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VIRTUAL REALITY LAB BENEFITS REGION. Concord University (WV) is setting up its Rahall Technology Center VR lab this month, using off-the-shelf, affordable technology from Auto-Des-Sys and Fakespace Systems. University art faculty will be the first users, integrating virtual reality into senior-level graphic design courses by next spring. But the university also has plans to extend the benefits of the lab to surrounding communities by using it to demonstrate the competitive advantages of VR to small businesses in the Appalachian region.

IT DOES COMPUTE—ALL ACROSS CAMPUS. Mathematica 6.0, the most comprehensive upgrade to Wolfram Research’s computational software in the company’s 20-year history, has arrived on the University of Mississippi campus. And at UM, just about everyone will have a chance to try it out. Jason Hale, manager of research support in the school’s Office of Information Technology, comments that the university’s site license, in place since 2005, should allow the software to become “an inherently usable, interdepartmentally-standard computational tool. The student site license was considered a must-have.”

SIMULCASTS ENHANCE CASE-STUDY METHOD. Harvard Business School (MA) needed a way to make it possible for multiple classrooms to participate in discussions with distinguished guests, while still maintaining the optimal size of each class section. The school worked with HB Communications and Acentech to build a custom solution that has thus far involved up to eight classrooms in simultaneous interactive discussions.

FASTER ON THEIR FEET. The New York College of Podiatric Medicine has stepped up secure processing of financial aid records. Now using NetManage OnWeb for iSeries, the Financial Aid office can process a request in three to four minutes (it’s done in just one step), knocking 40 percent off the time spent on their old, multi-step procedure.

CT Briefs

THE UNIVERSITY OF NEBRASKA’S Peter Kiewit Institute is aiming for the top 50 of the Top500 with its new 800-node Dell/AMD cluster.

HIGH-PERFORMANCE SHOWCASE. The Peter Kiewit Institute at the University of Nebraska-Omaha is installing a state-of-the-art, 800-node Dell/AMD cluster. The system is expected to test initially at speeds ensuring a spot at least in the top 50 of the Top500 (the 500 most powerful computer systems in the world).

GRADING SOFTWARE EARNS HIGH MARKS. Rubric, online grading software from Reazon Systems, is speeding up and clarifying the grading process for writing assignments at Santa Ana College (CA). It allows the instructor to specify in advance exactly what is required for each portion of an assignment, and how each part will be weighted in the overall grade. Read more here.

CHECK OUT THE LIBRARY Santa Clara University (CA) is debuting its new library in Second Life. The Second Life virtual environment gives SCU community members a sense of what the inside of the library will look like once it is built (the building is scheduled for completion this fall). Read more here.


Gerry McCartney

Gerry McCartney

PURDUE'S PERMANANT CIO. Gerry McCartney has permanently assumed the role of Purdue University’s (IN) CIO and VP for IT. Prior to his July 2006 interim appointment as Purdue’s top IT administrator, McCartney had served for two years as assistant dean for technology at the university’s Krannert School of Management. Read more here.

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