Back by popular demand, here is our end-of-year SSCC News highlighting the most important new services added over the course of the year. We've limited ourselves to new services that you have to know about and actually do something in order to benefit from the service.
It was a busy summer for computer upgrades. Winstat was upgraded to use 64-bit Windows, and we have a new Linux computing cluster (Linstat) and new Lab PCs, both of which also use 64-bit operating systems. Since 64-bit operating systems don't cap the amount of memory a program can use, this means you can open much larger data sets--especially on Winstat. Memory is not unlimited though, so we've created a new policy on memory usage. Finally, Stata/MP has been upgraded to use up to four CPUs at a time.
For all the details, see the SSCC News special issue on 64-bit Computing.
The new Linstat servers have all but eliminated the problem of disk-intensive SAS jobs slowing down the server for everyone. If you've been avoiding running such jobs on our Linux servers for fear of causing such a slowdown, we'd like to invite you back.
While newer and faster hardware always helps, the key to the improvement was giving the Linstat servers lots of RAM and then letting SAS use up to half of it (24GB) as its WORK library. This converts disk access tasks into memory access tasks, which are both faster and easier for the server to manage.
24GB is an enormous amount of space, but we know some of our members need more. If you're one of them, you need to read our Knowledge Base article Running Large SAS Jobs on Linstat. It will teach you how to speed up data-intensive programs, how to change SAS's WORK library to use local disk space rather than RAM (Linstat servers have 200GB of space in /tmp), when to submit your jobs to Condor, and more.
Try out our new Webmail application if you haven't already. We think you are really going to like it. It has an interface that acts more like an email program running on your computer than a web page. For example, you can:
Don't you sometimes wish there was a way to keep certain messages out of your inbox? Perhaps you are already familiar with email filtering and use it on one computer or email program only for it not to work from another. We have written a new email web tool for members who use SSCC's email system which allows you to redirect your messages according to specified criteria (referred to as filtering) before they arrive in your inbox. The great thing about this new filtering tool is that it will work no matter where you are working from and no matter whether you are using webmail, Thunderbird, Outlook, etc. You can do things like:
The SSCC's Knowledge Base continues to expand. One notable addition is SPSS Statistics for Students, which compliments the existing Stata for Students. If you're teaching an undergrad stats course, referring your students to one of these could save them a lot of grief.
Our offering on Stata programming has been updated and split in two: Stata Programming Essentials is for people who have some experience with Stata but are new to programming, while Stata Programming Tools is for power users looking to add to their bag of tricks. Other new Stata articles include Working with Dates in Stata and Speeding up Multiple Imputation in Stata using Parallel Processing.
Using Linstat will introduce you to the unique features of the Linstat cluster, and if you're new to Linux it will teach you how to log in and run your favorite stats program with just two Linux commands.
And for the first time our Knowledge Base now includes a Mac section!
We sometimes hear from SSCC members who are traveling and cannot access Winstat from remote locations. This commonly occurs when people are attending conferences in hotels which have security measure in place that restrict access. We now have an alternative Winstat Web Interface site which allows you to connect from these locations. This site should only be used when you cannot connect the usual way because there is more overhead.
SoE members -- be sure and use the drop box to select the SOE-AD domain before connecting.
This past summer we transitioned to the campus-wide print system called GoPrint for our instructional and lab users. The GoPrint system uses your UW NetID to debit your WisCard account for printing and costs $.07 a page. As SSCC members, your printing is paid for by your sponsoring department or agency. This is intended for printing related to University business. If you would like to use the GoPrint queues to print personal documents, please contact our help desk and we will be happy to add the queues to your account. For more details, read our knowledgebase article.