News Update August 9, 2005

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News for Tuesday, August 9, 2005

* RIT to Offer 2006 Computer and Info Science Doctoral Degree
* Brigham Young University Sets Up Supercomputing Utility
* Big Deals: U. Texas San Antonio Signs Blanket With Gateway
* Ten States Now Offer Computer Sales Tax Holidays
* Some Reluctant to Dismount from HP e3000 War Horse
* Thomas Jefferson U. Researchers Create Tumor Scanning Chip
* Hold That Line: Electronic Fantasy Football Comes to Campus


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RIT to Offer 2006 Computer and Info Science Doctoral Degree

The Rochester Institute of Technology is awaiting New York
State Education Department approval to launch a doctoral
program in computing and information sciences in the fall
of 2006. The degree would be the third Ph.D. the university
would offer after doctoral degrees in imaging science and
Microsystems. The doctorate will be offered through RIT's
Golisano College of Computing and Information Sciences.
"The college has a critical mass of students, facilities,
faculty. All we're doing is putting that to work," Golisano
College Dean Jorge Diaz-Herrera told the Rochester Democrat
and Chronicle newspaper. "It'll give us even more prestige."

With a third doctoral program, RIT will be classified as a
"research intensive" school under the Carnegie classification
of colleges. That means that in college guides, such as the
popular U.S. News & World Report college rankings, RIT will
be put up against a new, more elite category of schools.
"It'll be tough to compete with them, but we're up to the
challenge," said Provost Stanley McKenzie. RIT hopes to start
other Ph.D. programs during the next four-to-five years in
color science, manufacturing sustainability and a combination
of astrophysics and astroinformatics.


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Big Deals: U. Texas San Antonio Signs Blanket With Gateway

The University of Texas at San Antonio announced an
agreement with Gateway Inc., the nation's third-largest
PC vendor, to be the University-wide provider of notebook
and tablet computers for students, faculty and staff. UTSA
has more than 26,000 students and 3,500 faculty and staff,
making the deal one of the largest of its kind in the

The four-year agreement offers UT-SA specific pricing on
select Gateway notebooks, tablet PCs and peripherals.
Gateway is working with the San Antonio Federal Credit
Union (SACU) on several finance packages for students
offering low monthly payments and incentives that could
waive interest charges. "This is an exciting program for
UTSA, one that we believe will have a significant impact
on the success of our students," said Rosalie Ambrosino,
UTSA vice president for student affairs. "

Ten States Now Offer Computer Sales Tax Holidays

Ten states will be holding tax-amnesty events that include
computers and related products, such as printers and monitors
to encourage technology investments by families with students
returning to school this fall. According to a back-to-school
survey by the Consumer Electronics Association, most Americans
feel computers are still too expensive for the average family.

Consumers in states with sales tax think that the more affordable
items are school supplies (86%), calculators (76%) and reference
materials (67%). By contrast, only 36% of respondents think home
computers are affordable. Sales tax holidays improve this perception,
says the CEA. For example, a $1,000 to $2,000 computer purchased
without paying a five percent sales tax saves a consumer from $50
to $100. With this in mind, 50 percent of the survey respondents
said they would be more likely to buy a computer during a sales
tax holiday.

The states participating in sales tax holidays for computer purchases
this summer include: Georgia (July 28-31); Massachusetts (August 13-14);
Missouri (August 5-7); New Mexico (August 5-7); North Carolina (August 5-7);
and South Carolina (August 5-7). Tennessee's new sales tax holiday will
take place next year, August 4 - 6, 2006. The Massachusetts sales tax
holiday, recently expanded to two days, is unique in that it includes
essentially all consumer electronics and most consumer goods priced
under $2,500.

Brigham Young University Sets Up Supercomputing Utility

Brigham Young University installed six Dell supercomputing clusters
at its Provo, Utah campus to help students and faculty across the
university–from business and engineering to agriculture and physics
departments–enhance their scholarship. The clusters are made up of
682 Dell PowerEdge 1850 servers and PowerEdge 1855 blade servers
ranging in size from 11 to 217 nodes.

The clusters are located at six locations across campus. Four are
connected using 10 Gigabit Ethernet links. Together, the six
clusters have a combined theoretical peak performance of more
than 9 trillion floating point operations per second (TFLOPS).
Researchers on campus plan to use the systems to study mechanical,
electrical and chemical engineering, industrial design and
rendering, agricultural research and chemical analysis. Students
in BYU's Marriott School of Business will use the clusters to do
advanced statistical modeling.

Kelly Flanagan, BYU vice president of information technology,
called the addition, a “quantum leap we've just taken in
processing power."

John Mullen, vice president of Dell's higher education business,
said the facility is an example of how universities can get more
processing power for their budgets by deploying standards-based

Some Reluctant to Dismount from the HP e3000 War Horse

Hewlett Packard Co.'s decision to discontinue support for its
e3000 computers and its MPE/iX multi-user processing system
after 2006 has some higher education officials reluctantly
moving on. The midrange systems can run applications that
date as far back as the early 1970s.

"It is a quandary. I think we are representative of a lot of
the HP community that wasn't very happy with HP's decision,
but you've got to keep going," said Charles Benil, director
of information systems for the Maryland Higher Education
Commission. "I'm not excited about moving some of our
applications that just don't go down onto Windows systems
that I know we're going to have problems with."

Benil said that while the e3000 d'es not have the same
versatility of most modern computers, they make up for it
in reliability. Still, he said, without HP support, he is
reluctant to stay with the e3000s. He said the commission
probably will switch over its programs to Windows-based
systems in the early part of 2007.

Thomas Jefferson U. Researchers Create Tumor Scanning Chip

Researchers at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and
Thomas Jefferson University have developed a customized gene
chip to scan tumor samples for specific DNA changes that offer
clues to prognoses in cases of neuroblastoma, a common form of
children's cancer. Rather than covering the entire genome, the
microarray focuses on suspect regions of chromosomes for signs
of deleted genetic material known to play a role in the cancer.

The researchers say their technique may be readily adapted for
other types of cancer. One advantage of their technique is its
flexibility. "We have customized this tool for neuroblastoma,
but the approach might also be adapted to other types of cancer
in which DNA changes are important," said Paolo Fortina, M.D., Ph.D.,
professor of medicine at Jefferson Medical College of Thomas Jefferson
University in Philadelphia

Hold That Line: Electronic Fantasy Football Comes to Campus

Internet sports media company CBS has developed a
college fantasy football game that will be offered to free of charge
starting with the 2005 season. The company said it is the first major
fantasy sports entity to enter the marketplace with a collegiate fantasy
football game. Until this time, the fantasy football market has almost
exclusively revolved around professional football.

"College Fantasy Football" will allow users to draft a team of college
football players from any of the 119 Division I programs or customize
their player pool to include any conference they choose. Users can
create a private league or join a public league and play against
college football fans from around the globe.

Copyright 2005 101communications LLC. Campus Technology Newsletter
may only be redistributed in its unedited form. Written permission from
the editor must be obtained to reprint the information contained within this
newsletter. Contact Rich Seeley at

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