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IT Connect

Information technology tools and resources at the UW

December 4, 2017

Instructors: What will you do when your classes can’t meet?

cars covered in snow

Take the readiness quiz and check out technology recommendations on how to conduct your class and communicate with your students when University operations are affected by outages, severe weather or other disruptions. The technology toolkit covers four areas: putting course materials online, remote access to important resources, established channels of communication with and between your students, and how to conduct class online.

November 30, 2017

Students discover the power of scientific supercomputing to advance their research

Laurel Marsh with simulation of wind turbine on computer screen using Hyak

UW doctoral students Laurel Marsh and Whitney Thomas are discovering the advantage that a supercomputer like Hyak can bring to their research.

They are among 13 students enrolled in Pramod Gupta’s scientific supercomputing course, Astronomy 598, designed to introduce graduate students to Hyak, the UW’s on-site shared cluster supercomputer, supported by UW Information Technology (UW-IT).

Colorful cryo-electron microscopy image of human infecting coronavirus

Hyak was used by Lexi Walls, a PhD candidate in the Department of Biochemistry, to determine the structure of the spike protein of a human coronavirus pictured here. Photo: Lexi Walls and Melody Campbell.

“While supercomputing was once reserved for a few branches of science such as physics and astronomy, that is no longer the case,” said Gupta, a research scientist with the UW Department of Astronomy. “It’s common everywhere.”

Gupta has taught the course for the past three years, and he recently presented a talk on the course at the international Supercomputing 2017 conference held in Denver in November.

Students in his course come from a variety of backgrounds, ranging from fields in the College of Arts and Sciences, the College of Engineering, the College of the Environment and the School of Medicine.

Laurel Marsh, a PhD student the Department of Mechanical Engineering, is using Hyak to investigate the speed of the water flow in front of and behind a submerged turbine, the kind that could be used to capture tidal energy in the ocean or rivers for renewal energy. Only, to take advantage of this source of energy, researchers need to understand the fluid mechanics of the water flow.

Laurel Marsh with simulation of water flow on Hyak

Laurel Marsh, PhD student, Department of Mechanical Engineering

She depends on Hyak to build and validate a computer model of water flow around the turbine. The model is a three-dimensional mesh grid made up of six million cells. Hyak runs through thousands of iterations as the model simulates a rotating turbine and how the turbine extracts energy from the water flow. Hyak speeds through these calculations, attaining a level of precision that would otherwise be impossible said Marsh.

Whitney Thomas, a PhD student in the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics, is studying the potential for plasma – a gaseous state of matter composed of charged particles that interact strongly with electromagnetic fields – to harness microwaves for a variety of uses, including wireless communication and radar cloaking. She is using Hyak to simulate the behavior of a plasma photonic crystal application that can control microwave frequencies. Hyak runs computer algorithms developed in the UW’s Computational Plasma Dynamics Lab, which does not have an individual allocation on Hyak. Because these computationally intense algorithms depend on parallel supercomputers, Thomas gets access to Hyak through the student-led High Performance Computing Club.

Whitney Thomas with computer model on Hyak

Whitney Thomas, PhD student, Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics

Any student — undergraduate or graduate — can gain access to the Hyak supercomputer by joining the High Performance Computing Club. The Student Technology Fee has awarded nearly $800,000 in funding to the club for access to Hyak and storage space on lolo, a shared central file system for research archives.

“Using a supercomputer for scientific computing is very different from using a desktop or laptop,” said Gupta, “and there is a learning curve for using Hyak.”

“There are a lot of Harry Potter-like spells that you need to know so that you can tell the supercomputer what to do,” he said.

Students in the course learn how to use the supercomputer effectively. They learn how to request nodes through the scheduler, and how to do parallel computing by dividing their scientific computation so that all of the supercomputer’s processors are used.

“After the course, the students can use Hyak to enable and speed up their research and make new discoveries while they are at UW,” Gupta said. “Moreover, since Hyak is very similar to the largest supercomputers in the world, the students can also use these skills after they graduate from UW.”

