SSCC News for September 2003

Inside this issue...

Welcome New Members!
Bringing PCs into the Building
SSCC Fall Training Schedule
Other On-campus Training Opportunities
SAS to be Removed from ELAINE and MARIAH

Welcome New Members!

Hopefully, we've gotten to welcome each of you in person either at one of our orientation sessions last week or at the SSCC Consulting office. If we haven't though, please drop by Social Sciences 4315 to pick up a packet of information and to sign up for a 30 minute computer orientation session. The amount of computing resources available at SSCC can be overwhelming and a 30-minute orientation is time well spent even for the most experienced computer users.

Bringing PCs into the Building

We have disinfected a lot of laptops since Tuesday when we sent e-mail asking anyone bringing in a Windows PC or laptop for use in the Social Science Building to first take it to the SSCC Help Desk to be thoroughly checked out. The recent virus/worm is still active on UW campus. It is very important for Windows users to keep your operating systems patched and antivirus software up-to-date:


SSCC's Linux computer, KITE has been replaced. The new KITE has two 2.6GHz Intel Xeon processors (previously it had two 1GHz processors). Because the new Xeon's include hyperthreading technology, they act almost as if they were two processors each (try the top command, for example). You'll notice a significant increase in performance, particularly in computationally intensive tasks. However, we still recommend using Condor for large jobs. The old KITE will be added to the Condor flock.

SSCC's Fall Training Schedule

SSCC's Fall training schedule is now available on SSCC's training web pages. We're offering three new sessions: "Keeping Your PC Secure, Updated and Virus Free", "Using Adobe Acrobat Effectively", and "Flexible, Reproducible, and Error-Free Research Computing." The old reliables like Stata, UNIX, NVivo, PowerPoint, Outlook Express, and Creating a Web Page are still there as well. We're also offering once again the Condor session. If you run large UNIX jobs, this is definitely a class you should check out. Remember that all SSCC training sessions require preregistration. Register early before sessions fill!

Note that we don't offer SAS training fall semester because it is available through Sociology 365.

Other On-campus Training Resources

The SSCC provides some training classes each semester. Unfortunately, we can not offer all levels of training for all software. There are other resources on campus that can supplement SSCCs training:

SAS to be Removed from ELAINE and MARIAH

This is your last reminder that the SAS licenses on ELAINE and MARIAH will not be renewed when they expire October 1. SAS usage on these two computers has fallen sharply since SAS became available on Linux and we can save approximately $4,000/year by dropping the licenses.

You can run your SAS jobs on Linux via KITE or CONDOR. Our Condor flock has thirteen CPUs, is capable of running Stata, SAS, R, FORTRAN, and C/C++ code, and will give your job exclusive use of a CPU while it runs. Best of all, there are almost always available processors just waiting for your job.

Submitting Stata and SAS batch jobs to Condor is extremely simple: log in to KITE as usual, and replace the usual stata or sas command with condor_stata or condor_sas. It will then run in the background on a Condor server. For example, replace

stata -b do bigprogram


condor_stata -b do bigprogram


sas bigprogram


condor_sas bigprogram

The only disadvantage to Condor is that it take about 30 seconds for a job to be assigned to a server before it can run. Thus it's not suitable for small jobs where you want the results right away. But for big jobs--the ones that cause slowdowns on KITE--it is ideal. For more information please see An Introduction to Condor.

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