Planning Begins on Next-Generation Eos

November 11, 2003
The College of Engineering (COE) Computer Committee has launched two subcommittees to gather information and formulate plans for the next generation of educational computing technology in the college.  These subcommittees will work with the Computer Committee to extend integrated college computing to user-owned mobile platforms as well as to on-campus workstations and Eos labs.
The Student-Owned Computing Operations subcommittee will focus on students in their first year and formulate a strategy to create a culture of computing on personal computing devices.  The Discipline-Specific Software subcommittee will focus on integrating user-owned computing during the following years (and in graduate school) when the students have matriculated into a specific engineering department.

HISTORY OF EOS

COE's distributed computing environment, named "Eos" after the Greek Goddess of the Dawn, arose from the need to integrate engineering software and computational technology into the curriculum.  More than a decade ago, the Computer Committee chose to create Eos by implementing technologies from MIT's Project Athena (e.g., Kerberos, X Windows) and CMU's Project Andrew (AFS).  Eos became a scalable model for client-server computing in the college, allowing users to access their personal files, customized configuration, network services, and application software from any workstation.

Eos gradually grew into the campus-wide Unity system, and since the mid-90s, the NCSU Information Technology Division has been administering the primary Eos/Unity infrastructure.  Eos/Unity delivers an unparalleled suite of application software to nearly 2200 workstations running Windows 2000/XP, Sun Solaris 8, Red Hat Linux 7.3 and 9.0, and Mac OS X.

NEXT-GENERATION EOS

The successful Student-Owned Computing pilot program, conducted during the past three years in the college, has led the Computer Committee to believe that student-owned and non-Eos faculty computers must be more closely integrated in the educational environment.  Extensive development has been done by ITECS to create Wolfcall (AFS+Kerberos for Windows) and make remote-access services better and more supportable.

The college is now planning a new environment that capitalizes on the strengths that Eos delivers to college-wide computing but also leverages student-owned computers to better advantage.  The discipline-specific software on Eos is also being reviewed to determine if it continues to support the department curricula and is tractable for use on other platforms or must be maintained in specialty labs.  The goal is to prepare for another successful decade of engineering educational computing by making the best use of our college IT resources.

COE students, staff and faculty are encouraged to participate.  Contact your Computer Committee representative with your ideas and feedback.