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NEWS

Published by and for University Information Technology Services April 11, 2012

Additional benefits of on-prem include: • Improved Apple Macintosh and Linux experience • Full Outlook for the web with improved cross browser compatibility and improved feature set • On campus support and issue resolution • Faculty, Staff and Retirees all on same system

May 19 Selected for UAConnect On-prem The weekend of May 19-20, 2012, has been confirmed as the date when the UAConnect team will move campus central email accounts to the new on-premises (onprem) systems. With the date now selected, the UAConnect and Communications teams are quickly ramping up to make the transition as smooth as possible for faculty and staff. On March 24, over 600 mailboxes were moved to the new system in a pilot project. Account holders in UITS and the College of Fine Arts have been successfully using the on-prem system since Monday, March 26. Based on the pilot project, the teams are fine-tuning the process and communications for the campus-wide switch. The May 19-20 date was selected only after consultation with the campus IT staff and community representatives. Moving to on-campus servers will give UITS a greater ability to offer

On May 21, 2012, campus email accounts will be hosted on new on-prem Exchange servers and available through Outlook Web App (OWA). services customized to the unique requirements of a Research One university. By utilizing on-campus servers for Microsoft’s email and calendaring system, UITS can minimize changes to users while providing flexibility in configuring and customizing our deployment. This will also allow local control over security, features, and performance.


Research Computing Grand Opening Video Now Available

In our last issue of UITS News (March 23, 2012), we reported on events celebrating the Grand Opening of the new Research Computing Data Center.

A video compilation of the grand opening events is now available on the new Research Computing website, rc.arizona.edu. Also on the website are descriptions of some of the cutting edge research being conducted on campus using Research Computing resources. (Also see Research Computing Brings the Universe to the Desktop, in this issue)

Dr. Leslie Tolbert and CIO Michele Norin cut the ceromonial ribbon to open the Research Data Center in the video now posted on the RDC’s website bit.ly/rdc-grand-open

New Faces at UITS Please welcome three new co-workers, Gabe Quiroz , Katie Shearman and Wayne Peterson. Gabe is Manager, UAccess Financials Business Analysis. Katie joined us on March 5 to serve as the Administrative Associate for Hank Childers and Frank Feagans. Wayne started just last week on April 2nd as Assistant Director of Web/Mobile Services. Stop in and say hello. Gabe has made his new home Room 112. Katie is working on the 2nd floor in room 225, while Wayne is just one flight above in room 312. We’re happy to have them and congratulate them as new additions to the UITS team.

Gabe Quiroz

Katie Shearman

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Wayne Peterson


Research Computing Brings the Universe to the Desktop With its ability to analyze trillions of numbers and repeatedly perform massive calculations, the Research Data Center facilitates cutting edge exploration in many disciplines at UA. A glance skyward on a clear night reveals a multitude of shining stars splashed across the heavens in every direction. Scientists now estimate the universe holds about 100 sextillion (1 followed by 23 zeros!) stars arranged in billions of galaxies. Presumably, many stars have planets in orbit, adding to the number of space objects by factors limited only by the imagination. And there is another lesser-known, but very important resident of outer space: dust. Brant Robertson is an authority on space dust. Peering 13 billion light years through space and time, Dr. Robertson can determine what a space dust cloud is made of and how it is moving.

“When we look at the universe, we are only looking at one instant in time compared to the very large time scales over which the universe evolves,” he says. “We’ve only had detailed telescopes for a few hundred years, so we’ve only witnessed a tiny sliver in time of the history of the universe.” To visualize how space dust swirls to form stars that live and die over billions of years, Dr. Robertson turns to the University’s Research Computing Data Center (RDC). Using hundreds of processors and massive amounts of memory, he creates simulations of space dust turbulence. As he demonstrates a video animation of billowing wisps set against a black background, he explains, “This is a simulation of an entire galaxy over a billion years compressed into just a few seconds.” Dr. Robertson estimates the simulation is comprised of at least 10 trillion calculations. “We divide this galaxy into millions of individual cubes of volume, each filled with thousands of data points. Then for each instant in time we have to run the same calculations over and over on each point.

