The department provides its own facilities to its staff and graduate students. This allows us to change more rapidly with evolving technology in order to meet our own needs. Good technical support for both teaching and research is provided by a staff of four.
The facilities within the department fall into three main groups based on the platforms we support. The three platforms are Unix (mostly Linux and Solaris), Windows (mostly Windows 7), and Macintosh (Mac OS X). Despite the wide variety of machine types, all systems communicate and share resources via standard Internet protocols (TCP/IP over Ethernet).
The department’s Unix machines currently include several SPARC and many Intel or AMD-based servers and workstations by Oracle/Sun, Dell and IBM, running Linux or Solaris, as well as a number of desktops running Linux. Our network of Unix systems is seamlessly integrated using NFS, NIS, and SSH software. The Unix network includes a departmental file server, whose disk capacity is currently over 5 TB, with over 2 TB for user file storage. Our Unix server facilities also include login servers (AMD64-based servers running Linux and SPARC servers running Solaris), and a shared-memory multi-processor compute server cluster (5 Sun Fire X4600’s, each with 8 dual-core AMD64 processors and 32 GB of memory, running Linux).
The department and its staff support several labs with desktop systems running Microsoft Windows 7 Pro (or other versions), accessible by graduate students as well as senior undergraduates. Windows servers provide centralised accounts and file storage for these systems. Files on the UNIX server are also accessible on the Windows systems via Samba file sharing software.
The department also provides several Macintosh-type systems ranging from a lab of Intel-based iMac workstations to MacOS X Server systems. All of these machines are networked together, to provide networked file sharing between the Macs and other machines.
Print facilities include four networked PostScript laser printers, each capable of doing duplexed printing. Wide-carriage printing and document scanning are available on one of those printers; colour printing is available on another.
In addition to the departmental facilities, many research groups provide their own facilities, which may be administered by the department’s technical staff, or “self-adminstered” by the research group.