November 29, 2017

Submit application for free UW video captioning

Bergstrom and West: Calling B.S. in the Age of Big Data talking about why they captioned their lectures

You can apply to have your UW video captioned by UW-IT’s Accessible Technology Services for no charge, making it more accessible to everyone. Eligible videos must be widely available and used multiple times. More than 450 videos from UW departments and units have already been captioned for free, totaling over 140 hours. To learn more about why captioning is important, watch the video, Making Videos Accessible.

November 28, 2017

VeriCite checks papers for plagiarism

student with laptop studying in the university library

VeriCite is a service available in Canvas that checks student papers for plagiarism. The service compares student papers with sources available on the internet, commercial article databases and papers submitted at the UW. Instructors can set up plagiarism review on a per-assignment basis in Canvas, and students can review the results.

November 22, 2017

MyUW: Find your UW

Students standing in front of the W

MyUW provides easy access to UW’s online resources. Learn how MyUW is personalized to you. View Husky Card and tuition balances, registration reminders, course details (including time and days of the week), exam schedules, grades and a link to the campus map to find classrooms.

November 21, 2017

Laying the groundwork for a more diverse population at UW and beyond

Students working together

Learn how AccessEngineering, AccessComputing and the DO-IT Center maximize the potential of people with disabilities in academic programs and encourage accessibility, universal design, and inclusivity in curriculum and instruction. Among their activities is a holiday toy hack event at UW Seattle where engineering students learn how to reconfigure toys to make them more accessible for children with disabilities. In the summer, high school students design, build and test assistive robots during a week-long robotics camp through the DO-IT Scholars summer program.

November 17, 2017

Reminder: Record Thanksgiving as Holiday Time Off in Workday

Thanksgiving background with chalkboard. Autumn pumpkin and fall

Most UW employees need to sign into Workday and record that they are taking the day off on an official UW holiday. This applies to staff and librarians who accrue time off and who would normally work on the day on which the holiday falls. However, Department of Intercollegiate Athletic coaches and academic personnel (faculty, residents and fellows and other academic staff) do not need to track time off for holidays in Workday. Medical Centers employees report time off for holiday hours in Kronos. Review the quick guide and full user guide for time off, and check out related information on the Time Off page of the Integrated Service Center website.

November 16, 2017

Protect your wireless-enabled devices with these security tips

Wi-Fi secured with a key and lock

UW’s wireless network is designed for secure, seamless access to online resources. But your device — be it a computer, phone, printer — may still be vulnerable. UW-IT and the Office of the Chief Information Security Officer recommend the following best practices:

  • Use secure protocols (e.g., https: in your web browser).
  • Always apply security updates to your operating system.
  • Keep your anti-virus software up to date.
  • Use your computer’s built-in secure firewall.
  • Use Husky OnNet to securely connect to the UW network when off campus.
  • Do not install a departmental or “do it yourself” Wi-Fi access point. These are prohibited, can affect the performance and security of the UW’s Wi-Fi infrastructure, and can be vulnerable to an attack.
  • Turn off the wireless card in printers if not connecting to the UW’s Wi-Fi network.

November 15, 2017

High tech, huge bandwidth support innovation at GIX’s new Steve Ballmer Building

Inside the GIX building

Students in the technology innovation degree programs at the new Global Innovation Exchange (GIX) building are supported by a super-fast, high-bandwidth computing network, thanks to early coordination between GIX, UW Capital Planning and Development, and UW Information Technology. Students in these programs will imagine, design and build smart, connected devices that tackle some of the world’s most pressing issues – from climate change to chronic disease.

November 14, 2017

Use MyPlan to track required courses and credits

MyPlan DARS screenshot on a mobile phone

How many classes do you have left to complete your degree? Check out MyPlan’s Degree Audit Reporting System (DARS) to stay on top of required credits and courses and to track your progress. DARS reports are now personalized, with your declared major at the top of the selection list for fast and easy access. Haven’t declared your major? Use DARS to explore majors and minors listed by UW campus.

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