Duke ITAC - September 28, 2006 Minutes

DUKE ITAC - September 28 2006 Minutes


Sept. 28, 2006

Robert Wolpert, acting chair; Owen Astrachan, Pakis Bessias, Shailesh Chandrasekharan, Ken Hirsh for Dick Danner, Tracy Futhey, Michael Goodman, Güven Güzeldere, Rick Hoyle, Bob Newlin for David Jamieson-Drake, Julian Lombardi, Roger Loyd, Dan Murphy, Lynne O’Brien, Mark Phillips, Mike Pickett, Rafael Rodriguez, Molly Tamarkin

Guests:Victoria Szabo, ISIS; Iain Sanderson, DHTS; Yunliang Yu, Math; Kevin Davis, OIT; Jim rigney, Computer Store; Ginny Cake, OIT

Start time : 4:06

I. Review of Minutes and Announcements:

  • Tracy Futhey – EDUCAUSE is two weeks from now. People who are going will bring back reports. Get questions in now if you have any.

II. Early Observations and New Directions for ISIS – Victoria Szabo

Victoria Szabo – I am six weeks into my life here at Duke, so I will give you the sum of my observations. I think it’s good sometimes to hear from people who are coming in from the outside.
My most recent position was at Stanford, where I worked in academic technology and also worked with servers, databases and multimedia efforts. I did both the tech side and the academic side. I went to EDUCAUSE and MLA. I taught ways to teach with iPods and other mobile learning tools and methods, was on the CMS advisory board, Sakai, and taught about portfolios, writing program collaborations, information fluency.
So far, it’s neat to see that interdisciplinary is real at Duke. That’s one thing that drew me here. Of course I am at the Franklin Center, so it’s everywhere there.
Also, the boundaries between faculty and students are permeable, which promotes innovation and opportunities to transform the university culture.
There seems to be less of a distinction between craft and production. You can theorize about technology and you can do it and I think that’s a good thing. You’re really marrying the theory and the practice.
The technology infrastructure exists in multiple locations, so it’s somewhat decentralized, like it was at Stanford. I see many of the same potential issues. There’s dynamism, but how do you scale up when someone has a really good idea. Fortunately I’ve found people around who are willing to help.
Robert Wolpert – How did you find out who those people are?
Victoria – I knew Tim Lenoir already and I was on a panel with Lynne O’Brien, so I had a sideways way in. Also the people in the Franklin Center are very helpful. I think that I’ve been more on the tech side of things and I want to reach out to people.
At ISIS, there’s an emphasis on student collaboration, project-based learning, interdisciplinary to the max. I don’t know if that’s Duke or if it’s just ISIS.
Talking about ISIS, any time you’re thinking about information and how it gets transported we want to be involved, especially if you’re talking about between disciplines.
Our current initiatives – capstone projects, interactive maps. We’re talking about extending the map idea into Durham. We work on visualizations and simulations; we’re involved in visual studies and media studies. We also talk about intellectual property in a digital world. What does it mean to own something? We’re also interested in the Creative Commons, the fact that it’s almost impossible to keep control over media in this world.
We’re also talking about serious games. We can take advantage of the fact that so many students are so immersed in video games. We’re cohosting another podcast academy, this year with Monash University in Australia.
One thing I’m really trying to promote is dialog between all different levels, from students to faculty and staff.
The key themes I’m thinking about are vertical integration; horizontal integration, crossing discipline, school and course boundaries. We want to be able to build on what courses have done before. We’re also thinking about real and virtual spaces that are vital and intersecting. We’re very interested in collaboration and ongoing projects – design and process. We also recognize that writing is very fluid; and theory into practice is always the modus operandi.
The technology implications for what we’re doing, there will be an increasing need for multimedia project storage spaces and bandwidth. We’ll need secure tools and environments to sustain collaboration; the environment will only work if people feel safe in it. We need robust archiving to support project and design orientation. Networkability of systems – the database that’s over here needs to be able to talk to the one that’s over there; sustainable, open content management options to form unanticipated connections; databases everywhere, for students too; mobile technologies; active engagement with digital media, which of course presents fair use challenges. If you want to write a paper about a film you want to be able to annotate it without worrying about going to jail over it.

Shailesh Chandrasekharan – Is ISIS a department, in terms of can undergrads come and do a project?
Victoria – It’s a certificate program. Students can find ways to blend their major with the certificate program.

