The department makes use of a mix
of computing platforms, with about three-quarters of our research and instructional
computing taking place on Microsoft’s Windows NT/2000 operating system and
Intel Architecture processors and the remaining quarter on Unix desktop and
back-end servers. We have benefited greatly over the last year from several
major equipment donations: Hewlett-Packard donated 25 Visualize fx6+ 550MHz
Pentium III graphics workstations for a new undergraduate graphics teaching
laboratory; Intel donated 30 866MHz Pentium III systems for upper-level instruction;
and Intel donated $300,000 for notebook computers, 802.11b wireless access
cards, and access points for research and instruction in nomadic computing.
We have also received a number of donations of Windows CE devices, software,
training, and books from Microsoft Corporation.
In the area of improved and upgraded infrastructure, during the past year,
• Added pilot wireless networking infrastructure covering nine buildings and
several quads across the Cornell University campus. This infrastructure utilizes
Aironet 4800 access points and PCMCIA cards to provide actual TCP/IP-level
throughput of 2-3Mbits/second. Cornell Information Technologies (CIT) will
use this system as the base for a Cornell-wide wireless service to be available
in Fall 2000.
• Implemented a major upgrade to the department’s Windows 2000/IIS-based web
server. The server is now a redundant, load-sharing cluster of two servers,
with content replicated from a third server inside the department firewall.
• Added several major back-end compute servers, including four 8-way 550MHz
Pentium III Xeon Dell servers with 4GB RAM, four 4-way Sun Enterprise 420R
servers with 4GB RAM, and a cluster of 26 dual-processor 600MHz Pentium III
• Implemented a Dell Storage Area Network to support fast, reliable access
to large multimedia files. The new PowerEdge 6350 and PowerVault 650F systems
support 700GB of fibre-channel disk storage.
The department has over 800 computers ranging from desktops to high-end parallel
processing servers, over two terabytes of on-line disk storage, and a backbone
network based on switched Gigabit Ethernet.
The department has a full-time computing facilities staff of fifteen. Dean
Krafft serves as director, with programming support provided by Dora Abdullah,
Elly Cramer, Dean Eckstrom, Doug Flanagan, Bill Holmes, Orlando Johnson, and
Larry Parmelee; hardware support by John Finley and Bruce Boda; user consulting
support by Rob Collins, Jennifer Holleran, and Bob O’Keefe; and systems administration
by Mona Seamon and Cay Wilson. The staff provides full support for all the
operating systems and standard software on our major computing platforms.
In addition to the resources directly owned and operated by the department,
computer science students and researchers have access to a number of university
facilities. The university provides extensive campus-wide networking, based
on the TCP/IP protocols and implemented through a switched Gigabit Ethernet
backbone connecting organizational Ethernets. National and international access
is provided by several T3 connections to NYSERNet and the global Internet.
High-speed community access is available through Time-Warner’s RoadRunner
cable modem system.
The department operates an undergraduate teaching laboratory of 30 Intel-donated
300MHz Pentium II systems, 30 Intel-donated 450MHz Pentium III systems, and
30 Intel-donated 866MHz Pentium III systems, all running Microsoft’s Windows
2000. This lab provides support for a wide range of upper-level undergraduate
courses and individual research projects. There is also a separate graphics
teaching laboratory with 25 HP Visualize fx6+ workstations. Finally, through
the Cornell Theory Center and the Program of Computer Graphics, computer science
researchers have access to a wide range of advanced parallel processing and
supercomputer systems as well as advanced graphics and visualization systems.