in virtually every building and department of the University. The other significant increase in connections during the year was to clinical medical departments both on the Radcliffe Infirmary and Headington sites. A breakdown of the numbers of Ethernets connected to the Backbone at the beginning and end of year are given in Table 1.

Tables 1: Ethernets Connected to University Network
     
 

1-Aug-94

31-Jul-95

     

Colleges

26

34

Departments (non-clinical)

56

84

Departments (clinical)

2

18

Computing Services

8

10

Associated Institutions

2

3

     

Totals

94

149

At present, University graduate student accommodation and new buildings under construction for college student accommodation form a significant number of the planned connections to the Campus Backbone Network. A survey of such needs was undertaken over the Summer of 1995.

Additional network management software has been installed on the Network management system which has improved network configuration and monitoring. The loading of the backbone is still very light, at between 5 and 10% (see Figure 3), but is building up and can be expected to accelerate. One likely significant cause of increased load will be the Hierarchical File Store.

 

Figure 3: Maximum Daily Backbone Traffic (Mbytes/day)

Traffic with the outside world (ie to Janet/Internet) continues to climb steeply, as shown in Figure 4.

 

Figure 4: Janet Traffic (Mbytes/day)

2.2 Gandalf and Dial-In Services

 

Figure 5: Sample Weekly Gandalf Connections

Although this year has seen a major shift towards the use of Ethernet rather than asynchronous connections, total usage of the Gandalf system actually peaked at a level about 10% higher than last year (see Figure 5).

This reflects the general upward trend in computer and network usage in all areas. The number of lines connected to the Gandalf system has begun to show a slight decrease, for the first time since its installation, with 391 obsolete lines being taken out of service, and only 43 new lines being connected (see Table 2). The system continues to provide a robust and reliable service, and renegotiation of the maintenance contract to reflect a higher level of self-maintenance has shown substantial savings on running costs.

Table 2: Gandalf and Dial-in Line Activity

     
 

31-Jul-94

31-Jul-95

Gandalf lines in use

2874

2526

Disconnections

391

 

New connections

 

43

     

Dial-in circuits: Mercury

0

14

BT

10

10

     

Registered dial-in users

667

1208

Nos. making use of dial-in

593

1082

The dial-in service was expanded from 10 to 24 circuits, using Mercury-provided services for the new lines. Call overflow transfer is provided between the original BT number (722311) and the new Mercury number (387200). The daily number of calls has increased from a peak of 400 in 1994 to over 700 throughout the summer of 1995 (see Figure 6). A significant amount of usage has been generated by the SLIP/PPP service that became available over dial-in at the start of this period. From the connection patterns it may be deduced that many users are now connecting from home up to three times a day to collect email and browse the World Wide Web.

 

Figure 6: Weekly Total Dial-in Calls

2.3 Information Services & Internet Services

WWW and Gopher Servers

This section is concerned with OUCS' provision of and support for information services for the University community (the use of such services for OUCS' own information provision is covered elsewhere). The year saw a consolidation of the WWW and Gopher services, with a vast increase in the level of interest in providing information via the WWW. Regrettably, there are still significant gaps in the provision of official information from the central administration and departments.

OUCS provides the central WWW and Gopher servers (both running on a dedicated Unix server, octarine.ox.ac.uk), together with a WWW server running on the general-purpose Unix system, Sable. The central WWW server provides the main entry point for the University Networked Information Service (UNIS), some second-level menus and basic contact information pages (email addresses, departmental and college addresses, and so on). The information currently provided by the Gopher server includes the bulk of the University Offices information and the Gazette; together with a sub-set of the contact information. The WWW server running on Sable provides for the bulk of the information provision by individuals (there are over 430 personal home pages) together with departments and colleges and various clubs and societies who do not run their own servers. OUCS makes use of Sable for its own online information.

There are many other WWW servers around the University: of the 41 departments currently linked to from UNIS (that is, the 41 departments that have requested that links be added in), 14 make use of the OUCS servers, with the remaining running on their own systems. There are currently eight colleges with official WWW services registered with UNIS, two of which make use of the WWW server on Sable.

The distributed nature of the information provision around the University means that any figures quoted here do not represent the complete picture - they refer only to information provided via the OUCS servers. Further, comprehensive logs allowing for an overall view of all the OUCS servers are only available for the last 6 months of this academic year. In that time, there were a total of 3.2 million separate accesses, with 69,000 distinct items being served.

Figure 7 shows the total accesses to the WWW server running on octarine (the top level menu of UNIS together with a number of secondary menus and the contact pages). The numbers of accesses peak at 178,000 in June, with a slight drop off as the summer vacation began in July. The figures are also shown broken down by calling site: splitting into connections from Oxford (more strictly, from the ox.ac.uk domain), from elsewhere in the ac.uk domain, and finally all other calls. The number of accesses from Oxford and from all other sites are more or less equal, accounting for over 90% of the total calls, while less than 10% of accesses are from other UK academic institutions.

 

Figure 7: Source and No. of Accesses to Oxford Web Server

The number of accesses to the gopher server is markedly lower than that for the WWW server (peaking at 72,000 in February), and the access levels are gradually falling. The percentage of all information services accesses that are calls to the gopher server has declined steadily and now sits at just over 20%. The geographic spread for Gopher accesses differs from the WWW server in that there are approaching twice as many calls from outside the ac.uk domain as there are from within Oxford. Again, calls from elsewhere in the ac.uk domain form a very small proportion of the total.

It was possible for the final two months of the year to determine what type of client program and system was used to access the WWW server - a breakdown of these is shown in Figure 8. Clearly, the Netscape graphical browser is by far the most popular, with significant use also being made of the Lynx line-mode browser and of the other major graphical browser, Mosaic. A finer breakdown of the Netscape figures shows roughly a 70:20:10 split between MS-Windows, Macintoshes and X-Windows systems (see Figure 8). The fairly high proportion of Lynx users indicates that information providers must continue (for the time being) to take note that many potential readers of the WWW information are still unable to display graphical and other multimedia documents.

 

Figure 8: Oxford Web Server Accesses by Client (%)

Analysing what information is obtained via these online systems is very problematical - the raw access figures are influenced by the frequency with which certain index and picture files are referenced (for example, number three on the overall list is an image of a little blue ball commonly used as a bullet point on graphical displays). The figures are biased still further by the constituency of information providers making use of the OUCS systems - the student population together with OUCS itself (both on behalf of the University and for providing our own documentation) are the major providers, with the University Offices being the major provider by the Gopher route.

So, bearing this in mind, and accepting that certain items are meaningless in this context and have therefore been omitted, Table 3 lists the twenty most popular items provided by the combination of WWW and Gopher servers on OUCS systems. The data cover the months February to July 1995, and the figures given are for the average number of accesses per month for that period.

Table 3: Average Web/Gopher Server Accesses, Feb-Jul 95

       

Rank

Item

Provided by

Accesses

     

per month

1

Contact information

OUCS

6830

2

Index to departmental information and servers

OUCS

5834

3

OU Student's Union

OUSU

4144

4

OUCS top-level index

OUCS

2478

5

Help files on using Sable

OUCS

2340

6

Help files on using the WWW

OUCS

2180

7

HUMBUL Gateway (humanities resources)

OUCS/CHC

1934

8

Local and National IT information index

OUCS

1738

9

University Offices top-level index

Offices

1422

10

Centre for Humanities Computing top-level

OUCS/CHC

1248

11

The ‘Rowing’ Page

Individual student

1215

12

Index to College information and servers

OUCS

1209

13

The ‘Douglas Adams’ Society

Individual student

1194

14

Merton College top-level index

Merton

1148

15

Oxford Job Vacancies

Offices

1144

16

Student Sporting information

OUSU

1143

17

Technical information about ELF/Linux

Individual student

1112

18

Student Societies information

OUSU

1103

19

Computers in Teaching Initiative (CTI) info.

OUCS/CTISS

1075

20

The University Gazette

Gazette Editor

1002

       

OUSU - Students' Union; Offices - University Offices; CHC - Centre for Humanities

Computing within OUCS; CTISS - Computers in Teaching Initiative Support Service

Other Services

The use of cache servers can markedly increase response times for information retrievals by holding local copies of any document that has been down-loaded. There is a national cache service for the WWW (provided by the HENSA service in Kent) and OUCS implemented a local cache service in June 1995.

A general mailing list service (using the majordomo software running on Sable) was introduced in March 1995, allowing departments, colleges, individuals, and student clubs and societies to manage their own mailing lists. There are currently some 15 lists, some open to all, others restricted to a particular group of people. This service is a replacement for, and extension of, the Listserv mailing list service still running on the Vax.

The outgoing anonymous ftp service has been extended to allow departments and colleges to manage their own branches of the ftp tree. A general incoming anonymous ftp service is also available on request.

