C2 November 30, 2005

C2 Strategic C-level Discussions on Technology

November 30, 2005
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From the Top

A Missed Opportunity?
Technology Implementations Can Drive Cultural Change

By William J. Fritz,
Associate Provost for Academic Programs
Georgia State University

At many institutions, IT leads technology implementations and their number one concern is a smooth implementation process-not systemic change or improved results. These institutions are likely to see some users complain about functionality after the system is implemented, largely because the implementation process did not fully engage their users. And, too often, institutions do not try to leverage the potential, far-reaching outcomes of a technology implementation. This all adds up to a significant missed opportunity for meaningful change.

The bigger the implementation, the greater the opportunity for change. At Georgia State University, we consciously leveraged the implementation of our SCT Banner administrative system to refocus our entire campus on placing students first, faculty second, and staff third. Our previous legacy system was quite staff-friendly but not very responsive to students' needs, so we needed to change that. Still, some of our staff resisted the implementation of a new administrative system. To overcome their objections and to effect lasting change, we created 17 cross-functional teams that included staff, faculty, and IT to guide our implementation.

At the most basic level, this was an excuse-a good excuse-to bring everyone together "at the table." Members of the teams had to sit down and hammer out common processes in support of students and faculty. This helped break down silos among departments that did not communicate with each other previously, and it fostered deep discussions about leadership and change. As a result, we achieved much-improved working relationships even before the software was implemented.

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Need to Know

Supercollaboration Yields Big Computing Cycles

A cross-campus consortium of scientists, researchers, and technologists at Princeton University (NJ) pooled their resources to acquire and share an IBM (www.ibm.com) Blue Gene supercomputer on campus. CIO Betty Leydon comments on the collaboration: "Having OIT, the Princeton Institute for Computational Science and Engineering, the School of Engineering and Applied Science, and several individual faculty members all contribute to the cost shows that we all recognize the value of working together to build the best possible IT infrastructure to support research at Princeton." Since its launch ceremony November 22, the system stands ready to tackle complex computations for diverse projects in areas like astrophysics, engineering, chemistry, and plasma physics.

Floating to the Top

The Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech, Japan) will soon be home to one of the world's fastest supercomputers. The machine is expected to easily secure one of the highest 10 positions on the Top500 list (based on the LINPACK Benchmark)-initially realizing 85 trillion floating point operations per second (teraFLOPS), with the potential to speed past a dazzling 100 trillion teraFLOPS threshold after adjustments for peak performance. Standard industry components and technology expertise from partners including Advanced Micro Devices (AMD, www.amd.com), Sun Microsystems (www.sun.com), and NEC (www.nec.com) factor into a rapid rollout this coming spring. The potential for the international research community to access and benefit from the supercomputer is great. Satoshi Matsuoka, professor in charge of Research Infrastructure at the Global Scientific Information and Computing Center at the Tokyo Institute of Technology commented, "Tokyo Tech's system will be leveraged by a wide range of researchers within the university and throughout the world."

Great Hopes for HOPI

As part of its mission to build an advanced network infrastructure that will meet the rising expectations of the global research and education community, Internet2 (www.internet2.edu) operates the Hybrid Optical and Packet Infrastructure (HOPI) nationwide testbed that investigates next-generation optical and packet technologies. The latest milestone reached: a demonstration of on-demand optical networking that connected three radio telescopes in far-flung corners of the world to make electronic Very-Long-Baseline Interferometry (e-VLBI) observations, such as precise measurements of continental drift or motions of the moon... that's big science.

Who's Where

Anita Borg Vision Award

UC Berkeley's Pamela Samuelson has received this year's prestigious Anita Borg Institute (www.anitaborg.org) Women of Vision award for Social Impact in her work bridging technology, the law, and community. Prof. Samuelson holds a joint appointment in the School of Information Management and Systems and the School of Law, and is co-director of the Berkeley Center for Law and Technology.


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