Archives—October 2013

Immersive Visualization Studio

Michigan Tech’s Immersive Visualization Studio (IVS) provides researchers with the ability to visualize that data on an unprecedented scale. Located on the fifth floor of the EERC, it is a joint effort between Information Technology Services and researchers from the Paul and Susan Williams Center for Computer Systems Research.

“As high-performance computing plays an important role in sciences and engineering, advances in technology are helping researchers study increasingly complex phenomena and produce large amounts of data,” says Gowtham, HPC Research Scientist in Information Technology Services. “The use of single large screens for analyzing such data and visualizing results is neither commonly used nor economically feasible. Instead, a tiled display which uses several smaller, commodity displays to build a large screen – display or video wall – can help, as part of a high-performance visualization cluster (HPVC), in analyzing data and visualizing results.”

Built with Rocks Cluster Distribution, the 8 tile nodes (each with 4 CPU cores, 32 GB RAM and 2 NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680 GPUs) power the 24 46” Samsung LED monitors (each at 1920×1080 resolution and 240 Hz) for a stunning 50 megapixel overall resolution. The IVS also has 12 state-of-the-art motion tracking cameras.

Using this scalable tiled display approach allows the video wall to be more easily moved, the cost associated with repairing (or replacing) portions is lower, and there is no or minimal stoppage in research activity due to repairs.

Since reaching the production phase in Summer of 2012, countless hours have been invested, by ITS, to make it both a computational and visualization resource, and by researchers, to design award-winning scientific and engineering applications with real and measurable impact. The Immersive Visualization Studio offers research and educational opportunities at every level and is expected to help cross-pollinate research ideas across various departments to help build a close-knit research community at Michigan Tech.

For a complete list of projects, visit http://ivs.research.mtu.edu/list-of-projects/.

Researchers interested in using this facility should contact Dr. Saeid Nooshabadi at saeid@mtu.edu.


Dow 642 Blended Learning Classroom

Did you know you can record your class and other events in Dow 642? Due to a recent gift by William G. Jackson, a Michigan Tech alumnus and President of CableAmerica, you now have the capability to do so.

Over the summer, Dow 642 underwent a technological transformation. In order to enhance the teaching and learning experience, Media Technology Services installed an Echo360 Lecture Capture system and other audio/visual improvements. With the installation of this technology, you can conduct a live broadcast of your your course or event or record for future on-demand viewing.

In addition to lecture capture technology, other improvements in Dow 642 include:

  • Installation of (2) 80” LCD monitors
  • Newly-built instructor podium
  • Crestron touch screen control system
  • Removable wall-mounted marker boards to encourage collaboration

Dow 642 is now one of eleven rooms on campus that includes lecture capture technology in support of online and blended learning.

Room reservations can be made through the Registrar’s Office. To learn more about the technology and other services provide by Media Technology services, visit our web site or contact it-help@mtu.edu for more information.


New IT User Services Hours

Beginning on Monday, October 14, 2013, IT User Services hours at the Library and IT Service Center will be extended until 9:00PM, Monday through Thursday, to provide additional support to users for the new computers in the Library.

Please stop by the Library and IT Service Center and let us help you with your technology needs and requests. Our regular business hours can be found on our website at http://www.it.mtu.edu/.

Matt, Sam and Darrin
The IT User Services Management Team


High Speed Networking at the Ford Forestry Center

Thanks to a cooperative effort between Information Technology, the School of Forest Resources and Environmental Science, and Baraga Telephone Company, users of the Ford Forestry Center in Alberta are now enjoying a 1Gbps fiber connection to the main campus and the Internet. This is a vast improvement over the antiquated 384kbps DSL system that had been providing the only Internet connectivity for the remote facility.

In addition to several miles of fiber that were installed between L’anse and Alberta, six of the buildings are interconnected via fiber, and Michigan Tech wireless service has been installed in four buildings, including the residence hall, Classroom One, the computer lab, and the main office. Users in Alberta can now enjoy access to all campus network resources in the same way they do while on the main campus in Houghton.


University’s Security Awareness Training Program Open to Michigan Tech Students

October marks the 10th anniversary of National Cyber Security Awareness Month. Established by presidential directive in 2004, the initiative—administered by the Department of Homeland Security—raises cyber security awareness across the nation by engaging and educating public and private sector partners through a variety of events and programs. The ultimate goal is to protect the country from cyber incidents and respond to them effectively if they do occur.

While the FBI largely takes on the responsibility in protecting the cyber interests of the United States, cyber security is a job for everyone. Every American who uses digital technologies at home or in the office needs to be vigilant. You can learn more at http://www.fbi.gov/news/news_blog/national-cyber-security-awareness-month-2013.

In recognition of security awareness month, the Information Security & Compliance Office has opened the University’s Security Awareness Training program to all students!

The ISCO has partnered with SANS, the most trusted and by far the largest information security training organization in the world to provide online, video based training. The Securing the Human training program does not have to be viewed in a single sitting; videos can be viewed individually and paused for your convenience.

Security awareness training is an important part of Michigan Tech’s overall IT security and compliance initiatives. It is an ongoing process of educating the University community on potential risks and security concerns as well as good information security practices. Educate and protect yourself.

For more information regarding Information Security at Michigan Tech, please visit http://security.mtu.edu/ or call 487-1111.


Phishing attacks – Keep your information safe

We have recently been the focus of a concentrated “phishing” attack that is trying to impersonate Information Technology Services staff in an effort to collect username and password data via email.

Please be aware that Information Technology Services staff will NEVER ask you for your password. If you receive these messages, please use the “Report phishing” button in Google Mail to report the message to Google so that they can improve spam filtering and reduce the instances of messages like this making it to your inbox.

Found in the email message view, on the right side of the reading pane

It is not necessary to report these messages to ITSS, but if you have any questions about how to block these messages or encounter any other issues relating to them, please do not hesitate to contact us at it-help@mtu.edu, or at 487-1111.


Bradford Agent

Michigan Tech uses a Network Access Control tool – Bradford Agent. But what exactly does it do?

The agent installs itself on your system as a part of the registration process. Once the agent is installed it sends back the hardware (MAC) addresses of all network interfaces on your system. This information is used so that you do not need to re-register a device if you switch between a wired and wireless network.

If your device is running Windows, the agent then checks to see if you have anti-virus software installed and relatively up-to-date, that you are running a version of Windows that still supported for security patches (Windows XP or newer) and that you have installed recent security patches from Microsoft. If you do not have up-to-date anti-virus software or Windows updates, you are placed on to a remediation network where you can download the updates but cannot do any browsing beyond that.

These checks happen the first time that you register, and may occur after that if your device has been off from the network for an extended period of time. We can also force the agent to re-run the tests the next time you connect, which we may do if there is some virus spreading around campus.

To be clear about what the agent does not do, it does not change any settings, monitor any network traffic, or look at which programs you have installed or are running. Once you are connected to the network, the agent has nothing to do with your connection, and in fact can be uninstalled from your system. Please note that if you do uninstall that you may need to re-register your device and install the agent if another scan is needed in the future due to either of the situations mentioned above. We use the persistent agent as a convenience to our users so that they do not need to go through the registration process more than once.

If you would like any more information about the Bradford system, feel free to contact us at it-help@mtu.edu and we will do our best to answer your questions.

Related links: Michigan Tech’s Network Access Control Policy