The OUCS Status service (detailing the availability and status of the central services) was moved to a system based on the WWW. This provides additional access routes and allows for more of the central systems (such as the mailers) to be included.

2.4 Electronic Mail

The number of messages passing through the mailers has increased steadily throughout the year, and capacity limitations are beginning to appear during the peak period (mid afternoon). See Table 4 and Figure 9.

Table 4: Daily Average Email Traffic
       
  Mean Minimum Maximum
       
No. of Messages In 20874 5672 34885
Kbytes In 113489 24940 984867
No of Messages Out 20813 5306 32551
Kbytes Out 120219 26881 989984
% out in 1 Minute 85.0 24.5 95.5
% out in 5 Minutes 91.0 28.5 98.0
% out within 1 hour 96.1 44.5 99.5
% out within 1 day 99.0 71.0 100.0

 

Figure 9: Daily Average Email Messages Through Mailer

A new, more powerful, Sun Sparcstation 20 dual-processor system has been purchased, and will be brought into service as the primary mailer during the coming term. At about the same time it is hoped to introduce "fuzzy-matching" software, which will reply to mail sent to a name that is not registered with a range of alternatives, ranked according to their similarity to the name given.

The number of users registered for email continues to increase, especially with the major undergraduate registration on Sable. The proportion (although not the total amount) of mail associated with Vax accounts has decreased, and now Sable sends/receives approximately the same amount as the VAX.

The University Mailer now rewrites outgoing mail headers in the standard format first.lastname@unit for 15 departmental and College mail servers, as well as the central services. More departments are planning to join this scheme.

Use of the recommended ECSmail system is increasing, although its take-up rate was restricted by a long delay in the release of the new version of the software. ECSmail has now been renamed Simeon, and OUCS is currently distributing Simeon 3.2 for Windows. Server software is now available for SunOS/Solaris, and a Mac client is due soon. Use of all forms of client/server email systems using POP or IMAP is steadily increasing.

2.5 News Server

On 5 June 1995 the new Network News Server for Oxford University, news.ox.ac.uk, started offering a user service. This was the culmination of a project begun in October 1994 to replace the news servers running on inca.comlab.ox.ac.uk and vax.ox.ac.uk, both of which had serious operational shortcomings.

The server is based on a Sun Sparcserver 1000E, which has 2 60Mhz processors, 192 megabytes memory, a 10-gigabyte Storageworks RAID level 5 disk array and a dual-channel FDDI interface. The system runs the Solaris operating system and the InterNetNews (INN) news application.

The server has proved to be capable of handling large volumes of data (about 80000 news items are added and expired daily), and also supporting up to 70 simultaneous connections from news clients. About 4,700 newsgroups are carried at present. Local Newsgroups are retained for 28 days, with others being held for 14 days.

So far both the hardware and software have been very reliable. Such minor problems as have occurred have not had a significant impact on the user service.

2.6 Security

The structure required to manage computer security incidents was brought in at the beginning of this period, and the Oxford University Computer Emergency Response Team (OxCERT) was set up. This consists of staff from about six University departments, as well as from OUCS. Despite this rather dramatic title, it is considered that the main tasks are educational rather than reactive. A series of seminars has been organised on various security-related topics, including email privacy and Unix system security. A major publicity initiative warning of the dangers of computer viruses has been undertaken.

Staff have attended, and presented papers at, national security workshops. The chairman of the group has attended a security workshop in Boston organised by the Forum of Incident Response and Security Teams (FIRST). An archive of security and privacy related material has been made available, including mirrors of internationally available archives. This now contains over 500 Mbytes of information, tools etc.

During the year about 30 incidents have been investigated, including "hacking" attempts both to and from Oxford, capture and compromise of user passwords, and various types of snooping.

There was also a steady flow of virus infections (see under section 4.1 below).

Many of the security alarms turned out to have simple explanations, such as a legitimate user attempting to access a site through an unexpected route; others were more serious and appropriate action was taken in conjunction with the University and other authorities.

A "hot-line" with a voice-messaging system has been set up to receive reports of incidents at any time. The team is able to call on expertise from around the University, and OUCS would like to commend the willingness which system administrators and other computer specialists have shown in offering their services on a voluntary basis.

In addition to the activity of OxCERT, OUCS has also been called upon to deal with several cases of apparent abuse of computing facilities. Most have been dealt with summarily, but a few have been referred to the Proctors for discipline.

2.7 Hierarchical File Server

During this year a procurement exercise has been undertaken to purchase a large fileserver system. The procurement was carried out according to the EC Open Procurement requirements, and a proposal from IBM was selected. The system ordered consists of two IBM RS/6000 model R30 Unix computers, each with four CPUs and 512 MBytes of memory, and sharing 160 Gbytes of disk storage; an IBM 3494 robotic Tape Library, with four 3590 tape drives and an initial capacity of 13.1 TeraBytes; IBM's ADSM/6000 storage management software, including a site licence for client-based components on a wide range of platforms.

The fileserver is intended to serve a variety of purposes, including:

This system is not intended to supplant or replace the requirement for local disks or file servers, but will offer substantial extra facilities: a great reduction in overall staff effort; significant economies of scale; greatly enhanced security against loss or damage; continuity through changes in systems and technology. It is also expected that it will restrain the demand for growth in local disk storage and reduce demand for backup devices such as tape streamers. Universality of access to files will enable users to access their files from any location around the University (e.g. College, Department, Library, home, or any other Internet-accessible sites around the world). The file server is sited at OUCS and linked to all Departments and Colleges via the University's FDDI backbone. It is expected to support a wide variety of types of client systems, including microcomputers (PCs and Macs), desktop workstations, departmental servers and central mainframes.

It should be emphasised that this system leaves control of access to and management of files in the hands of the user (or unit manager, if that is desired), while delivering the above benefits. Ultimately, it will enable the University to establish a common filetree structure and secure access mechanisms for all departments to use that wish to, in a location-independent manner (probably using the OSF/DFS model). Such software developments are at present immature, so it will not be possible to introduce such a system at the outset.

The implementation of these facilities will take place in stages, starting in Michaelmas term with the provision of backup facilities for desktop systems and workstations, and long-term archive for selected projects. Later, work will begin on the provision of extended file server facilities.

3. CENTRAL COMPUTING SERVICES

Note that further statistics relating to the use and performance of these systems can be viewed in Section 8.

3.1 General Purpose Service(Vax)

The problems with communications software which caused unreliability during the last period were largely resolved by October, and since then reliability has been good. Version 6.1 of VMS was installed in September without any major problem.

Although batch usage of the system has declined this year (by about 30%), the total interactive usage, of all sorts, remains at much the same level as last year (see Figures 10 & 11).

 

Figure 10: Vax CPU Usage (Hours)

 

Figure 11: Vax Interactive Sessions

There has, however, been a decrease in usage by Mathematics and Physical Science Departments. One noticeable trend is the increase in the amount of time charged to "system overheads". This reflects the fact that while usage of the Vax for computation declines, there is an ever increasing reliance on services such as mail and news, where much of the actual processing is carried out by the system on behalf of users as a whole (see Figure 12).

 

Figure 12: Vax Interactive Sessions by Departmental Group

Current plans foresee the general purpose Vax service terminating, probably in the summer of 1997, and plans are now being formulated to transfer the bulk of usage to other systems, either central or departmental.

This task will be carefully planned, taking into account the availability of equivalent services and the assistance needed by users to make the change.

3.2 Unix General Purpose Service(Sable)

In July 1994 the University purchased a Digital 2100/A500 MP server (Sable), comprising 3 processors, 1152 Mbytes of memory, 16 RZ28 2.1 Gbyte disk drives and 2 TZ86 6Gb Tape Cartridges. This ran Digital's OSF/1 operating system (later renamed Digital Unix).

During September this system replaced the Digital 5500 system (Black) as the central Unix Server. Individual users and their filestore were transferred from Black in a nearly transparent manner. At the same time the introduction of the Newuser facility (described more fully elsewhere) enabled self-registration by the majority of members of the University (including new undergraduates). By the end of October there were 4800 usernames on Sable (about half of which had transferred from Black) and by the end of the academic year there were 8700.

The usefulness of the service was marred by the appalling software reliability of the OSF system. This became a serious problem as soon as the user load built up. Problems were apparent in many areas, particularly in the software to handle terminal lines using Digital's LAT protocol (all those going through Gandalf). Fixing these faults (in late October) only led to further problems being revealed. A large number of patches were applied, and during January and February the system was rebooted thrice weekly (at quiet times) to prevent the build-up of various system-crashing conditions. Towards the end of the period the system did become more stable, finally running for more than a month without a break (see availability data in Section 8).

