Project Proposals for project period May to end August 2013 (T2)

Development of new computing services by the computing staff is scheduled in project periods (three per year). The next project period starts in May 2013 and the process of prioritising which projects will be resourced starts now (March).

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
Custom student databases for centres PhD training centres such as the Neuroinformatics DTC and the 10 or so proposed CDTs need to keep track of a variety of information about their students, such as their publications, conference posters presented, projects, destinations after graduation, etc. Currently the DTC uses a custom MySQL database to store this information so that we can report it to our funders, but if there will soon be multiple CDTs, it would make sense to have a shared provision for storing and curating this student data, so that we can pull data from Theon, PURE, and/or EUCLID and so that Support doesn't end up having to work with multiple independent solutions. We propose that the Neuroinformatics DTC work with computing support staff to develop such a database as an example of how to support future PhD training centres, before those centres begin operation in 2014. Jim Bednar DTC Executive Committee  
Enhancing the projects.inf projects database This is a request to add a function to the projects.inf website to allow staff to nominate projects which they would like to second-mark. The added feature would be a list of projects by title (with optional student and supervisor information) and Yes, No, Maybe options from which authenticated Informatics users can select projects to second-mark. (By default, the setting is Maybe but users could set this to No for projects that they do not wish to second-mark, or Yes for projects which they do wish to second-mark.) The results would be stored in a convenient form to help the projects co-ordinator in assigning second-markers to projects. Stephen Gilmore Don Sannella  
Shared Academic Timetabling display We are obliged to present an individual timetable for students from AY 2013/2014 onwards. Our plan is to present info from our RBS onto displays in the foyers in AT. This project will implement this info display See    
Project submission Project to tie together project and dissertation submission for UG4 and possibly MSc and other project / materials storage. See rat-unit ITO?  
LCFG client - further cleanup Project to remove dependencies on obsolete modules (eg libxml). See mp-unit  
Virtualised DICE image - followon Project to continue work on Virtualised DICE See mp-unit  
Use LCFG to preconfigure Apple Macs A project to use LCFG to preconfigure Apple Macs - eg LaTeX , Kerberos, AFS, etc See mp-unit
AFS Automation Develop tools to automate various AFS tasks ( Services Unit    
TiBS component Improvements to the existing TiBS component ( Services Unit    
AFS Benchmarking Develop tool for AFS performance benchmarking ( Services Unit    
Bug Tracking Tool Improved Bug Tracking Tool ( Services Unit    
Data Archiving How best to meet the School's requirements for archiving data ( Services Unit    
Web space to AFS Move user and group web space from NFS to AFS ( Services Unit    
ERA/PR Enhancements Investigate how best to make use of the contents of ERA within the School ( Services Unit    
Investigate DNSsec At long last DNSsec is becoming more and more pervasive, and it's really time we took a proper look at it.. The main aim here is to review and report, though if there are small-scale changes which would help then they should be done along the way. Implementing signed zones is likely to be a bigger job, and would probably be best done in a project of its own later. 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     Follows on from #103
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. This would usefully complement #102 (intrusion detection) inf-unit     Follows on from #103
Full-service jabber Our current jabber not-a-service has a few rough edges. Bring it up to scratch. inf-unit     Perhaps more a services unit thing?
Monitoring System: Passive reporting scripts The existing Nagios monitoring system provides an interface for passive monitoring, but the implementation of any such monitoring is a distinct matter from the Nagios monitoring system software itself. Some passive monitoring has been implemented already, but it might benefit from being standardised (for example, with respect to the Kerberos principals used.) In addition, there is a need for passive monitoring of disk space usage. inf-unit    
OpenLDAP mdb backend Investigate and test the new mdb backend with OpenLDAP , with a view to using it on servers/clients. inf-unit    
OpenLDAP slapd-conf configuration For some time now, the recommended configuration for OpenLDAP has been to provide slapd configuration using slapd-config (i.e. storing the configuration in ldap itself), rather than in slapd.conf. The real difficulty with this may be incorporating it into LCFG. Support for slapd.conf is scheduled to be dropped in openldap 2.5. inf-unit    
Multicast routing Although our core routers are (apparently) capable of multicast support, our edge routers currently don't implement any multicast routing. As a result, Informatics users have no access to external multicast streams. Investigate and possibly implement multicast routing on our edge routers. inf-unit    
Examine options for two-factor authentication Examine the options for two-factor authentication. This could compare the methods of solving the problem (X509 versus OTP), and look at the various hardware devices available. inf-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 25th March 2013. Projects submitted after that date may not be considered for T2, but will be considered for T3 (September-December)

Projects are prioritised by the Director of Computing (Perdita Stevens), Head of Computing (Alastair Scobie), the computing unit heads (George Ross, Tim Colles, Alison Downie, Craig Strachan) and the School Administrator (Liz Elliot). The Informatics School Computing Plan drives project prioritisation, with other factors such as unplanned but high priority School requirements and expertise availability being taken into account.

-- TimColles - 11 Mar 2013

Topic revision: r7 - 08 Apr 2013 - 06:54:46 - AlastairScobie
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