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News 09-18-2001

Berkeley Professor, Students, Create Web Site to Check Terror Victims

A University of California, Berkeley, professor and two of her computer science students created a Web site last week to help the public check the safety of loved ones following the terrorist attacks in New York City and Washington, D.C. The site, hosted from Berkeley's Millennium Cluster high-performance computing center, pulls information from seven different databases on the status of people reported as safe or missing in the attack. It allows the public to search those databases from the site and to report if someone is safe. Links to over 30 survivor registries, as well as company hotlines and emergency relief sites are also provided. The site was created by graduate students Miriam Walker and Ka-Ping Yee working with Jennifer Mankoff, an assistant professor in U.C. Berkeley's electrical engineering and computer science department.

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Wharton Establishes $10 Million Learning Lab

The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania last week announced the creation of the Alfred West Jr. Learning Lab, a development center and laboratory to explore new approaches to learning. Funded with a $10-million gift from SEI Investments Inc. chairman and chief executive officer Alfred P. West, Jr., the lab will draw on faculty and private sector executives to produce technology-enhanced course materials and research on learning for universities, as well as for commercial and government training programs. Examples of tools under development at Wharton include CyberExchange, a real-time, interactive case discussion application; "Fare Game," a multiuser business case simulator; and the Virtual Auction Simulation Engine (VASE) provides students with a firsthand experience of what it's like to compete in an online auction.

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University of Alabama at Birmingham to Secure Online Processes

The University of Alabama at Birmingham is running a pilot program to test the use of digital certificates to secure transactions involving its faculty, staff, and students from its six academic and six health related schools. The pilot, which will use TrustID digitial identity software from Digital Signature Trust Corp., will test applications including human resources, grants administration, and access control. The university was also picked to participate in a National Institutes of Health program to enable electronic signing of NIH grant applications using TrustID certificates. Clair Goldsmith, PhD, vice president for information technology at UAB, said building a public key infrastructure using digital certificates was a key strategy in the university's goal "to give everyone throughout our diverse and demanding population an appropriate vehicle to access all the information they need."

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Bates College Relaunches Site with Collaborative Publishing System

Lewiston, Maine-based Bates College relaunched its web site> using a XML publishing system that lets diverse campus constituencies -- both technical and non-technical -- publish content while maintaining a common site look and feel. The software is Ingeniux Corp.'s XPower 2.0, a content management and publishing system for which the Bates web site is a "prototypical" higher education application, said the company. The software, which is available on Unix and Windows, will help the college "keep our our complex Web site both interesting and manageable, as well as potentially reduce costs,'' said Gene Wiemers, associate vice president for academic affairs at Bates College.

George Mason University Completes Advanced Network Tests

The Advanced Internet Lab at George Mason University said last week it completed a round of software testing that eventually make it easier for network carriers to provision virtual private networks (VPN) more efficiently. VPNs are considered key to carriers' providing advanced services over next-generation Internet networks. The code tests were conducted for Multi-Protocal Label Switching (MPLS) and focused on demonstrating vendor interoperability with several network protocols associated with VPN services.

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CSU Long Beach Puts Energy Management Online

Facility management officials at California State University, Long Beach, said new Web-based energy management software is creating a competition between campus departments vying for the lowest energy usage levels. The university is using an enterprise energy management system from Silicon Energy Corp. which enables it to curb energy use during peak demand, reduce billing errors and measure the performance of equipment upgrades. Tim Ball, associate director of facility management of CSULB, said Silcon Energy's EEM Suite provides both real-time data and remote access to the data via the Web. The result, he said, "(allows) us to mobilize within minutes from anywhere. In turn, we are able to share this information with the campus community and allow departments to see how well they are conserving energy. We have quite a competition brewing."

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President's Information Technology Advisory Committee to Meet

The President's Information Technology Advisory Committee, formerly the Presidential Advisory Committee on High Performance Computing and Communications, Information Technology, and the Next Generation Internet, is scheduled to meet in Arlington, Va., on Sept. 25. The meeting will take place between 8 a.m. and 2:45 p.m. at the National Science Foundation, Room 555, 4121 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington, Va. 22230. The agenda includes reports from the Committee's discovery/review subcommittees on scalable information infrastructure, high-end computing, software, and socio-economic and workforce issues.

For further information, visit the National Coordination Office for Computing, Information, and Communications at

Coastal Carolina University Hosts Conference on Quality

Coastal Carolina University will host a conference on the theme of "continuous quality improvement" from Sept. 29 to Oct. 1 in Myrtle Beach, S.C.. The first annual Carolina Conference on Quality is designed to encourage colleges and universities to adopt continuous quality improvement doctrines in all phases of their operations. The conference keynote will be provided by Charles W. Sorensen, chancellor of the University of Wisconsin-Stout, the first higher education institution to receive a site visit for the National Baldridge Award in Education. Conway, S.C.-based Coastal Carolina University is co-hosting the conference with Datatel Inc., a provider of software solutions for the higher education market.

For more information on the conference, contact Debbie Conner, Office of Community Relations at Coastal Carolina University, at [email protected].

Sallie Mae Moves Loan Consolidation Online

Sallie Mae last week introduced a faster method for students to apply for loan consolidation, a repayment alternative designed to provide lower monthly payments. Borrowers now can submit an application online through Sallie Mae's Web site,>. Once the form has been electronically submitted, borrowers will be asked to forward a signed, hard-copy form to Sallie Mae to complete the processing of their application. The company said the system will shave a week or more off the traditional paper application process.

Internet Enables Collaboration of Ohio Schools

The Internet will be one of the key tools enabling three Ohio colleges and universities to form a partnership to broaden their educational offerings to local students. The University of Akron, Cuyahoga Communication College District and the Cuyahoga Valley Career Center last week unveiled a partnership to coordinate courses at times and locations that are more convenient to eligible students, as well as agreements on sharing facilities and transfering credits. "The new partnership provides area students with accessible, affordable quality education at their convenience, both in terms of time and location, including courses via the Internet," said Dr. Jerry Sue Thornton, Cuyahoga Community College president. "Today's lifestyles demand this flexibility."

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