Robert – When ISIS was founded there was a faculty advisory board. The last year or two it’s met annually and it’s got much less of a role. Where do the ideas come from? Where does the leadership come from?
Victoria – ISIS just switched over to John Simon as the overriding body and part of that conversation has involved governance. My interest is in getting faculty together regularly. We haven’t done that yet this year, so mostly it’s been some faculty members doing the meeting, including Tim Lenoir.

Shailesh – Can you tell me more about how you plan to extend beyond boundaries?
Victoria – Information technology radiates outward. The question I want to ask is, to what advantage is this kind of certificate for any particular major? I’m hoping to get together with departments or teachers and see who’s doing this kind of thing. I’m also hoping to create some interesting groups. The department has become a little separated, with people doing different things. I’d like to see people be able to take the certificate and help their major.

Robert – The original goal was to get people in humanities who had some interest in technology, to let them add that element to their portfolios, and to get people in the sciences who had an artistic bent. We wanted to get them together. That has sort of ended. Is there any thought of trying to revive that?
Victoria – I don’t think it’s a naïve hope. One thing we’ve been talking about is the possibility of more team-taught courses. It’s intimidating to think about teaching information that’s out of your discipline, but if you have a partner you can divide things up by people’s specialties. We also have Tech Tuesdays and Visualization Fridays. We’re trying to think of themes that will interest people across the board.

Molly Tamarkin – There is a need for a consulting role that ISIS could have. You could say, here are some areas where ISIS could help get technology into a course. For example, serious games being supplied to a course that could benefit from that.
Victoria – People don’t know what they don’t know, so that’s kind of my role. If people have ideas to create those kinds of collaborations, let me know. I’m not sure what the culture is, should I hold an open lunch or should I go to people in small groups.

Robert – Either one of those works with different people.

III. Duke’s ORview Perioperative Web Portal – Iain Sanderson and Rafael Rodriguez

Rafael Rodriguez – Iain Sanderson is one of two physicians and a nurse who have responsibility for clinical practice. He’s an anesthesiologist. He and his team were recipients of the 2006 Computerworld Honors in Medicine awards, one of the top honors in medicine.
Iain Sanderson – I’m going to tell you about the software application and environment. It’s involved a lot of people in the last five or six years. I have to show slides of the perioperative environment at Duke so you can understand the application.
[Shows slides of the Duke Hospital perioperative environment] I was given the responsibility of putting perioperative information from six hospital sites into a single database. We wanted to implement point-of-care vendor systems, what’s the best way for entering information into schedules, getting all the resources into the right place. Then we needed to wrap those point-of-care systems with enterprise middleware and other home-grown functionality based on need. We wanted to integrate perioperative systems with other enterprise and local IT solutions, provide a high level of support, training and reporting infrastructure.
[Slides show various technology centers in the OR] There are three computers in the operating rooms: the anesthesiologist’s, which is for pumping gas and documenting everything; the nursing workstation, an intraoperative computer on the wall in the OR for documenting everything; also the surgical workstation where surgeons can pull up information. Next up, the new ORs, advanced intraoperative imaging, CT scans, MRI scans, big plasma screens.
The most fundamental thing about our systems is that we found that you could put information in, but it was hard to get information out. Nurses could put information in, but it was hard to use for academic and research purposes. So we needed to be able to get information in a secure way for our various uses.
We knew enough about their database to sort of “hack” into it and use it for our purposes. ORview started as a wrapper around a clinical system that allowed us to see what we wanted to see. This eventually became an integration layer among all the technology we use.
As an example, a preop screening application which takes cases from IDS, allergies from CDR, meds from CPOE and past surgical history from SIS.
Also, there is mobile access to anesthesia records and personal schedules on PDAs and tablet computers. You can see the preop checklist, where they are in the preop area, which operating room they’re in. It’s a big patient safety measure. It also has broadcast alert messages about patients with specific issues, like diabetes, that everyone really needs to know about.
[Shows a movie that’s an overview created for the award]
Iain – A tool like ORview is used to dynamically assign beds. Beds aren’t always available when someone walks into the hospital; it’s a dynamic process.

Shailesh Chandrasekharan – What’s the probability of error? There are so many things going on here. Have you seen any problems?
Iain – Once programming takes over there is little chance for error. We could associate the wrong patient with the wrong view. That’s only happened once and the error was identified very easily and quickly. That’s a feature of the hardness of our code. Documenting on the wrong patient and people pulling up the system and documenting on the wrong system is a two or three week occurrence. It’s a human error.