During all this year the Computing Services has been in continual contact with Digital, both at technical and managerial level, to ensure that all available resources were deployed. It must be said that although excellent technical support was available in this country, Digital management showed little sign of giving these problems the attention they deserved. Contact was finally established directly with Digital's President in the USA, and direct lines of communication were then established with the relevant technical and management structure in the USA. Thenceforth, it was clear that a very great deal of effort was going into testing and producing patches. A simulation systems was set up at a Digital engineering site in Salem which was meant to mimic the characteristics of the Oxford workload, and our staff were able to log on to this and comment on its functionality.

These problems should not be allowed to disguise the fact that the system was still running more than 98% of the time, and an extremely useful service has been provided to a large number of people (see Figure 13).

 

Figure 13: Unix Interactive Sessions

After the end of this period (on 8 August) a new version of OSF, 3.2c, was mounted with little trouble, and it is hoped that this year will see a major improvement in service.

3.3 Vector Processing Service(Convex)

The Convex continues to provide a satisfactory service to users with numerically intensive jobs, although total throughput has fallen by about 15% from last year (see Figure 14). Nearly all the usage is accounted for by about a dozen users, from only five departments (see Figure 15). The power of the Convex is relatively small by modern standards, and it is clear that most of this workload could be more economically supported on workstations.

 

Figure 14: Convex CPU Usage (Hours)

 

Figure 15: Convex CPU Usage (Hours) by Departmental Group

The University has decided that the Convex service will terminate on 31 July 1996, and during the coming year assistance with migration will be given to individual users.

The University's overall policy on support for high performance computing was the subject of a special working party at Easter 1995, the conclusions of which are embodied in the draft IT Strategy Review. Basically, the ongoing role for OUCS is in acting as a point of contact for use of the national facilities, and in providing a fast general-purpose processor which is only ever likely to have sufficient processing capacity for occasional work (Sable currently serves that role).

3.4 Specialised Peripherals

OUCS has a range of specialised peripherals for general use; these are usually devices which departments or units could not be expected to provide for themselves. As technology changes, these will be phased out and new devices acquired. The current devices and related services are listed below.

Prism Imagesetter

The Monotype Prism PS Plus imagesetter is a high-resolution output device intended for producing camera-ready copy for printed material. It is the basis for the National Typesetting Service that OUCS offers to all UK universities as a means of cheaply producing camera-ready copy.

Agfa Colour Laser Printer

The Agfa XC305 400 dpi colour PostScript laser printer can print on A4 or A3 paper, or A4 transparencies, and is capable of producing output with a very high degree of continuous tone quality allowing it to print to near photographic standards. It can also be used as a colour photocopier.

Oce Postscript Laserprinter

The Oce 6750PS is a high-performance Postscript laser printer with a resolution of 508 dpi (200 dots per cm) and can produce near-typesetter quality output with text and graphics having smoother and crisper edges than many other laser printers.

Colour Scanning

The "do it yourself" colour scanning service is based on an Agfa Arcus Plus scanner connected to a Macintosh Quadra 950. This provides for document and image scanning up to A4 in size, at a resolution of up to 1200 dpi.

Publishing and Font Advice and Help

Advice is available on publishing matters to University members and users of the National Academic Typesetting Service. This advice covers the use of fonts, typographic needs and the use of high quality composition software.

Much work has been undertaken during the year in developing facilities in TeX, in particular LaTeX, to support less common typographic requirements. This includes bidirectional typesetting of Hebrew using the Narkisism and Monotype Peninim fonts, and support for Porson Greek, Fraktur and Coptic fonts. Further developments are expected in the support of bidirectional typesetting over the coming year.

3.5 Operations

The continual simplification of the operational functions on newer equipment has released operator time for more user-support roles. Of particular note has been the introduction of a service to produce colour laser-printer output from data brought in by users on disks, in a variety of word-processor and graphics formats.

Consideration has been given to changes in the working pattern of operational staff, with consequent changes in availability of certain services within the OUCS building, and it is hoped to introduce a new system in the Michaelmas term.

The new machine-room air conditioning system, introduced in April 1994, has proved very effective, although not immune to the teething problems that seem to afflict all computer-based systems. A second phase of the air-conditioning project was implemented in the micro-advisory, graphics and lecture room areas in September 1994. This again has been successful. Considerable effort has been devoted to monitoring the performance of these systems and ensuring, through liaison with the Surveyor's division, that they are running in an efficient manner.

With such a well-equipped computer room, and qualified staff available in attendance for extended hours, OUCS has provided a Facilities Management services for a few computers belonging to other departments, including the Library OLIS system and one of the central administration's systems.

4. DISTRIBUTED COMPUTING

4.1 Microcomputer Centre

Those six of the OUCS staff who have particular responsibility for providing direct assistance and advice to users of microcomputers (PCs and Macintoshes) have continued to provide this service right across the University, and demand has grown at an ever-increasing rate, although the numbers attending formal consulting sessions has declined (more use is being made of phone and email queries). In addition, the load of answering microcomputer queries being carried by General Advisory (see 5.2 below) has increased.

Personal computer viruses continue to be a hazard. There have been 82 virus infections reported to OUCS during the period covered by this report. These infections have been reported to the Computer Crimes Unit at Scotland Yard. It is reasonable to assume that the number of systems infected by a computer virus will be somewhat greater than this total. Fortunately, there have been no serious virus outbreaks causing significant loss of data that have come to the attention of OUCS. To educate personal computer users at the University in some of the basic issues involved in living with computer viruses, a second edition of a userguide on the subject was published earlier this year and the most essential information is available in the Computing Services section of the University's WWW pages. Up-to-date information about virus alerts is maintained there as well.

4.2 Micro Network Support

A Novell Server Management Service was started in May this year. This is a facilities management service where, for a fee, OUCS staff install and maintain Novell servers for departments and colleges. The service is currently staffed by one person, but further support staff will be recruited in due course as the service expands, and it is backed up by other qualified OUCS staff. It has not yet been widely publicised as we did not wish to be swamped with enquiries in the early stages of setting up the service. However, there will be more detailed publicity about the service in the near future, now that procedures for the service are becoming well established.

A great deal of personal computing advice is now being given on communications issues; further evidence of the expanding reach of networking and demand for its services.

4.3 Micro Maintenance

The maintenance service which had been provided since 1989 was reviewed during the summer of 1994 and a decision was made to terminate it and replace it with a much improved on-site service with an eight hours response time and eight hours fix time. The service is available to staff and students of the University whose equipment is located anywhere within the British Isles. There are currently 2,766 items of equipment registered on the service, consisting of 1,688 computers and 923 printers, with the remainder consisting of an assortment of external devices such as CD-ROM stacks, scanners, and hard disk arrays. Use by units enjoying the full subsidy (ie to whom no charge is levied) predominate, as might be expected. However, use by those enjoying a partial subsidy as well as those paying the full cost continues to rise (see Figure 16). Full details of the service can be found in the Computing Services section of the University's WWW pages.

 

Figure 16: PC Maintenance Usage (Number of Units) by Customer Type

A hardware upgrade service is also available, providing advice about upgrading the specification of existing working equipment and applying the upgrade, involving more memory, hard disk expansions or even complete motherboard replacements.

4.4 Software Site Licences

Centrally-Funded Software

During the academic year 1993/94, the TRG (Technical Review Group) of the IT Committee set up a working party under the chairmanship of Ian McArthur (Physics) to look at all aspects of site licensing for software. The two main recommendations from the working party were that a new post to administer software deals should be created at OUCS and that the University should allocate funds (initially £40,000 for the first year) to centrally fund key items of software. Both these recommendations were agreed by the relevant University bodies.

The new Software Site Licence Administrator joined OUCS at the beginning of October 1994, and the current state of software funded under the scheme is as shown in Table 5.

Various investigations are taking place about other software to be included, especially software for the Humanities and word processing software. The Working Party has been granted increased funds for 1995/6.

The total number of licences for the 19 products covered has grown by over 200% between 7-Apr-94 and 31-Jul-95 (see Figure 17).

 

Figure 17: Software Licences Issued

Table 5: Centrally Funded Software

   

1) Networking software (used by all disciplines):

 

Novell Netware

 

LanWorkPlace

 

Beame and Whiteside TCP/IP NFS (the replacement for PC-NFS)

 

ECSMail

 

Vista eXceed

 

SofTrack Licence Metering Software

   

2) Software for Multi-User Machines (mainly used by the hard sciences):

 

NAG FORTRAN, Graphics and Online (Help) System

 

Uniras

 

XV

   

3) Statistics Software (mainly used by the biological, medical and social sciences):

 

SAS for DOS and Windows

 

SPSS for DOS, Windows and Mac

 

Minitab for DOS, Windows and Mac (only a small central payment to allow users to buy copies at a reduced rate).