Dr. Robertson is an astrophysicist and Assistant Professor in the Department of Astronomy at the University of Arizona. His research interests include theoretical topics of galaxy formation, dark matter, hydrodynamics, and numerical simulation methodologies. His current work studies turbulence in space and why space dust sometimes evolves into a star.

We could never do such intensive calculations without resources like the Research Data Center.” Dr. Robertson easily connects to the RDC through his desktop computer, “It’s just like having a super computer sitting on your desk,” he laughs. By harnessing the power of the RDC, Dr. Robertson can now create visuals with far more detail than ever before. “These are cutting edge numerical simulations and we can do them locally, right here across the street.” And having staff to maintain the RDC is another advantage, “It lets me concentrate on the science instead of worrying about the computers.” Later this year, Dr. Robertson will join a team to peer deeper into the Universe than ever before using the Hubble Space Telescope. If all goes as planned, he will see light from the birth of the very first galaxies in the universe, nearly 13 billion years ago. “As humans we don’t get the chance to experience the universe that is so far beyond our ability to conceptualize time and distance on such a vast scale. This is fantastical.” More information on Dr. Robertson’s research, including his simulation animations, is available on his website, brown.as.arizona.edu/~brant/ Site/HOME.html.

Pillers of star-forming gas and dust swirl in the Eagle nebula. Page 3


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Spotlight on: Lucy Carruthers Lucy has been involved with computers since her first hands-on computer time during a summer job at General Motors. She was very grateful for that chance encounter, as her college did not yet have a single computer. She then went on to learn more and use computers throughout her studies. Lucy earned a BA in Chemistry from Swarthmore College and a MS and PhD in Theoretical Chemistry from Rutgers University. Lucy has been a High Performance Computer consultant at UA for 25 years this month. In her role, she helps faculty and researchers best utilize Research Computing resources. She specializes in programming and debugging applications in High Performance Computing. She also helps people with engineering codes such as Abaqus and Ansys, math tools like Matlab and Mathematica, and TeX and LaTeX. However, achieving this level of experience and skill did not come easy. During her education and early working years, she was often one of the only women working in her field. While she says it was an advantage to be the only woman in an otherwise all-male physics class, she did face challenges in the work place. Fortunately, she joined a three-person team studying the

physics of nuclear weapons. Highly unusual for the time, the team was two thirds female! That began a 15-year career at Los Alamos National Laboratory doing classified work on nuclear weapons and reactors. The laboratory is one of the largest science and technology institutions in the world. It conducts multidisciplinary research in fields such as national security, space exploration, renewable energy, medicine, nanotechnology, and supercomputing. It was Lucy’s work with supercomputers that lead her to UA in 1987. The University had acquired a mini-supercomputer, the SCS40. “It used the same language as the supercomputers I used at Los Alamos so I was able to walk in the door and immediately put it to work,” she recalls. Coincidentally, Lucy’s mother had attended UA starting in 1922. While Lucy has been part of amazing leaps in computer technology, she eagerly clutches her newest “toy,” an Apple iPad. Is there a comparison between the iPad and the cutting edge supercomputers she worked on decades ago? “The amazing thing about this is how many, many things it can do. The supercomputers could only do one thing at a time. The iPad is so much more than even the best computers back then,” she says.

Lucy Carruthers, High Performance Computing Consultant Where does Lucy see the next leap in technology? “Everything you use will be interwoven with everything else. Your house, your car, your work, your handheld device-everything!” Until that day, Lucy continues to enjoy walks with her Australian Shepherd, Arthur. “We live in such a beautiful area, it’s nice to get out an enjoy it,” she adds. Lucy’s office is on the first floor of the Computer Center, just three doors down from the University’s new Research Computing Data Center.

Next Geeks Gather & Gab Wednesday April 18 • 11am • Room 303

UITS News April 11, 2012  

• Improved Apple Macintosh and Linux experience • Full Outlook for the web with improved cross browser compatibility and improved feature se...

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