Güven Güzeldere – Do you have statistics on what kind of gains this has provided? For instance, dynamic allocation of beds, does it allow you to have more patients?
Iain – It saves 10 minutes per patient.

Robert Wolpert – The hardware associated with this is nice when it’s new, but not after a few years.
Iain – The vendor systems age quickly. ORview is a web application and it lives on the web so people can access it however they need to. The servers are middleware.

Molly Tamarkin – How do vendor systems change?
Iain – They don’t change very much. There are some programming things you can do to make changes with code insulated. What ORview does do is allow us to continue to have these applications and maintain cohesive views to the end user. The vast majority of people didn’t know changes have been made when vendor changes things.

Molly – The mobile devices – what’s the protocol for making sure they get wiped or they’re secure if one gets lost.
Iain – We’re using secure socket applications from client to middle tier. There is no persistent data on any device.

Robert – Is there a built-in audit trail? Does it record errors and corrections.
Iaian – In all systems, there are three levels – authentication, role-based and the communication with secure sockets, and under that is audit, are you looking at what you need to be looking at. The biggest issue is who is checking? We have a semi-intelligent application that spits out that this person isn’t a practitioner and looked at that case.

IV. dCal Calendar Pilot in Arts & Sciences and Mathematics – Molly Tamarkin and Yunliang Yu

    1. It’s cross-platform which is great for Linux shop.
    2. One thing that’s lacking is overlay support. If you could overlay the university academic calendar or holiday calendar, that would be really cool.
    3. We tried to create a departmental calendar. Right now have to add users one by one, so it would be great if you could automatically update the data with new faculty and staff. That would save us lots of time.
    4. Synchronizing with PDAs. In Linux the synchronization doesn’t exist. We found better software that will work with wireless devices and other older devices. Costs about $25 apiece. That will make the calendar platform-independent and make the job easier.
  • Molly Tamarkin – Math piloted this about a month ago, so Dr. Yu is going to talk about it. Math wasn’t using any centralized calendaring so there weren’t any migration worries. Also Math is a Linux job, so that was a new platform. We piloted with OIT’s help and Dr. Yu stepped into the fire.
    Yunliang Yu – It’s going really well, actually better than anyone expected. Over the years we have tried other open-source software and couldn’t find one we liked. Plus this has the added benefit of university support. We had all the support. We told people how to use it. The process was smooth. We did the homework. We didn’t have a server to start with. In the process we ran into one or two problems and we found solutions. One thing is importing info from other software. Oracle and Linux used slightly different things, so we created scripts to use.  
    From talking to users here’s a list of suggestions:

    Molly – There’s been interest in self-provisioning. The suggestion on how to make this more automatic is a good one.
    As for the bigger implementation across A&S, as dCal becomes available across the university, those who aren’t using Meeting Maker will be able to self-provision. But those using Meeting Maker will be a problem so we need to handle this carefully. Good communication, making sure people understand what’s happening with their data, also the technical component with how Meeting Maker is going to work. OIT has been helpful in working with Oracle because it’s not the simple solution we were hoping for. There was a device to make it work, but that was for an earlier version of Meeting Maker. Oracle has been interested in fixing the problem and has looked at our export files and tried to make it work. It worked with a small group of export files, but not a larger group. Hopefully we’ll figure that out in the next couple of weeks.
    Some staff assistants in A&S are huge Meeting Maker users and we need to have their support. So until we have all people on board we don’t feel comfortable giving a migration date. We think we’ll have some information soon and we’ll be able to announce a date.
    We’re also hosting the Nicholas School Meeting Maker information.
    I think what’s hard is that for some people this will change the way they do their work and it’s important to have their support. When they ask what are the advantages, it’s hard because some of the advantages are from the IT perspective. It’s easier from the IT side. The real advantage to the user is that the more people who are using the system the better. We can schedule meetings and resources easier. And the software works well and it’s attractive.

    Shailesh – Is there a difference if the whole department makes the change or if just a few different people use it?
    Molly – If you’re used to scheduling with a tool then it’s good. It could be just a staff assistant using it with the resources.

    Tracy Futhey – I heard something at a CSG meeting that I hadn’t heard before that sounded scary – because of the time changes in the spring, there’s a train wreck coming. There needs to be a synchronization of the server and every single client.
    Molly – It’s based on an act of Congress. The Daylight Savings Time switch is going to create some real problems.
    Kyle Johnson – One thing that isn’t clear is that if you’re not scheduling across time zones you won’t have a problem. You have to update the server and all the clients at exactly the same time.
    Tracy – That’s coming in spring ’07.
    Robert – We’ll keep an eye on this and watch it unfold. Repeating and recurring events is a problem for many of us, and it’s lots better in iCal than in dCal.
    Molly – You can change those events. The bigger question is using the iCal standard and I know that Michael is very active in that effort.