Other Deals

OUCS continued to administer other site-licenced and bulk-purchase deals such as AVS, ERDAS, Maple and the very popular Microsoft Select bulk-purchase deal. New deals taken out during the year were the Novell CAP deal for WordPerfect and associated products, S-Plus and bulk purchase of Corel Draw. Use of the Microsoft and WordPerfect deals have grown by 750% and 110% respectively between 7-Apr-94 and 31-Jul-95.

Mail lists and associated newsgroups have been set up to announce new products and deals and to allow users to discuss their problems and suggest new software that could be acquired.

4.5 Media Support

This unit undertakes bulk copying of computer media for software distribution purposes, conversion of media from one form to another, and a rescue service for faulty media where possible. With the sharp increase in software distribution, not surprisingly the workload in this group has increased significantly (see Figure 18).

 

Figure 18: Disks Copied

4.6 Shop

In September and October 1994, the department conducted an internal review of the Shop with wide ranging terms of reference covering finance, marketing, staffing, structure and accommodation. As a result of the review's findings, several important changes took place early in the new year. A Shop Manager was appointed, a Shop Assistant Manager with special accounting responsibilities was appointed (both by redeployment of existing OUCS staff), the Shop accommodation was increased by 50% to provide a larger area for customers together with the provision of a demonstration area for computer hardware, an office and storage area at the rear. Further expansionary changes are planned for the months ahead.

The shop stocks an ever increasing range of consumable items, software is distributed according to the terms of various site licences and hardware is obtained at educational rates in cooperation with a number of suppliers.

Against this background Shop sales continue to increase, with the 1994/95 turnover, at £953,934, 25% up on last year with the most improved sales sector being, once again, internal sales at 50% up on 1993/94 (see Figure 19). Not surprisingly, hardware sales - which improved by 12% over the year, provided 70% of the Shop's total sales turnover. However, as with last year, software sales had the greatest rate of product category growth, being, at £138,615, 50% up on last year.

 

Figure 19: Shop Sales (£)

It is anticipated that the changes made should enable the Shop to improve the quality of its services, and thus enable it to sustain this rate of growth.

A microcomputer procurement service continues to be provided for Humanities faculties and staff.

5. TRAINING AND HELP

5.1 Training Courses

This year over 5,000 people enrolled in courses (though many will have enrolled for more than one course). There has been a slight increase from last year in the number of attendees and the number of courses, as indicated in Table 6. Some areas have decreased their attendance and others have increased, but course attendance hours continues to increase (see Figure 20). In particular, there has been an increase in the networking courses and the applications. Introduction to Internet Services, Introduction to Windows and Designing and using Spreadsheets all proved popular.

 

Figure 20: Course Attendance (Student-Hours)

Table 6: Training Courses

 

Course

Bookings

 

Modules

   
 

93/94

94/95

93/94

94/95

         

Background courses

40

44

935

854

Operating systems and networks

129

144

2073

2220

Applications (excl. word processing)

81

87

918

1063

Word processing

60

48

759

609

Programming

16

15

428

405

         

Totals

326

338

5113

5151

At the beginning of the year the introductory word processing courses were rationalised. There is now one Introduction to Word Processing which is a generic course using the popular task-based format; attendees use any of the products WordPerfect for Windows, WordPerfect for DOS or Word for Windows during the practical sessions. This has proved very popular, thus easing the timetabling problems. New booklets for each of these courses were published at the beginning of the session. The advanced courses; WordPerfect for the Office, WordPerfect for your Thesis and WordPerfect for Desktop Publishing were all rewritten for WordPerfect for Windows and booklets were published again using the task-based format. The Word for Windows introduction has led to a demand for the more advanced courses to be available in Word as well as WordPerfect; the Office and Thesis courses will be available in Word from Michaelmas Term 1995 and the documentation will be available at the same time. It had been hoped that there would be no need to run the WordPerfect 5.1 using the function keys but there was some demand so this course was run a couple of times each term.

The Excel and PageMaker courses were updated for the new versions of the software with documentation being published for Designing and using Spreadsheets and Introduction to Desktop Publishing using PageMaker. Two advanced modules for Excel are being further developed and documentation for these will be published in 1995/6.

The new format for the Unix and Pine email courses making them independent of each other has worked well. The number of people wishing to attend the Vax course and its associated email course fell sharply when it was decided not to register any new people on the Vax unless it was absolutely necessary. These two courses will be run once each term during 1995/6.

Three new courses are being developed ready for the academic year 1995/6: Designing Effective Presentations using PowerPoint, Introduction to Programming using Visual Basic and Rapid Application Development using Visual Basic. The PowerPoint course examines how to present information as well as the use of PowerPoint. With the new Word and PowerPoint courses this will mean that courses will be offered for the full set of Microsoft Office Professional software. Other new courses included Providing WWW Information: An Introduction to HTML, WWW Document Format and Information Management, and Introduction to Electronic Mail using Simeon.

5.2 General Advisory Service

The Advisory Service forms the central source of support for users of OUCS systems and services and it continues to be popular and widely used. It draws upon all the resources of OUCS to present, as far as it can,

speedy and effective replies to queries and problems brought by callers who come to the Help Area at 13 Banbury Road, or who make contact by telephone or electronic mail. As can be seen from Figure 21, and Tables 7 and 8, the numbers have sharply risen in 1994/95, and the proportion doing so by email continues to rise.

Table 7: Advisory Usage by Contact Method

                   
 

no. of callers

%

no. per week

 

92/3

93/4

94/5

92/3

93/4

94/5

92/3

93/4

94/5

                   

In person

4671

4404

4606

50.8

47.6

41.7

92

86

90

By phone

2409

2320

2666

26.2

25.1

24.2

47

45

52

By email

2113

2526

3769

23.0

27.3

34.1

41

50

74

                   

Total

9193

9250

11041

     

180

181

216

 

Figure 21: Advisory Callers

Table 8: Advisory Queries by Serviced Queried
             
  no. of queries %
  92/3 93/4 94/5 92/3 93/4 94/5
             
Vax 3238 2757 1748 43.7 38.6 23.1
Micro 3442 3186 3422 46.5 44.9 45.2
Unix 359 640 1794 4.8 9.0 23.7
Other 371 512 609 5.0 7.2 8.0
             
Total 7410 7095 7573      
             
NB. Excludes queries made by email.

Advisory is also a very important source of feedback to OUCS, and it can act on occasion as both a safety valve and an early warning system. All calls are logged, and the logs regularly reviewed.

With the advent of Sable, self-registration of usernames and email addresses, and a world-wide spread of email and Internet, the types of queries brought to Advisory have changed from VAX to Sable and from programming and mainframes to networking and personal computing, shown in Figure 22.

 

Figure 22: Advisory Queries

Advisory continues to be staffed on a rota basis by most members of User Services. However a project was started at Easter to review all aspects of the service including staffing, telephone service, automated logging of queries and use of commercially-available Help Desk systems.

5.3 Learning and Resource Centre

The LaRC has had a very busy year serving an increased number of users (see Figure 23). The extension of the facilities on offer, the increase in opening hours and the broadening of the aims of the LaRC (which took place last year) have all contributed to the increase, as indicated in Table 9.

 

Figure 23: Numbers Using LaRC

Table 9: LaRC Usage

 

Numbers

Printing

 

Using LaRC

Receipts (£)

 

93/94

94/95

93/94

94/95

         

Michaelmas

300

560

773

1,263

Hilary

285

384

839

1,886

Trinity

275

381

1,231

1,861

         

Totals

860

1,325

3,412

5,010

The Centre has at times been full to capacity with considerable demands on staff, but this does not seem to have caused undue problems for users. There was some concern following the broadening of the LaRC's aims, that those who specifically wanted to use the centre for acquiring IT skills might feel crowded out or overwhelmed by "resource" users. This has not occurred partly because of an attempt to give extra attention to novice users, combined with having some excellent starter material, and because the most common user is still the resource user who needs support. An approximate breakdown of usage, taken from the list of applications for usernames, reveals the reasons given for use of the LaRC shown in Table 10.

Table 10: Purpose for using LaRC

   
 

%

Wordprocessing

50

Email/Internet

20

Spreadsheets/Stats

5

Graphics/Scanning

5

Printing

10

Programming

5

Other/not said

5

In fact few users use only one piece of software and the LaRC often encourages people to expand their skills simply by exposure to other software available.

The number of recorded users shows an increase, but as before is only a guide, particularly with regard to Mac users. The Macs have been busy throughout the year, but show a very low number of users, presumably as a username is not required in order to use one. Similarly, people on courses seldom register separately to use the LaRC. One main increase in usage has been by people wanting to connect to Sable

primarily to use email. These have not proved to be a problem as they generally login for a relatively brief period of time, and frequently make use of the other facilities the LaRC has to offer.

This year again saw the opening hours extended to 19:30 each weekday evening plus 4 hours opening on Saturday afternoons. The numbers making use of the Centre in the evenings averaged 15 in Michaelmas, 24 in Hilary and 23 in Trinity. The average number of people using the LaRC on Saturday afternoons was 22 in Michaelmas, 29 in Hilary and 27 in Trinity. Usage tends to peak in the middle of term.

