Minutes of the meeting of Computing Strategy Group, 10th March 2010


Paul Anderson, Stuart Anderson, Tim Colles, Dave Robertson, Alastair
Scobie, Ian Stark, Perdita Stevens (convener).

1. The discussion converged on the existence of two purposes fulfilled
by this group:

(a) Genuinely strategic thinking about matters relating to computing
(medium to long term)

(b) Oversight of the computing service provided to the School

These require different approaches but both need to be done and both
seem appropriate for this group to do. Therefore, this group will meet
4 times per year. Twice each year (March and September) it will have
two-hour meetings focusing mainly on strategic issues; in particular,
the September meeting can provide input for the annual Computing
Strategy document that is produced for early November. Its other two
meetings will be in June and December, will be scheduled to last one
hour, and will focus on oversight.

We discussed how needs for development projects identified by
non-computing staff can be turned into projects that can then be
considered by the project prioritisation process. Teaching-related
projects seem fairly well catered for: they come through Teaching
Committee or Board of Studies to Tim. Research-related projects have a
less clear trajectory. They will be generated in institutes in the
first instance, but institutes have different governance models.
Nevertheless, someone who has a project idea that has the support of
the relevant institute head, however acquired, should talk to Tim.

AP: Perdita to ensure Institute heads know this.

We discussed membership of the group, particularly relation with IKMC,
and decided to leave it as it is for now.

2. We agreed: Individual on-demand hands-on support for self-managed
machines is not available. Support staff should point people needing
help to mechanisms like the CO surgeries and the bulletin board
instead. At the same time, improving documentation is important and is
being worked on now. There was some discussion of the importance of
scripts to help users of self-managed machines e.g. install software.
It was agreed that such scripts can often be helpful and should be
considered as appropriate, but also that it can be impractical because
of the variety of installations.

3. We obviously want to collaborate with IS whenever it is in both our
interests and those of the university to do so, but we do not have
enough effort available to do everything we'd like, so projects joint
with IS need to go into the prioritisation process and be considered
alongside the other things we might do. This is feasible, since their
planning process is no quicker than ours.


There was some discussion of the future of computing in the University
and of the impact of the Kenway review. We should
consider using services from outside the university (e.g., from
Google) as well as considering IS services.

Stuart had written a mail about specific matters relating to teaching,
which [AP, already done] Ian will forward for email discussion.

-- PerditaStevens - 26 Mar 2010

Topic revision: r1 - 26 Mar 2010 - 12:00:20 - PerditaStevens
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