Duke ITAC - June 14, 2007 Minutes

DUKE ITAC - June 14, 2007 Minutes

ITAC minutes


June 14, 2007


Start time: 4:07




Tracy Futhey – Bill Cannon, joined us four days ago as senior manager of News and Information. He will have broad responsibility for communicating to the campus and outside of Duke about technology activities that are under way. Bill will probably be a regular participant at these meetings to have a good understanding what’s happening. He comes to us from Pacific Northwest National Labs, where he was communicating research news around technology. He also has extensive experience before that in other university environments.

Bill Cannon – I’m looking forward to working with everyone and it’s great to be here.

Tracy – Stephen Toback will be senior manager of Interactive Technology Services, which is roughly translated to mean the Web and other new and emergent services. He starts July 2. He comes from Walt Disney, where he was a developer providing tech support to animation studios.

Tracy – We went forward with a project that this group doesn’t know about, enhancing cellular coverage on West Campus.  We have18 buildings slated to begin in July. It’s the beginning of what will be a routine reassurance that your service will continue to be upgraded. Basically it’s the same approach that’s been used in CIEMAS.

Agenda Item 1 – Update on Data Centers, Pat Driver

Pat Driver – I think the last time you received an update was from Dr. Trask. There was a plan for Fitzpatrick and we started construction three weeks ago. It’s moving along expeditiously. We’re cutting five days off the end of the schedule, to Dec. 10. We hope we can move it even sooner than that.

As for some background on the room itself, the Uptime Institute has a tiering process. We’re trying to build a Tier 3 room. It’s 5,000 square feet, with 4,000 on a raised floor and 1,000 as a mechanical room. It’s on a 4-inch slab. If you go into the room, it’s pretty amazing.

The second phase has 7,000+ square feet that will be on a 30-inch raised floor. There are only chilled water lines beneath the floor. Everything else will come from overhead. This is the new way and adheres to the best practices for laying  out a computer room

I attended a seminar today to discuss best practices and we are right on track. Bovis is our contractor. They have experience building data centers. Dewberry is doing the work. They’re in the process of building one right now for the Secret Service in Washington DC

The fire suppression system will be Novak system. There is a  water suppression system in the building, but it is  a delayed response system. The Novac gas system will release first  and if there’s an explosion, the water based  system will begin. We’re moving more to environmental friendly fire suppression systems that  dissipates quickly.

For HVAC, there are seven 35-ton CRAC (computer room air conditioners)  units. . There’s n+1 redundancy in the data center, so we can take one down and do maintenance – that’s very different.than today.


The chilled water will be redundant as well. There’s only one chilled water plant and feed now, but we are building another that’s redundant. All CRAC units will use  chilled water. And the water piping will be behind the crack units under the floor so it won’t create any obstruction  under the floor.

It’s 11.3 feet from floor to ceiling.

It’s going to house 167 racks. Two 750 kVA UPS’s will be fed from two substations on campus. It will get electricity from the building to support one and the other from the steam plant to support , so the power feeds are from 2 substations.giving redundancy.

The work is running in three phases. We’ve gone through the halls and taken down ceilings to put in pipes and installed hangers. We have to penetrate the walls and they’re 36 inches thick. So the infrastructure and network is coming through the holes. Right now we’re allowing enough piping to do the whole 12,000 feet, not just the first 5,000.

The other thing is that we passed inspection this morning. They put down rebar on the floor and poured our first 7,000 feet of concrete. So we’re through with the jack hammering.

John Board – What is the tier scale?

Pat – It’s from 1 to 4, and we’re at upper 3.

Tracy Futhey – We’re bringing in a second network loop.

Pat – We’re having a second loop from the French Sciences side.

Tracy – It’s got different conduits, so there’s no single point of contact. Much is super-sized, mostly because of heightened requirements coming from the health center.

Pat – The health center says they’re tearing down Bell in August of ’08, so this will help them.

Robert Wolpert – Is the cooling enough for high-density computing?

Pat – Right now we’re building for enterprise. There was a limitation as far as us getting power that was available today and that’s where the limitation came in.

John – Is this going to suck up any OIT services, or is it new room for expansion?