The planned move to Banbury Road during the coming year should enhance and extend all that the LaRC presently offers, since this will allow more integration with the other services and facilities offered by OUCS, such as the Humanities Centre, Advisory, colour printing, higher quality scanning and the Shop. It is also planned soon to upgrade the Macintosh LCIIIs and LCIVs and replace the older MacIIcxs with newer models.

5.4 Publications and Information

The year's documentation effort concentrated on printed User Guides linked to the OUCS courses (see the Training section for more details) and on developing a range of OUCS documents on the University Networked Information Service (UNIS). Work has begun replacing a number of the system specific User Guides with on-line versions that allow greater flexibility and ease of update, and on producing additional on-line documents covering a wider range of subjects than have been covered by printed documents. We are investigating the use of Adobe Acrobat for making our printed User Guides available in a screen-readable format.

All the OUCS documents on UNIS are regularly indexed, allowing relevant documents to be searched for and retrieved. Allied to this, the initial design work has begun on a unified documentation catalogue for all OUCS publications.

The OUCS Newsletter is produced on a monthly basis, with articles covering local and national computing and general IT services in addition to the normal range of news and information items covering developments of the OUCS service. The Newsletter is distributed in printed form to departments, colleges and a circulation list, and is also available online on UNIS. A priority for the coming year will be to develop new information dissemination procedures to ensure that our ever-widening constituency can be kept aware of both short and long-term developments.

6. HUMANITIES COMPUTING

6.1 Humanities Centre and Services

The Centre for Humanities Computing exists to provide specialist support and training on electronic tools and techniques, digital data, and information services which have particular relevance to scholars and students in the humanities faculties. It has a resources room and two and a half members of staff funded by Oxford University. The Centre runs courses and workshops in humanities computing applications, and graduate training days for new postgraduates. It also produces documentation and publications on relevant topics, and brings out a short newsletter each term, Humanities Computing in Oxford, which is sent to all staff and postgraduates in humanities faculties, some 2,000 individuals in all.

In 1995 the Centre was awarded equipment funds of £31,000 from the University from its programme aimed to forward the general IT strategy. The main software purchase from the allocated funds was the text analysis package PAT available from the OpenText Corporation. This is the software which was developed to handle the new version of the Oxford English Dictionary, and is the most powerful system of its kind available today for academic use. A site licence for the whole university was purchased.

Part of the money received by the Centre for Humanities computing went towards the setting up of a multimedia workstation, and the provision of multimedia lecturing tools. In addition, a VHS Camera, a VCR (for both PAL and NTSC), and a dual cassette deck were acquired. To complete the suite of facilities, a portable LCD panel and a portable Overhead Projector were purchased, for borrowing by any member of staff.

Another portion was spent on the purchase of a JVC CD-ROM writer, so that staff and users of the CHC could write CD-ROMs. This enabled the cheap and convenient saving of large datasets and has proved invaluable in three months of intensive use.

The Centre manages Humbul and a World Wide Web service which is updated almost daily and which provides easy access to humanities resources all over the world. This has some 2,500 accesses per month.

The Centre has just carried out a major survey of hardware and software resources in humanities faculties on behalf of the University. This will provide information needed to assist the University in providing resources to scholars. It has also been a valuable route through which to inform academics of our existence and our facilities.

6.2 Specially Funded Centres

The Centre also houses a number of outside-funded projects, which have input into activities for staff and students of Oxford University. These are:

CTI Centre for Textual Studies

One of 23 subject-specific centres set up to promote, support, and encourage the use of computers in teaching in UK universities. Funding is provided by the HEFCE (until July 1999); and the Centre is staffed by two research officers.

Office for Humanities Communication

The main brief of this is to carry out research on matters of current concern among scholars, learned societies, libraries, and publishers relating to humanities communication. The OHC is funded by the British Library Research and Development Department (until July 1996), and is staffed by one research officer and a secretary. The OHC puts on a number of lectures and workshops in Oxford, which are attended by Oxford staff and postgraduates, as well as by academics from outside. For the last year the British Library has also been funding a research officer to work on the preparation of textual resources for literary studies.

Information Technology Training Initiative (ITTI): Hypermedia in Language and Literature Subjects

This project has been investigating the usefulness of hypermedia in literary and linguistic teaching and research. It has informed humanities academics of hypermedia and encouraged them to use relevant materials both in the classroom and for research. A report on this topic, Hypermedia in the Humanities, was published by the project in December 1992. The project has developed an authoring shell for the teaching of poetry, and two major hypermedia teaching packages, one based on the Old English poem "The Dream of the Rood", the other on Women's Writings for the period 1780 to 1830. These resources are available for use in Oxford University. Courses and workshops in hypermedia have been given both in Oxford and at other institutions.

The post funded by the British Library to establish a range of networked resources is building on work done and resources gathered by the ITTI project; and further funding has been made available from UCISA for updating Hypermedia in the Humanities.

Electronic Publications

There is one research officer in the Centre who specialises in a variety of electronic publishing activities. These include: developing the database, encoding scheme, and image capture procedure for the Tchalenko and Creswell Archives; working with the Voltaire Institute in the publication of CD-ROMs; consulting on electronic publishing for Cambridge University Press and other publishers; and working on the Canterbury Tales CD-ROM project, which has just received major funding from the Leverhulme Trust.

6.3 Oxford Text Archive and British National Corpus

The Oxford Text Archive continues to be in demand, with 1,482 titles being distributed in 1994/5, almost all through the ftp service on Sable.

In April 1994 JISC commissioned a report on proposals for the establishment of a national distributed Arts and Humanities Data Service. This report was subsequently published by the OHC in December 1994, and its recommendations are currently being implemented under the aegis of the Follett Implementation Group.

In May 1995, after nearly five years work, OUCS finally began distribution of the British National Corpus on CD, on behalf of the BNC Consortium (a group also including OUP, Longman, Chambers, the British Library and the University of Lancaster). This 100 million word corpus of Modern English has aroused considerable interest within and outside the academic community, and has a wide range of uses in linguistics, lexicography and language teaching. Development of software to provide access to the Corpus also continues, with support from the British Academy and the British Library.

Following publication of the Text Encoding Initiative (TEI) Guidelines on paper in May 1994 and on CD in October, the emphasis in the TEI Project has shifted to consolidation and promotion. OUCS helped organize in the TEI MetaWork shop in Chicago in December and a number of other workshops and presentations were given in Europe and the USA. A 150-page tutorial has also been completed.

Since Dec 1994, the Archive has collaborated with the Bibliotheque Nationale de France, the Istitutadi Linguistica Computazionale di Pisa, and the companies CAP and AIS on a digital library project called Memoria, which is funded by the European Union as a part of its "Multi Lingual Action Plan".

Over 500 new titles were acquired during the year, and the work of converting to a standard format continued, though more slowly than desired owing to resource limitations.

7. OTHER SERVICES

7.1 Offset Printing

During the year 28 different User Guides (16,870 copies, amounting to 349,270 printed pages), 17 separate User Registration/Information documents (amounting to 66,100 printed pages) and 84 departmental administrative jobs (amounting to 217,525 printed pages) were produced in-house. This amounted to an increase of 25% on internal jobs handled and 24% on internal printed pages, over the 1993/94 throughput, as illustrated in Figure 24. In addition to this, external work continued to grow by 18% to 78 external jobs completed during the year (amounting to 430,050 printed pages). The revenue derived from external work also increased to over £21,000, a 15% increase on the previous year.

 

Figure 24: Pages Printed

A productivity increase of this magnitude was only possible by changing the way the section worked. In August 1994, the Advanced Scheduling system, which enables each job to be pre-booked for completion by a certain date - and commits the customer to a mandatory deadline for the delivery of the job's input, was introduced. Such was the system's success in reducing print room lost (ie waiting) time, that another 43 jobs were slotted into the year's throughput, increasing the total printed page throughput by 20% - and enabling the 1,000,000 mark to be passed shortly before year end. A remarkable output for a one-man section.

7.2 Data Centres

The Data Centres in 1 South Parks Road and 17 Banbury Road have had only minor changes in hardware over the year. They still contain "dumb" terminals, X terminals, printers and plotters. There has been an increase in usage of 17 Banbury Road during the early hours of the morning, mainly by undergraduates. Security has been the main worry and a security camera is to be introduced.

The proposed building works on 15, 17 and 19 Banbury Road will allow us to extend the Data Centre to include PCs if we can solve the security problems.

