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CBE Remote Access Expansion / Design Computing Lab Update

College of Built Environments








This proposal really applies to both Computer Labs and Remote Computing. To address the closure of the Digital Commons computing lab in Gould Hall due to COVID-19 and the consequent need to provide computing resources and discipline specific software to students unable to be physically present in the lab, CBE Computing developed the CBE Remote Access service in late March, 2020. This service, launched during the first week of Spring Quarter, enables students to remotely connect to a lab computer selected from a list of available machines. Thus, they’re able to use the computers and discipline specific software in the lab, despite not being able to go to the lab. The computers in this lab, however, range in age from 3 to 6 years. Many are becoming flaky, and are less able to effectively run current versions of discipline-specific design and analysis software used by students in Architecture, Engineering, Construction, and related disciplines. Thus, while we have an effective new service that addresses COVID-19 restrictions by providing remote access to lab computers, the ageing lab computers themselves have become an obstacle to effectively delivering this service. The STF has supported the Digital Commons lab since its opening in 2005 by funding replacements of obsolete hardware. This proposal seeks STF support to replace the oldest computers in the lab. Initially, these would be used with our CBE Remote Access service, augmenting those of the old computers that are still reasonably functional. When we can all return to campus, the new computers would be ready for direct student use, while the old computers would form a pool of machines that would remain available via CBE Remote. By using the old machines to maintain availability of the CBE Remote Access service, we’ll be able to support students working remotely, and be ready at very short notice to reassign the new machines to CBE Remote if a recurrence of COVID-19 requires another lab closure.

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