Pat – We will be moving things from the North Building. We’re also doing virtualization, downsizing hardware and getting rid of older stuff that’s eating up more power.

Billy Herndon – We have some things to move out of Bell also.

Robert – Does the health system have long-term plans?

Tracy – We, together with them, have the central campus center in our sights.

Billy – The goal is, rather than they have one and the university has one,

to have one tier 3 and later maybe have one off site.

Agenda Item 2 –. Intro to and demo of Second Life – Victoria Szabo

Victoria Szabo – I’ve been becoming a local expert on Second Live, but I’ve only done it a couple of months. I’ve worked with people in CIT and other parts of campus, so the conversations are just getting started.

[Begins demonstration] What is Second Life? It’s 3D persistent immersive networked virtual work, 3D space where you have an avatar and you can run around in an open space.

Why? Millennial student learning preferences educationally sound teaching practices. Learn by doing, project-based work, communicative and collaborative, constructivist and scaffoldable.

Why Second Life in particular?

  • Free avatars and education and future open-sourcing clients.
  • Relatively easy to use, especially if you’re younger can go in and explore easily. No pressure
  • Lots of world space and content there.
  • Large user base and sharing and collaboration. You can create stuff and people can use it pretty easily.
  • Commitment to education and future of open-sourcing of servers.

How to get started: Create an avatar at secondlife.com. Edit the avatar’s appearance. Then just start exploring.

Exploring: Use search button, click Places and start. Type in search of your choice.

Educational uses: Museum or gallery models; hybrid spaces; recreating a building or space and putting something in it.

Hybrid spaces are something I’m interested in, so you can create a space and open a door and you are in Victoriaworld or something like that. A lot of campuses have talked about recreating the campus.

Lectures and social gatherings; self-guided tutorials, where you wander around from place to place so there’s a path to follow.

Question – Is it all synchronous?

Victoria – Yes.

Museums and galleries: It uses the image import feature. You’re not going to have an archive of spectacular images. You’ll have a small image that’s a reference for something else. Museums and galleries are often based on real-world architecture.

Tracy Futhey – When I import an image, there’s nothing proprietary about the type of image that I import?

Victoria – No, it can be jpeg or bitmap, etc. I think it turns it into a bitmap though.

Example Museums and Galleries

Lynn Hershman’s L2 project.

ISIS Nasher Museum

International Spaceflight Museum

Lectures and social gatherings; The New Media Center has them. They use it as a place to chat and used Web-based conferencing tools alongside that.

Preview of Hershman’s documentary film “Strange Culture” in Second Life at Sundance Film Festival.

Robert Wolpert – Are clients available for all the usual architectures?

Victoria – Yes. Mac and Windows. I think there’s a Linux client.

John Board – There is a Linux client, Alpha.

Victoria – It also has a few other things. For self-guided tutorials, go to Orientation Island, where you first start. You also can see the Linden Script Tutorial Exhibition, which has scripts to copy and use.

Under Experiments, there are virtual hallucinations at UCSD, which show you what it’s like to be schizophrenic, changes your auditory and visual perception as you go along.

Someone did torture experiments. This summer we will do economic/neurobiological experiments here.

Tracy – In this case, ISIS and neurosciences will give out money. It’s a collaboration that has limited funding.

Robert – How much real money goes through this?

John Board – There were $1.6 million real dollars spent in last 24 hours. There are 7 million residents total, 1.7 million have logged on recently. 43,000 have logged on in the last 5 minutes.

Bill Cannon – These two examples, how large a pool did you have to choose from?

Victoria – There is a lot going on. If you look at secondlife.com, there are wikis, education, lots of other things. The center for eLearning.

Dan Murphy – Cybrary, two islands where the American Library Association has joined other libraries and created islands of nothing but library collections that through the process will take you to the text of the book.

Robert – How onerous are the bandwidth requirements?

Victoria – You really want to have broadband.

Robert – From an institutional perspective?

John – It’s not a lot of bandwidth. Only as you move do new models have to be created.

[Victoria continues demonstration]

Question – Does someone, if they come up to you to talk, does their mouth move?

Victoria – No, you’re text chatting so it shows you text typing.

Robert – So there is no audio.

Dan – That is being experimented with.

