Background and Responsibilities
The computer unit was formed in 1983 with the purchase of the first central computer and the establishment of a communication network connecting the terminals to the central computer. This was a joint computer with the Department of Computer Science. A staff of four engineers from both departments maintained it. Between 1983 and 1995 there was very rapid growth in the use of computers and computer networks for research as well as for teaching purposes, which led to a large increase in computer equipment requiring an upgrade of the existing systems to their maximum capacity.
During the academic year 1996-97 the department experienced a so-called “computer revolution”. The program was initiated by Prof. Y.Y. Zeevi, who was then Dean, and by Prof. D. Schieber, who assumed the overall academic responsibility for the departmental computer facilities; they were assisted in their effort by Mr. Or-Chen, the departmental administrator. Under their leadership a central departmental computer unit was established; in contrast to the previous years, this unit encompassed for the first time management of all the computers (teaching, research, administration) as well as of the relevant communication networks. This unit, managed from its inception by Ms. S. Fine, operates with a staff of five engineers. Further, there was heavy financial investment in the new communication network infrastructure and a very significant further increase, as well as improvement, in the department`s computer equipment; in addition, the central computer servers and the student PC farms were upgraded.
The academic year 1998-99 witnessed a considerable increase in undergraduate enrollment. This enlarged teaching and research activity required further heavy investment in upgrading the computer equipment, in establishing new computer farms and in upgrading the network in order to support the new communication technologies.
The responsibility of the Department includes software installation and updating, user registration and user connection to the departmental network, continuous updating of the department web site, all maintenance, computer purchasing and insurance. In particular, the responsibilities cover:
The central department servers.
The UNIX, PC and X-terminal workstations used by department members.
PC workstations throughout the department (Library, main department office, English typists, offices of the undergraduate and graduate studies, studying classes, etc. )
PC computers in the students “computer farms”.
The departmental web site.
Computer networking and communication
The responsibility covers induction of new users, network maintenance, management of remote access connection, installation and maintenance of modems, fax machines and isdn equipment.
The equipment includes:
Cisco Catalyst main switch including Gigabit Ethernet ports .
Cisco Catalyst switches including Gigabit Ethernet ports and Fast Ethernet ports.
Trapez Wireless network.
Responsibility includes all maintenance and software updates.
The equipment includes:
Departmental networked printers and terminals.
Printers, scanners and peripheral equipment used by department members.
Consulting services for computer (hardware and software) purchases.
Partial support of departmental laboratories.
Computer purchases and new equipment evaluation.
Computer Users (approximately)
70 faculty members, research associates and visitors.
300 graduate students (including 100 teaching assistants).
80 members of the administrative staff.
1850 undergraduate students.