Department policies on accounts and their costs to research groups and an outline of services provided by Computer Services to the Computer Science Department
Reviewed by bil hays 2017-08-12
Computer Services Rates
Effective January 1, 2015: $621 per FTE per month
The dollar figures given below for research and BASS accounts were adjusted accordingly on this date.
The UNC-Chapel Hill Department of Computer Science is a nationally recognized leader in cutting edge research and teaching, having been ranked by U.S. News and World Report as first in the nation in Graphics: User Interaction (commonly referred to as “virtual reality”), 13th in systems, and tied for 20th overall. Our faculty, staff, postdocs, affiliated researchers, and graduate and undergraduate students require a highly sophisticated computing environment and level of technical support. Through the Computer Services we provide the required technical staff to provide these critical services. Computer Services is funded by a mix of state dollars, departmental funds, and funds collected by the Computer Services Recharge Center.
The Computer Services Recharge Center (CSRC) is reviewed by the University periodically to ensure it is in compliance with all applicable federal and state regulations, including the Uniform Guidance (2 CFR § 200), as well as the Federal Cost Accounting Standards and applicable University policy. Rates are adjusted annually to ensure that the Recharge Center is operating on a strict cost recovery basis. The current rate is $621 per Full Time Equivalent (FTE) per month. Rates apply to each user and are charged based upon each person’s salary distribution, e.g., if a person works 50% on one project and 50% on another during the month, each project pays 50% of the fee for that month. All employees and students are assessed the same rate without regard to their salary source (federal, state, foundation, commercial). No additional fees are charged and all services included within the Recharge Center are available to all users.
General Computing Environment
The department’s computing environment includes over 1000 computers, ranging from older systems used for generating network traffic for simulated Internet experiments to state-of-the-art workstations and clusters for graphics- and compute-intensive research. Departmental servers provide compute service, disk space, email, CVS (version control software), web service, database services, backups, and many other services. All systems are integrated by means of high-speed networks, described below, and are supported by a highly skilled technical staff who provide a consistent computing environment throughout the department. Each student is assigned a computer, with computer assignments based on the students’ research or teaching assignments and their seniority within the department. In addition to the departmental servers and office systems, our research laboratories contain a wide variety of specialized equipment and facilities.
Departmental computing systems include around 750 Dell computers, 140 Lenovos, 130 IBMs, 70 Suns (in the BASS supercomputer), 110 Macs, plus about 70 other computers.
Our systems primarily run the Windows 7 operating system, with a smaller number of systems, including many of the servers, running Red Hat Linux, Ubuntu, and FreeBSD. We use the AFS file system for central file storage. Languages most commonly used include J++, C++, and Java. Document preparation is usually accomplished with standard applications on PC systems. Our extensive software holdings are continually evolving.
The department’s computer systems are connected to one another by a high-speed data network. The network provides switched 100 megabit connections to every desktop, plus fiber, video, and multiple voice and data connections in each office. Special purpose systems and switches, as well as a number of our workstations, use gigabit connections. The campus Internet II connection is in Sitterson Hall and provides even higher speeds for applications that require it.
Services Provided by the Computers Services
The Computer Science Department’s Computer Services (CS2) provides a wide variety of services for its users. Most of these services are either unavailable from ITS or only available on a fee for service basis. Even when services are available from ITS, Computer Services provides a substantially greater level of service and customization to meet the department’s specialized research and education needs. Examples of services that go far beyond what is available to other campus employees are given below.
7X24 emergency support
CS2 personnel share an emergency pager and are available to handle emergencies around the clock. This may entail bringing systems up after power outages, handling water leaks or HVAC outages, troubleshooting server problems, or responding to literally any issue that our users consider an emergency.
On-site Dell and Macintosh hardware support
Two members of the CS2 staff are Dell Certified Technicians, and one is an Apple Certified Technician. This allows our staff to provide in-house warranty service on Dell and Macintosh computers as well as service once the warranty runs out, and our technicians have access to special rapid channels for obtaining repair parts, so they can fix these systems far more rapidly than would be possible. 60% of the department’s 1200+ computers are Dells.
Special event support
When the department’s faculty host conferences on campus, CS2 staff provide on-site technical support. This includes support for attendees connection to the our wireless network, A/V support, recording of talks, teleconferencing support, and assistance with any other conference needs.
The CS2 staff provide user data backups for Windows, Linux, and Macintosh desktop systems as well as backups for departmental server systems.
Video projector support
CS2 staff provide custom installation and maintenance for video projectors in faculty offices, often with two projectors in an office.
The above services are simply not available to other University employees unless their department pays ITS or their own technical staff for the service.
The department has its own telephone switch, supported by CS2 personnel. All faculty and staff have department provided voice mail and telephones in their offices, and we also have telephones in all labs, conference rooms, and classrooms. When a user changes offices, CS2 moves the telephone number from the old office to the new, so no one’s number ever changes.
Detailed list of services
- Operating system support (Windows/Linux/Mac)
- securing data
- Application support (standard and additional applications)
- Computer and peripheral configuration and ordering
- Computer security
- intrusion prevention
- Email service
- SMTP (mail forwarding, @cs.unc.edu, mail lists)
- Department Google domain administration (mail storage and retrieval)
- Web services
- department web servers
- CGI server
- class web services
- custom administrative web pages
- Google Suite support
- administrative systems – development and support
- user systems – limited disk space and backups
- CVS, Subversion, and Git version control systems
- Other central software services
- Disk service (AFS, NFS)
- Software update service
- Antivirus control service
- Software distribution (Windows, Mac)
- Domain controllers (Windows)
- DNS, DHCP, NIS, LDAP, time
- Compute and login service (Linux)
- Calendar service (through department Google Apps domain)
- ITWorks (administrative data) service
- User accounts and disk space
- Software licensing
- Training – one-on-one and in groups
- help web pages
- Three VLANs
- standard production network
- specialized research setups
- voice connections
- voice mail
- Projector and large screen installation and maintenance
- Multimedia and video recording
- Room control systems (AMX)
- Graphics hardware support
- Computer hardware maintenance (Windows/Linux/Mac)
- initial setup
- warranty and post-warranty repair
- black and white
- high quality color
- lesser quality color
- large format color (plotter and 11×17 printer)
- Copiers and scanners
- Equipment moves
- Building security
- access control
- video recording of key areas
- Electrical, HVAC, plumbing
- Special event support
- Emergency support
- Interface with campus support groups, OASIS, OIS and ITS