Victoria – It has let you do QuickTime streaming.

[Victoria continues demonstration]

You can have a friends list, and groups.

Duke ISIS oasis, to the Gnasher. Buying an island is $950 a year, plus $150 a month for maintenance. You can buy a plot, or can sublet some land. We just transported the Nasher museum. We were looking at the history of video games.

Robert – Can you do things to hurt another person’s avatar?

Victoria – We hired a high school student who builds weapons and sells them in Second Life.

Lynne – Can you destroy other people’s property?

Victoria – Yes. That leads to the question of permissions. That leads to the “nothing can be done to it” place or the “we want it to be interactive” place. Then there are things like the Edwards campaign, the virtual feces throwing on that site. You can mess up other people’s stuff.

Tracy – There are online equivalents to the police, etc.

Dan – You can report it.

John – There’s a police blotter and sentences are typically account suspensions.

Lynne – If you build something and someone vandalizes it, can you get that back?

Victoria – No. People recommend making copies and putting them in your inventory. There are all sorts of ways that people are encouraged to handle that.

Dan – There have been lawsuits over loss of land in Second Life.

Victoria - ISIS and the Franklin Center are creating a space where if you wanted to you could watch all the events that happen in the Franklin space in Second Life.

Victoria – So think about how this can be pedagogically useful in a way that goes beyond the novelty factor. What are the implications of having a space like that? Is it feasible to have students get together for study after hours, or is that needlessly complicated. Does it provide access and make things available that otherwise would be inaccessible. For ESL, people all around the world could come here and have conversations in English. It’s open-ended at this point.

Tracy – There are other projects in CIT or Student Affairs.

Tim Bounds – In Student Affairs we have an area, too. It seems to be complementary, the classroom and out of classroom stuff. We have people in the orientation group trying to get a gathering of new students in Second Life. We have another student group that’s interested in the fall. In the official corner of the island we have a teaser for the Duke senior exhibit, and few pictures and photos. We hope to rotate that through. For the rest of the island we will let students come up with it. Some LBGT students will have a place to gather. There’s a lot of potential. One group is interested in nursing homes, so may create a nursing home that people can go through.

Robert – What about relations to Croquet.

Victoria – We are interested in Croquet because it allows you to do things in 3D so you can run applications in space. But it hasn’t been built out as a user tool yet. You have to know what you’re doing.

But in the longer term it’s probably more cool than what we’re able to do here. It’s also peer-to-peer setup, so there’s no one server. You’re dependent on other people in your space but the changes are incremental. It’s an interesting concept.

We’ve been thinking about, there’s an artist coming this year and he wants to do some media art, but he’s not sure if Croquet or Second Life is best. There’s a company called Quack that built a conference room where people can share the space. We’re pursuing that.

For really sophisticated renderings or highly programmable things, Croquet is the way to go. But this is an easy in to figure out what is being done, what can be done. But for now Second Life is the top of the line.

Victoria – I’m happy to help anybody. We’re also letting people get a little plot if they want.

Dan – You could run an instance of Second Life within a window of Second Life.

Victoria – That’s deep. I don’t know if I could handle that. It’s virtually virtual.

Agenda Item 3 – Introduction to Henry Cuthbert, associate university counsel

John Board – Henry Cuthbert joined Duke six weeks ago.

Henry Cuthbert – I came from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. I was there for 18 years as senior legal counsel. I covered technology issues, worked with the Division of Information Technology. I remember when the Internet was born.

The policies we drafted came in the early 90s. We weren’t quite sure what this Internet thing was and where it was going. We started drafting policies, most are still standing. We knew things were going to be changing, business would be changing. There was a move afoot in ’93 and ’94 to not allow students to use the Internet because we weren’t sure what they were going to do. But the policies were drafted accordingly.

The one area that they were struggling with, in a public institution, was the concept of security breach and how do you deal with that, state laws and all that. I also left them working on a regional optical network. There are RIAA issues, they have been a thorn in our sides for a long time. Even prior to them, with Napster, I dealt with that. That’s the knowledge I bring and the experience I bring to Duke. I’ve been working with Chris and some other people.

I think we have a lot on the table for us to work on. RIAA is probably going to be here for a while.