    Tracy – There’s been a lot in the wish list we haven’t gotten into.

    V. Duke Student Computing Trends -- Jim Rigney and Kevin Davis

Kevin Davis – This is a short update. Basically no news is good news. Case numbers were almost identical, about 10 percent to 15 percent up from last year. I understand from Student Affairs the most popular questions they got were about air conditioning in dorms and wireless Ethernet. Spyware and virus on machines coming in were very low. Students seemed to be much more savvy with security.

Jim Rigney – I put together a graph showing TAP sales from 1999 to 2006. [Shows slide of graph] All the vendors had a good year this year. The notebook of choice was 14-inch-wide screens. Overall it went well. The numbers on East Campus were steady, about 500 on East Campus. We would like to increase that. We’re looking at whether we’re interested in doing more mail-order/shipping. We don’t know if we want to have machines come to campus broken or with viruses.
[More slides, including TAP repairs] 141 repairs, including 82 electronic failures and 59 user-induced problems. The keyboards are just abused. These kids are abusing them. Keys missing, breadcrumbs. Spills are always catastrophic because of the keyboard, logic board, hard drives. There’s more packed in there so spills are terrible.
On another note, Lenovo announced battery recall today.

Mike Pickett – Have general bookstore sales of computers gone up or down?
Jim – They’re up.

Kyle Johnson – Are we doing anything to reach out to students about battery recalls?
Jim – We’ve got some serial numbers and other information.

Tracy Futhey – I commend you for pricing. An editorial at UNC talked about how abysmal their program is with one vendor. There was lots of reference there in comparison to Duke. My favorite quote was, “Since when does anything at Duke cost less than UNC?”

Jim – We may start looking at things with imaging.

Tracy – The TAP program, turnaround time, changes we made a couple of years ago to the program, has it been all quiet?
Jim – Yes, the vendors provided the loaners we needed.

Robert Wolpert – What’s the current turnaround time?
Jim – We try to turn our notebooks in 24 hours. That depends on whether I can get parts. Sometimes it’s 48 hours.

Kevin – This fall is a data gathering time for staff support and student support. Those discussions are happening in Julian’s area.

VI. CSG and ACC-CIO Meeting update – Mike Pickett and Tracy Futhey

Mike Pickett – We had a workshop on managing desktop environments. They’ve done a good survey of the schools and there’s a wide array. Only one school had 100 percent lockdown environments for desktop environments. Lockdown means there are total standards on what’s purchased, no local admin IDs for the users, software was fully patched; controlled out the wazoo. It seemed outrageous to me. We had the Jabber chat room up and there was a lot of, “Oh, right.”
The survey reported that most universities thought you couldn’t fully manage a lockdown because the needs are so diverse and it’s difficult to give the satisfaction and flexibility that people want.
Also they said 60 percent of institutions were doing things to make sure different environments were available with different applications. Some folks were doing things with Sunray and trying to keep a straight face. It could be the future, thin-client environments, and we’re not too unhappy about that. So it’s not too far away to think we’ll see some part of thin clients.
Rafael Rodriguez – The definition of thin-client is different than it used to be. The notebook gets better and there’s less persistent data.

Mike – One managed feature, 10 percent of schools had remote data wipes for compromised laptops. They basically put a bomb inside computers for if the computer gets lost. It’s worthwhile for certain faculty and staff computers.
We spent a good bit of time talking about security and the cost of security incidents – $2 million to $4 million for losses of data, privacy losses. We were talking about risk management, but the loss of productivity is a huge risk and cost. A lot of folks are doing self-registration of Mac addresses and other prescreening for viruses. Most are doing patches.
Stanford had an interesting issue for firewalls. They are putting firewalls around data centers, but also encouraging departmental firewalls. I think firewall a data host, but they seemed to be pretty firm.
Also collaboration and team science – email lists, buddy lists, video conferencing, shared calendaring. There was lots of talk about science. The things that seemed to be common about these shared science collaboratives across institutions were that they required a lot of standardization, there’s not a good multiplatform setup that people were comfortable with.
At the ACC meeting, Florida State was offering a storage net at $15 per Gb. You can get your data backed up locally and it’s automatically backed up at Georgia Tech, too.

End time : 5:30