7.3 Registration Service

To coincide with the start of the Sable service, OUCS introduced a new class of username called a "standard" username. This username is restricted to Sable only, has a fixed allocation and was intended for anyone (staff, student or visitor) who just wanted to access OUCS for email, Internet and basic Unix services. However, the username has access to all the facilities available on Sable as long as no further resources are required. All undergraduate usernames that were previously on Black became standard usernames. Any user requiring more resources on Sable or a username on the Vax or Convex would be given a username in an Allocations Group where bulk resources are allocated to departments, and then by a departmental Allocations Group manager.

At the same time as the standard username was introduced OUCS released a system called "newuser" whereby users could register for a standard username from any machine connected to the University Networks, without having to complete any paper work or having to contact or visit OUCS. This system was dependent on the accuracy of the information supplied by the University Offices. The system worked very well and OUCS would have never managed to create the 8,034 new usernames if 4,014 of the Sable ones had not been done via Newuser (see Table 11 and Figure 25).

Table 11: Identifiers on OUCS Systems

         
 

No. extant

No. created

No. deleted

No. extant

 

at 1/8/94

1/8/94 -

1/8/94-

at 1/8/95

   

31/7/95

31/7/95

 
         

Vax

5,304

305

1,138

4,471

Sable

1,884

7,034

192

8,726

Convex

218

15

103

130

Dial-in

667

680

139

1,208

         

Total

8,073

8,034

1,572

14,535

 

Figure 25: Total Registrations Extant

It became obvious that many services, both OUCS and University-wide, for example the mailer tables and the new Hierarchical Fileserver, were becoming dependent on information held in the OASIS registration database which runs on the Vax. As the Vax is due to retire, and to make the system more secure, a new IBM AIX Unix workstation was bought and a new registration system called MIRAGE is being designed. The system will cover all registrations of people, computers and services and will be linked to the University Card information. An initial service on MIRAGE will start in late September 1995. Because of its changed role involving computers as well as users, the group is now called "Registration" rather than "User Registration".

7.4 Publicity

Given the number of new usernames created on Sable it may be thought that there is no need for OUCS to promote its services. However, Sable is but one aspect of the services OUCS offer, and it is important that both existing and potential customers are fully aware of the expanding range of services OUCS offers. The OUCS Introductory Pack, produced and distributed in large numbers throughout the year, is one way of achieving this. A series of articles has also been produced for inclusion in the University Gazette, together with items in a number of other University publications which outline in general what OUCS can offer. These appear to have been well received.

The Staff Induction session provided by the University Staff Development Office has a section about OUCS, and we are happy to provide similar general introductory sessions for individual departmental induction courses.

7.5 Microprocessor Hardware Services

This unit has continued to provide University departments with a source of specialist hardware and software expertise particularly in the area of data acquisition equipment. Work has included:

Other areas investigated are the evaluation of PC storage devices for data capture, the evaluation of data capture and analysis software, the evaluation of PC C compilers for data collection use, the development of expertise with Texas instruments and Analog Devices Digital Signal Processing chips and software, and the development of expertise with Phillips and Microchip series microcontrollers.

Substantial work, on a charged-for basis, has also been carried out for the Hardware Compilation Group at the Computing Laboratory of the University. The work involves both hardware and software development, including designing and building the HARP1 programmable hardware device, and designing the HARP2 board, an enhanced version of HARP1. Software includes a hardware macro package written in a functional language, sml, and a software library written in occam.

The Microprocessor Unit also provided most of the electronic design and support for the Group, particularly in the area of transputers and Xilinx FPGAs.

7.6 National Services

There are three UK National Computing Centres offering specialised high performance computing facilities, for which OUCS acts as "broker". These are:

  • University of London Computing Centre (ULCC);
  • Manchester Computing Centre (MCC);
  • Atlas Centre at Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, Didcot (RAL).
  • Each offers supercomputing facilities, in particular large-scale vector-processing. Time on the vector-processing machines is allocated for large projects by the Research Councils, but small projects (less than 20 hours per year) are allocated through OUCS. The larger projects are allocated Class 1 time and the smaller projects Class 3 time. Class 3 time was only available at ULCC and MCC during 1994/5. Class 3 time become available on the Cray at the Atlas Centre in July 1995.

    A decision has been taken to close down the ULCC Convex service on 31-Jul-96; and no more Class 3 work was accepted after July 1995.

    7.7 Computer Based Education

    OUCS provides office accommodation and administrative support to the CTI Support Service (CTISS) and the office of the Association for Learning Technology (ALT). These are useful links, of which little has been made in the past. However, the increasing interest in and developments in the use of computers in teaching, at Oxford and nationally (eg through the Teaching & Learning Technology Projects), suggests that OUCS should provide more support for the use of IT in teaching throughout the University (it already does some in the humanities); the associations with CTISS and ALT could then become much more valuable.

    Plans are in place to redeploy one staff member to make a start in the support of this work, which could be of enormous significance in the long term.

    7.8 Other Services to Local and National Groups

    In addition to all the services directed towards end-users of IT facilities, a number of OUCS staff are committed to the support of various local and national committees and organisations, in furtherance of the broader goals of use of IT within the University. Locally, these activities include participation in and support of the work of committees such as the IT Committee, its Technical Review Group, Network Advisory Group, Equipment Group, IT Security & Privacy Group, and Ethernet Group, the Academic Computing Services Committee, the Committee on Automated Library Services, the Datasets Working Party, the Telecommunications Committee, the Administrative Information Services Committee, the IT Users' Group, the Colleges' IT Committee, the Staff Committee and the Research and Equipment Committee. In additional, some staff are involved in various Departmental, Faculty and College committees.

    Nationally, OUCS staff are involved in the Research Universities' Group for IT (RUGIT), NAG Ltd, the South-East Region Computer Users' Committee (SERCUC), the Universities and Colleges Information Systems Association (UCISA), and the following of UCISA's sub-groups: the Teaching, Learning & Information Group, and the Training Group.

    8. MAINFRAME STATISTICS

    8.1 Usage by Departmental Group

    Vax Usage for Year Ending 17th July 1995

      Interactive jobs Batch jobs Total Disk Usage (MB)
      no. CPU no. CPU Hours quota usage
        Hours   Hours   at 17/7/95
    Chemistry 135592 215 43664 518 733 1803 1456
    Physics 82085 153 14406 1195 1349 2454 1499
    Other Physical Sci. 128844 151 8892 159 310 1800 1533
    Mathematics 57306 194 53831 2015 2209 867 62
    Biological Sciences 99965 112 30120 44 156 1660 1317
    Medical Sciences 208151 248 23405 120 368 5384 3980
    Social Sciences 168534 311 31703 358 669 6539 5422
    Humanities 287152 238 22009 29 268 3491 2652
    Other Academic Users 17082 24 1517 4 28 393 208
    Non-Academic Users 48669 77 9012 46 123 1354 783
    Computing Services 44719 90 5519 19 109 1082 952
    System Overheads 19617 289 289074 2321 2610 8511 5022
                   
    Total 1297716 2102 533152 6829 8931 35335 25486

    Vax Usage for Year Ending 18th July 1994

      Interactive jobs Batch jobs Total Disk Usage (MB)
      no. CPU no. CPU Hours quota usage
        Hours   Hours   at 18/7/94
    Chemistry 151587 274 42582 712 986 1633 1355
    Physics 116980 275 21879 2123 2398 3389 1838
    Other Physical Sci. 125682 172 30315 1537 1709 1800 1671
    Mathematics 86711 339 51009 1932 2271 868 728
    Biological Sciences 134652 179 8061 107 286 1566 1302
    Medical Sciences 198916 249 17154 110 359 5394 3582
    Social Sciences 148758 321 29582 455 776 6211 5248
    Humanities 273707 276 23254 69 345 3460 2452
    Other Academic Users 21653 19 1253 3 22 326 188
    Non-Academic Users 49582 85 4658 18 103 1467 1050
    Computing Services 50524 105 16407 23 129 1004 940
    System Overheads 19696 130 458737 2778 2908 7359 4760
                   
    Total 1378448 2424 704891 9868 12292 34474 25115

    Notes:

    Sable (Digital Alpha 2100) Usage for Year Ending 17th July 1995

      Sessions CPU Usage Disk Use at 17/7/95 (MB)
        hours quota usage
    Chemistry 13188 711 191 81
    Physics 12832 1466 230 57
    Other Physical Sci. 12113 943 373 102
    Mathematics 5269 27 200 58
    Biological Sciences 12457 217 344 115
    Medical Sciences 25295 1291 685 190
    Social Sciences 21853 43 516 111
    Humanities 43294 139 983 213
    Standard Users 1066955 3265 22771 3589
    Other Academic Users 8832 44 93 34
    Non-Academic Users 31911 104 606 134
    Computing Services 18431 2922 2459 1280
    System Overheads 197180 1511 160 384
             
