Project Proposals for project period January to end April 2012

Development of new computing services by the computing staff is scheduled in project periods (three per year). The next project period starts in January 2012 and the process of prioritising which projects will be resourced starts now (November).

Please add your proposed project to the following table, completing the Title, Description and Proposer fields. You may wish to create a new wiki topic for your description. If you wish to lend support for an existing project, add your name to the Supporter(s) field. Computing staff may respond to the proposals in the Computing staff comments field.

Title Description Proposer Supporter(s) Computing staff comments
Theon enhancements: linkable values

Make all values in the student stats pages on Theon linkable to the students generating those stats.

E.g., If you look at the page "institute Stats", under ILCC year 4 on Student (Research), it says there are4 students. I would like that number "4" to be a link to the list of those 4 students who are members of ILCC in their fourth year. This would be really useful, because then you can immediately see who supervises them, their end date, etc.

Alex Lascarides Neil McGillivray This in itself is just a Trac issue as its trivial once the following is in place. To support this we should create an "anchor" framework for the portal based on existing report meta data so that you can auto-generate links in a report at an abstracted level, e.g. add a link from here to report "x" optionally using id "y" (optionally using sub-page id "z"), which can then be automatically mapped to the actual url/href rather than having to hardcode specific portal urls into each report. Adding this would take maybe half a day or so and is also just a Trac issue.
Theon enhancement: max period students

It would be great if on the "research student status" pages, we could somehow visualise those students who are less than 3 months away from their maximum study period. I would also theon to generate an email at the deadline minus 3 months to the supervisor (cced to iSS) warning them of the deadline, and to get in touch if there is a problem.

Alex Lascarides   A couple of hours work, should just be a Trac issue
Blog Convert current Wordpress individual blog to a supported service, and add in BuddyPress group support Austin Tate Dave Robertson

This work is already on the Services Unit list of things to do and should not require a level of effort which would justify a full scale developement project. Austin has agreed that once this work has been done, effort should be focused on a wider effort to produce a integrated School social platform. This will require a development project but will not start until the School Drupal service is fully deployed.


Media Server

Extend if necessary the media server at to provide (potentially) large (and growing) file storage area for internal hosting of media, videos, lecture components, etc. at a stable long term URL. Allow for serving as hintyed for streaming and download via http:// protocol and also ensure it can stream content in real time with rstp:// protocol concurrently at a medium scale. Larger events and synchronous classes would continue to be handled by extenal streaming means. Allow for real time event streaming at modest (workshop and on-line class) scale (say 50 streams) using sdp announcements from live feeds from authorised users.

Austin Tate Bob Fisher, Dave Robertson

This would be a major rescoping of the current media.inf service, which was really a simple solution to avoid storing large binary files inside CVS, that would otherwise belong on

Did we not once have an Apple based media streaming service in Informatics?


Publish teaching material using SVN rather than CVS

Most teaching material is published using CVS. Can we please port this to SVN? I find using CVS rather than SVN takes considerable time (for instance, SVN is much quicker when changing directory structure).

Phil Wadler  

Should be doable, and would remove our use of cvs pserver authentication. Would need to check that the various hooks we have into cvs to do triggers and access control could be reimplemented, and that publishing through the web would still work.


Investigate sFlow Most of our core switches now speak sFlow. Investigate whether this technology would provide us with any useful information that we don't currently have. inf-unit    
Intrusion Detection System We don't have any automated mechanism at the moment for spotting compromised machines. We could do with one somewhere (or perhaps one or more at each site) watching the network for the usual traffic signatures. inf-unit    
Scanning for compromised machines The central University scanning system didn't really ever go anywhere. Do one ourselves. inf-unit    
Perimeter filter logging Review the (minimal!) logging that's done by our perimeter filters, and consider what our options might be. inf-unit    
KDC upgrade to 1.9 Test kerberos version 1.9.x KDCs. Add any additional configuration hooks required. Upgrade the INF and IFRIEND KDCs. Required for SL6. inf-unit    
Full-service jabber Our current jabber not-a-service has a few rough edges. Bring it up to scratch. inf-unit    
CVS repositories for transferable skills courses For all UG and MSc courses there is a CVS repository that allows course lecturers and ITO staff to create and maintain web pages and deposit course materials. This is useful in allowing staff to share responsiblity for the course and, especially, to hand such material on to staff taking over a course. There is no such provision for transferable skills courses aimed at PG students. This would be useful. Can such CVS respositories be routinely created for all transferable skills courses? Alan Bundy Alex Lascarides

I think all that's required here is an agreement to create a URL like research/courses/


Package Repository web front end Web search front end to package repository ( MPU unit    
LCFG client component cleanup Code clean up LCFG client component ( MPU unit    
Improve server hardware interaction Implement semi-automated BIOS/firmware updates for servers ( MPU unit    
System security enhancements ( MPU unit    
SL6 Upgrade for RAT Unit ( RAT unit    
Webmark Reform ( RAT unit  

Windows 7 upgrade

The University is upgrading all Managed Desktops to Windows 7.

Support Unit    

If a project is considered to be feasible, a member of computing staff will contact the proposer in order to flesh out the proposal (eg outline a plan of work, cost the project etc) in order that the project proposal can be prioritised against other projects.

The deadline for submitting a project for this period is 21st November 2011. Projects submitted after that date may not be considered for T1, but will be considered for T2 (May-August).

-- AlastairScobie - 10 Nov 2011

Topic revision: r25 - 02 Dec 2011 - 16:50:17 - AlisonDownie
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