John Board – Second Life is in the same state that the Internet was 15 years ago. We’re probably going to be on the bleeding edge of the issues that come with that.

Henry – The beauty of it is, it allows you to be creative. You build on what you’ve done in the past. I just think it’s a beautiful time to be involved with this.

Agenda Item 4 – RIAA issues – Chris Cramer and Henry Cuthbert

John Board – Lawsuits have been filed for 28 IP addresses.

Chris Cramer – If you’ve read the N&O article, you may know more than I do. All I know is this: We have not received subpoenas. What I know is that Keith Lawrence emailed all of us and said the RIAA has said they’re going to sue 28 students.

On May 2 Duke received 35 settlement offers from RIAA. We had information on 13 of the offers. Those referred to 12 students. We did the middle-of-the-road thing, which was to forward these settlement offers to students and say we can’t give legal advice. So maybe seven of those students took advantage of those offers and five or six did not.

John – Did we tell them we don’t know about the others?

Chris – Yes. We told them the ones we didn’t know about. Presumably we will get subpoenas for those suits.

John – So some institutions are choosing to question the subpoenas. Who at Duke makes the call as to how we respond to those when we receive them? Ultimately it’s an executive decision.

Tracy Futhey – Prior to the notices we received in May we had seen the writing on the wall that this was likely to happen, so we had a discussion on this topic that included Dick Brodhead, Peter Lange, Tallman Trask, Pam Bernard, Kate Hendricks at that time. So there was an understanding of the issues at the highest level of the university and the questions of whether or not we should pass them along.

Presumably a different kind of body would be in discussions about how hard we want to push back.

Robert Wolpert – What are the elite universities doing?

Tracy – I haven’t heard of any of my colleagues challenging the subpoenas. Wisconsin has said they would not pass along the settlement offers.

Henry Cuthbert – Obviously a lot will go into the decision-making. But subpoenas are pretty powerful. When they come you can only decide if they’re valid. Once you decide that, you are compelled to respond. When it says jump, you don’t ask how high, you just do it. At Wisconsin when these things come in we see if they’re valid. If they are you pass them along and if they’re not we write back and say they’re not valid.

Chris – The last time we got a subpoena was two or three years ago. If you were to put me under oath I could not say that, given an IP address, that this actually was the student who did this action. There are number of uncertainties. The last time we faced a subpoena, I said this is the person who is registered in our system as having this address, but a number of factors enter into this.

Ken Hirsh – The strategy of RIAA is to get universities to stop these.

Henry – A lot of it is more like they’re fighting a losing battle. It’s a model that can’t be sustained. It’s the same argument as back in the mid-90s with Napster. We said we couldn’t do what they asked. This is like a leaking holes argument. You might want to find a different model, because it’s like whack-a-mole. I don’t know their motivation. The one thing you can count on is that they’ll keep coming after you.

Tracy – It is having an impact on how Ivys are viewing their use on campus. The policy for DMCA violations has changed. At Stanford, the first offense is disconnect and $100 fee. The second offense is $500 plus a letter to dean; the third offense is judicial action, plus $1,000 fee and indemnify Stanford against future violations.

 Chicago does that and puts it into a fund for scholarships.

Robert – Another option is like traffic school.

Statement – Copyright obedience school.

Tracy – It is having an impact on universities. Wisconsin says it won’t carry the water.

Robert – We should not be sniffing packets and seeing what others are doing.

Chris – At Stanford, there’s no due process, no assumption of innocence or that RIAA has made a mistake.

Tracy – The latest action is changing hands-off to more hands-on.

Henry – Institutions are deathly afraid that Congress is going to get involved. The way it’s set currently is that it’s weighed heavily in favor of recording industry. The institutions are less organized than RIAA. They have been providing the committee on Judiciary what I term as one-sided information on what higher ed is doing with respect to this issue.

In essence, what they want to do is to do away with a problem that is larger than the institutions. When students come here, they come with their problems, just like alcohol. For some reason RIAA is thinking that higher ed has the capacity, resources and wherewithal to solve this issue,

Tracy – And that it’s more important than any of the other issues.

John – Well, this is the problem of three people in this room, and the others just want to be kept posted.

End – 5:30.