    Total 1469610 12683 29611 6348

    Black (Digital 5500) Usage for Year Ending 18th July 1994

      Sessions CPU Usage Disk Use at 18/7/94(MB)
        hours quota usage
    Chemistry 4272 31 52 20
    Physics 3073 248 97 26
    Other Physical Sci. 6135 144 168 39
    Mathematics 6469 726 171 43
    Biological Sciences 9141 160 153 35
    Medical Sciences 7569 128 172 42
    Social Sciences 11762 40 148 56
    Humanities 17965 91 381 79
    Undergraduates  238098 2193 1604 543
    Other Academic Users 6076 82 75 14
    Non-Academic Users 6238 16 130 28
    Computing Services 9473 367 613 210
    System Overheads 1113 949 60 102
             
    Total 327384 5175 3824 1237

    Notes:

    Convex Usage for Year Ending 17th July 1995

      Sessions CPU Usage (hrs) Disk Use at 17/7/95 (MB)
      interactive batch batch total quota usage
    Chemistry 9282 4698 3374 3476 47 30
    Physics 2996 1272 1569 1613 30 22
    Other Physical Sciences 2782 5902 7281 7274 32 18
    Mathematics 36 197 146 147 1 0
    Biological Sciences 1037 0 0 3 6 4
    Medical Sciences 24 17 0 0 0 0
    Social Sciences 87 0 0 0 5 0
    Humanities 0 0 0 0 0 0
    Other Academic Users 724 0 0 2 0 0
    Non-Academic Users 0 0 0 0 0 0
    Computing Services 1451 198 76 275 216 140
    System Overheads 1285 1 0 287 22 11
                 
    Totals 19704 12285 12446 13077 359 225

    Convex Usage for Year Ending 18th July 1994

      Sessions CPU Usage (hrs) Disk Use at 18/7/94 (MB)
      interactive batch batch total quota usage
    Chemistry 8691 7793 3376 3506 56 39
    Physics 3916 6875 2626 2658 42 23
    Other Physical Sciences 2254 12663 5387 5426 37 20
    Mathematics 643 5708 2957 2965 7 4
    Biological Sciences 768 7 9 18 8 4
    Medical Sciences 81 7 0 1 1 1
    Social Sciences 156 98 449 454 2 1
    Humanities 0 0 0 0 0 0
    Other Academic Users 291 0 0 0 0 0
    Non-Academic Users 0 0 0 0 1 0
    Computing Services 2892 397 87 187 187 153
    System Overheads 1698 0 0 227 22 17
                 
    Totals 21390 33548 14891 15442 363 262

    Notes:

    8.2 Workload and Availability Through the Year

    Vax Workload and Availability 1994/5

      Workload ---> Availability --->
                    Prime Time No. MTBI MTTR
    4 weeks Interactive Batch Total DEC Ov'al Shift lost of Hrs Hrs
    ending Jobs Hrs Jobs Hrs Hrs % % % Hrs breaks    
    15-aug-94 88621 154 42714 842 996 97.9 97.9 97.5 13.9 1 658 13.9
    12-sep-94 85554 157 68319 967 1124 99.3 97.2 90.4 18.2 4 163 4.7
    10-oct-94 104258 189 54260 455 645 99.2 99.2 96.7 5.3 3 222 1.8
    07-nov-94 112592 199 47864 286 485 100.0 100.0 100.0 0.0 0 - -
    05-dec-94 114577 204 46375 429 633 99.9 99.9 99.5 0.9 1 671 0.9
    02-jan-95 75838 118 59040 320 439 99.7 99.7 100.0 1.9 1 670 1.9
    30-jan-95 97146 149 26462 350 498 99.9 99.9 100.0 0.7 1 671 0.7
    27-feb-95 113744 160 27982 372 532 99.4 99.4 98.4 4.4 2 334 2.2
    27-mar-95 109855 169 29908 374 544 99.7 99.7 99.3 2.4 2 335 1.2
    24-apr-95 86808 135 30552 369 505 99.9 99.9 100.0 0.4 1 672 0.4
    22-may-95 107889 176 31254 471 648 99.9 99.9 99.6 0.6 1 671 0.6
    19-jun-95 107738 155 34530 692 847 100.0 100.0 100.0 0.0 0 - -
    17-jul-95 93098 137 33893 906 1043 100.0 100.0 100.0 0.0 0 - -
                             
    Total 1297718 2103 533153 6834 8938 99.6 99.4 98.6 49.4 17 511 2.9
                             
    Total(93/4) 1378450 2424 704891 9868 12292 99.6 99.5 98.6 46.2 23 378 1.5

    Sable Workload and Availability 1994/5

      Workload ---> Availability --->
              Prime Time No. MTBI MTTR
    4 weeks Interactive DEC Ov'al Shift lost of Hrs Hrs
    ending Jobs Hrs % % % Hrs breaks    
    15-aug-94 - -
    12-sep-94 - -
    10-oct-94 32403 1210 99.8 99.8 100.0 1.3 4 168 0.3
    07-nov-94 91229 844 98.0 98.0 96.3 13.5 14 47 1.0
    05-dec-94 147145 1257 99.5 99.4 98.5 3.8 9 74 0.4
    02-jan-95 42187 566 99.7 99.5 99.3 3.2 6 111 0.5
    30-jan-95 113564 2082 99.4 99.3 99.2 4.6 8 83 0.6
    27-feb-95 188990 909 98.1 97.9 95.7 14.3 30 22 0.5
    27-mar-95 166449 1216 98.5 98.4 95.9 10.7 14 47 0.8
    24-apr-95 119100 1318 99.1 99.6 98.9 2.6 3 223 0.9
    22-may-95 221417 1270 99.9 99.9 99.5 0.8 1 671 0.8
    19-jun-95 218061 697 97.1 95.1 98.3 32.9 12 53 2.7
    17-jul-95 129066 1317 100.0 100.0 100.0 0.0 0 - -
                       
    Total 1469611 12684 99.1 98.8 98.3 87.6 101 72 0.9
                       
    Total(93/4) 312878 5362 99.5 99.5 99.2 45.1 25 348 1.5
     (for Black)                  

    Convex Workload and Availability 1994/5

      Workload ---> Availability --->
                    Prime Time No. MTBI MTTR
    4 weeks Interactive Batch Total C'vex Ov'al Shift lost of Hrs Hrs
    ending Jobs Hrs Jobs Hrs Hrs % % % Hrs breaks    
    15-aug-94 1689 53 1497 935 989 100.0 100.0 100.0 0.0 0 - -
    12-sep-94 1308 42 676 575 617 100.0 100.0 100.0 0.0 0 - -
    10-oct-94 1568 46 891 594 640 100.0 98.7 96.4 8.7 1 663 8.7
    07-nov-94 1855 143 785 794 937 100.0 100.0 100.0 0.0 0 - -
    05-dec-94 1861 58 1050 1086 1144 99.9 99.9 99.6 1.0 2 336 0.5
    02-jan-95 1397 54 830 941 995 100.0 100.0 100.0 0.0 0 - -
    30-jan-95 1498 57 708 919 976 100.0 96.6 95.6 23.0 3 216 7.7
    27-feb-95 1616 68 1134 1171 1239 100.0 100.0 99.8 0.3 1 672 0.3
    27-mar-95 1542 39 975 1153 1192 100.0 100.0 100.0 0.3 1 672 0.3
    24-apr-95 1203 50 827 865 914 99.4 99.4 97.8 3.9 2 334 2.0
    22-may-95 1351 49 1095 1135 1183 100.0 100.0 100.0 0.0 0 - -
    19-jun-95 1453 35 943 1110 1145 94.3 94.3 96.7 38.6 2 317 19.
    17-jul-95 1363 32 876 1169 1201 100.0 100.0 100.0 0.0 0 - -
                             
    Total 19704 726 12287 12447 13173 99.5 99.1 98.9 75.7 12 722 6.3
                             
    Total(93/4) 21501 701 33530 14875 15577 99.8 99.7 99.3 26.7 8 1089 2.7

    MBTI=Mean Time Between Interruptions to users' service, from whatever cause.

    MTTR=Mean Time To Restore service to users.

