March 31, 1994
Vol. 13, No. 14

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    Task force assessing computing needs; input welcome

    The present and long-term computing needs of the University are being assessed by the Task Force on Computing, appointed by the Provost's Office. The task force will play a critical role in defining the future computing resources and services required to support academic research and instruction, according to Provost Geoffrey Stone.

    "The University has provided a range of computer services over the past two decades, but rapidly changing technology and greater demands for information now demand more sophisticated and varied applications," Stone said. "The task-force report will recommend changes to create a more effective computing environment."

    The 10-member committee consists of faculty members and administrators, including members of the University Board of Computing Activities & Services. The group, which began meeting in January, will issue a report in June.

    To formulate recommendations for future computing resources and services, the task force is examining several areas of academic computing, including networking and communications; technical and training support; organization and location of services; staffing; and funding.

    "Faculty, students and staff in the various schools and the divisions have basic requirements and different, specialized needs," said Pat Swanson, Associate Provost and task-force chairman. "We have to re-examine our computer infrastructure, including the Internet and on-line systems, to be sure they are compatible and powerful enough to handle these diverse needs while connecting everyone to the same basic network."

    Members of the task force have met with the deans of the divisions and professional schools to discuss their computing needs. The task force welcomes suggestions and comments from the entire University community.

    "We are looking for ideas from faculty and students concerned about the future of computer services for research and instruction," Swanson said. "Before submitting our report, we would especially like comments on four questions: What services are essential? What services do users want that they do not now have? What are the major problem areas? What are reasonable mechanisms for funding these computing services?"

    Comments and suggestions may be directed to Swanson, who can be reached by phone at 702-8806, by fax at 702-0934 or by electronic mail at p-swanson@uchicago.edu.

    Comments may also be directed to other members of the task force. They are: Lawrence Barsalou, Associate Professor in Psychology; Oscar Kapp, Assistant Professor in Radiology; Robert Kaster, Professor in Classical Languages & Literatures; Don Lamb, Professor in Astronomy & Astrophysics; Karen Landahl, Associate Professor in Linguistics; Norman Nie, Professor and Chairman of Political Science; Charles Pelizzari, Assistant Professor in Radiation & Cellular Oncology; Peter Rossi, Associate Professor in Business; and Martin Runkle, Director of the University Library.