    Availability:

    9. STAFF ESTABLISHMENT (as at 31-Jul-95)

    Alex Reid

           
    Director        
             
    Nicky Tomlin        
    Personnel Officer/Director's Secretary        
             
    Secretaries Reception      
    Lindsey Mills Jenny Aitken      
      Sarah Tomlin      
             
    SYSTEMS and OPERATIONS GROUP - Alan Gay, Group Manager & Deputy Director
             
    VMS Unix & Graphics Communications Network Hardware Operations
    John Thomason Bob Douglas   Gavin Litchfield Richard Saxton (25%)
    Section Manager Section Manager Julie Cook Section Manager Deputy Operations Manager
        Keith Lewis    
    David Hastings Graphics Roger Treweek Network Control Operations Controller
    Sheelagh Treweek Malcolm Austen   Geoff Lescott Bernard Martin
      Jeremy Martin   Pierre Ramsay  
          Andy Saunders Operators
    Geography Unix     Helen Allsworth
    Tonia Cope-Bowley Malcolm Beattie   Network Assistant Colin Bartlett
      Charles Curran   Jacqui Millward John Fernandes
    Molecular Biology Paul Leyland     John Howard
    Support Scotty Logan   Technicians Annie Martin
    Elizabeth Cowe     Geraint Roberts Ali-Akbar Rahimi
    vacancy     Andrew Tregear  
          Stephen Yoxall  
    Social Studies Faculty        
    Jonathan Watkins        
             
    USER SERVICES GROUP - Linda Hayes, Group Manager
             
    Applications Information Micros and Teaching Computing in the Humanities
        Publishing Carol Bateman Marilyn Deegan
    Glynis Baguley Steve Jones David Rischmiller Section Manager Section Manager
    Lou Burnard Robin Rees Section Manager
    Beth Crutch David Snowling   Gillian Flynn IT Support Officer
    Paul Griffiths   Micro Advisors Brevan Miles Stuart Lee
    Glynis Jones User Registration Nicolas Christie Dave Nickells  
    Dave Miles Jean Hicks John Mason Jane Littlehales Centre Coordinator
    Bill Phillips Andrina Holl Lynne Munro   Grazyna Cooper
    Dave Rossiter Christine Windridge   Learning &  
        Micro/Network Resource CTI Centre
      User Services Advisors Centre Michael Fraser
    Software & Media Assistant Ian Griggs Kate Pattullo Michael Popham
    Support Audrey Tomkins Peter Higginbotham    
    Jane Brown   Ian Plummer Network Support Research Projects
    Nicola Osborn Library Stuart Sharp Clive Rickett Alan Morrison
    Margaret Thompson Mary Franks     Chris Mullings
        Microprocessors Technical Typist Peter Robinson
        Steve Evans Liz Hussey  
        Adrian Lawrence   Admin. Secretary
          George Street Mari Gill
        Publishing Reception  
        Rob Hutchings Paul Duggan  
        Stephen Miller Emma Horne (YT)  
        Edwin Taylor    
             
    ADMINISTRATION GROUP - Keith Moulden, Administrator
             
    Administration Shop Print Room Cleaners Ancillary
    Tina Dick Richard Saxton (75%) Tony Hunter Jean Bunce Jimmy Gordon
    Ann Goudge Manager   Pam Honey  
    Judy McAuliffe (25%) Judy McAuliffe(75%)   Joy Mann  
    Doreen Perks Doreen Peters   Wally Towner  
      Elsa Smith      

    Staff Movements 1 August 94 to 31 July 95

    Staff Leaving Date Replaced by Date
           
    Vacancy (Info Services Support Officer)   Dave Snowling 26.09.94
    Vacancy (Asst Network Controller)   Andy Saunders 03.01.95
    Judith Thompson (Personnel Officer/Dir's Sec) 12.08.94 Nicky Tomlin 19.12.94
    Mark Watson (Computer Operator) 16.09.94 Holly Parton* 07.11.94
    Clare Walton (Computer Operator) 30.09.94 Ali-A Rahimi* 31.10.94
    Stuart Lee (Research Officer ) [transfer] 30.09.94 Mike Popham 17.10.94
    Tricia Massey (Admin Assistant) 04.11.94 Jenny Aitken (half time) 31.10.94
    Steve Gough (Computing Teaching Officer) 21.11.94 Brevan Miles 12.12.94
    Lorna Hughes (Research Officer CTI) 31.12.94 Mike Fraser 01.03.95
    Margaret Smith (Receptionist) 31.12.94 Sarah Tomlin 23.01.95
    Richard Saxton (Dty Operations Manager) [75% transfer] 31.01.95    
    Judy McAuliffe (Accounts Assistant) [75% transfer] 31.01.95    
    Holly Parton (Computer Operator) 05.05.95    
    Shirley Ray (Cleaner) 02.06.95 Vacant  
    Derick Carter (Computer Officer, Mol. Biology) 12.07.95 Vacant  
           
    New Positions Date    
           
    Scotty Logan (Unix Systems Administrator) 11.09.94    
    Stuart Lee (Humanities IT Support Officer) 01.10.94    
    Jane Brown (Site Licence Software Administrator) 03.10.94    
    Jonathan Watkins (IT Officer, Social Studies Faculty) 16.01.95    
    Richard Saxton (Shop Manager) 01.02.95    
    Judy McAuliffe (Assistant Manager, Shop) 01.02.95    
    Jean Hicks (User Registration Assistant)* 27.02.95    
    Stuart Sharp (p/t Network Server Management Assistant)* 24.05.95    
           
    * Temporary or limited-term appointments      

    10. MAIN EQUIPMENT INSTALLED at 31-Jul-95

    10.1 Central Computing Equipment:

    Vax: Digital VAX 6620 dual CPU, 384 MByte memory, 48 GByte disk space, 2 line printers; running VMS.

    Sable: Digital Alpha A2100/500, 3 CPUs, 1.125 GByte memory, 45 GByte disk space; running Digital Unix (OSF/1).

    Convex: Convex C220, dual CPU, 128 MByte memory, 3 GByte disk space; running Unix.

    HFS: 2@IBM RS/6000 R30, each with 4 CPUs, 512 MByte memory, sharing 160 GByte disk space, IBM model 3494 robotic tape library with 4@ 3590 tape drives, 13.1 Tbyte capacity; running AIX.

    10.2 Network Equipment:

    Gandalf: Starmaster asynchronous line switch with 2440 user and 900 computer lines.

    News: Sun Sparcserver 1000E and Sparcstation ELC (development).

    WWW: Digital DEC5000/240 and DEC5100 for backup.

    Mail: Sun Sparcserver10, 4/470, 4/330 (2 in operation, 1 for backup).

    FDDI & Ethernet: many bridges, routers, repeaters, terminal servers, switches, modems.

    Network Management: Sun Sparcserver10.

    Novell Servers: 6 486 PCs.

    Miscellaneous Network and Development Functions: Digital DEC5000/240, 3 DEC3400, DEC5500, Sun 4/110.

    10.3 Special Peripheral Equipment:

    Imagesetter: Monotype Prism PS Plus postscript imagesetter with up to 2400dpi resolution.

    Colour Laser Printer: Agfa XC305 400dpi Postscript printer/photocopier, output to A3 or A4 paper, or A4 transparencies.

    Plotters: Calcomp 1044 drum A0 pen plotter;

    Calcomp 5825 A0 electrostatic plotter;

    HP 7550A A4 pen plotter.

    Colour Scanner: Agfa Arcus Plus A4 colour scanner, connected to Mac Quadra 950, at up to 1200 dpi resolution(self-service).

    Bulk Laser Printer: OCE 6750PS postscript printer, 508 dpi resolution, 22 pages/min. duplex (self-service).

    10.4 Client Facilities:

    Data Centre, 2 South Parks Road: 4 "dumb" terminals, 2 graphics terminals, plotter and printer.

    Data Centre, 15 Banbury Road: 6 X-terminals, 4 "dumb" terminals, 2 graphics terminals, 1 plotter, 1 printer (& OCE).

    Learning and Resource Centre (LaRC), George Street: 10 486 PCs, 4 Mac IIcx, 3 Mac LCIII, 2 Mac LC475, 1 Mac Centris 650, 1 colour & 1 mono scanners, 2 dot-matrix & 2 laser printers. In second room: 10 486 PCs, 1 old PC, 1 VCR.

    Humanities Computing Centre: 7 Macs, 3 486 PCs, 1 "dumb" terminal, 2 laser printers, 1 bubble-jet printer, 1 videodisk player, 1 CD-ROM writer, 1 camcorder, 2 colour scanners, CD-ROM player.

    Teaching Rooms:

    LRA George Street: 25 486 PCs, 1 laser printer, 1 VCR, 2 overhead projectors, 1 projection panel;

    LRB George Street: 15 486 PCs, 1 mono scanner, 1 overhead projector, 3 Barco monitors;

    LRA Banbury Road: 15 486 PCs, 1 VCR, 2 overhead projectors, 1 projection panel;

    LRB Banbury Road: 15 PowerMac 6100/60, 1 laser printer, 2 overhead projectors, 1 projection panel.

    User Areas, 13 Banbury Road: 21 "dumb" terminals, 2 X-terminals, 7 486 PCs, 1 PowerMac 6100/60, 1 digitiser, 1 fiche reader (1 X-terminal, 3 PCs, 1 Mac and 2 "dumb" terminals reserved for OUCS use 10-4). In "Viewing Gallery": 2 PowerMac 6100/60, 1 Mac Quadra 950, 1 486 PC, 1 graphics terminal, 2 laser printers, 1 mono & 1 colour scanners.