Currently this is basically just a paste from the file I was typing into at CSG. Tidying up in progress from me - and you?

Initials indicate the contributor; no initial means either me, or everyone, or indeterminate.


  • academic (including contract research staff for this purpose)
  • student (ug/pg)
  • admin (including ITO, finance, HR,...)
  • computing
  • academic visitor


As an actor, I (as a non-research-compute-intensive standard academic) want use cases we might call:

access network, wireless [and wired]

conveniently read and edit files [i.e. all relevant viewers and editors - emacs,
pdfviewer, graphics file viewers and editors, stuff for reading MS
documents, sound, video... stuff in a std Linux distribution almost
covers it but there will be some other stuff...]

IS: edit MS documents

recover lost files [i.e. reliable backups]

write talks and papers [stuff above, plus LaTeX , Metafont,...]

write presentations, lectures and other teaching material, inc. videos, screencasts

write, get approved and submit grant applications

collaborate with colleagues, here or not, on
- formal papers
- informal notes
- software

configuration manage papers, lectures etc., including with remote people

set up a meeting, including booking a room for it (ideally, not just during office hours)

read web

write web pages and put them where (certain) other people can read them

write and run and distribute programs in various languages, various versions



arrange tutorials and other meetings with students (inc. by course/role/my responsibilities) - named groups not individuals...

set and mark work and submit marks and give feedback

set and mark online work and exams

check that the computing-based coursework I'm setting works as I expect

write and submit exams securely (preferably without having to queue
for a particular machine in fact!)

SK: do all of the above wherever I am (not just in the office) and from any machine (e.g., my Mac laptop)

attend and give online meetings/seminars (Skype or equivalent)

- SK: more sophisticated / better quality remote meetings too, multiparty, screen sharing (e.g., Citrix; hardware-based)

get prompt help when something doesn't work for me

-- I want to be able to do this all off-site in an adequately secure way

-- and I want to have some of my personal stuff and some of my work
stuff in the same place (unison)

Then there is a lot of information that I want to be available and up
to date when I need it, mostly on the web; that is, I want to be able to:


- or in some cases CRUD:

- student info (Euclid plus things not covered)

-- tutorial groups

-- examiners' meeting stuff

- staff info (rooms, phone numbers, web pages...)

- course info

- meeting info

- room booking info (ideally, I'd like to be able to book a room myself)

- SK: availability of visitor offices (up to 2 years ahead)

- seminar info

- recruitment info (securely; group file space...)

Some of this I also want to be able to update and make available to
the right people, e.g. course info.

Missing stuff:

heavy research computing

- SK: integration with ECDF services, mainly seamless file transfer, syncing disk space, authentication

- SK: local machine configured identically to ECDF worker nodes, for software test/debug/compile/link - virtual machine is OK

multicore and cluster computing

- SK: GPGPU machines locally

- SK: assuming continued good service from ECDF, no requirement for a local cluster (other groups will have different opinions I am sure)

hosting virtual machine clusters that might be very temporary, elastic
(IS/PA) ][Layer on top making this easy for users to
do... possibilities exist...]

keeping things visible, archiving - e.g., course web pages for
previous instantiations, course software even harder; research data
following funder requirements;...

- SK: software & data downloads with proper download counting (e.g., for reporting in grant proposals)

- SK: central provision of the above is proably improving at the moment - make best use of that before local duplication

see other people's stuff, e.g. other courses that relate to mine
e.g. content of prerequisite courses as this cohort of students did

make research papers, software, people etc. visible and findable to
increase impact

mailing lists, more abstractly: communicate with groups of people who
are interested in some research or other topic

share calendar (IS)


- access to windows network machines, mostly via wired managed desktop machines, sometimes via wireless self managed laptops

- an ability touse files both personal and shared, and recover them if necessary.

- use of local 'roaming profile', providing access to home directories across a range of managed desktop machines.

- be able to access the full Windows suite of Word, Excel, Powerpoint etc, also access to Adobe Reader.

- very occasional use of emacs, pdfviewer, etc

- access to local web editing systems, via seamonkey, cvs, plone, drupal etc.. a limited group also need polopoly access for the editing of UoE pages.

- full EASE access; giving links to EUCLID, Oracle, PURE, ERE, WRB, VRS, all financial systems, BOXI etc... and associated software for corporate system requirements.

- access to RT, Theon, the 2G Database, RBS, Webmark and other local systems.

- online external access; to Google, Doodle, etc

- staffmail access, usually using Thunderbird, but also the ability to access exceed via Oracle (currently this is a personal preference, with the majority using Thunderbird).

- access to print and scanning facilities, both in AT and IF.

- VPN permissions, enabling those who wish to work away from their desk/office to be able to do so.

- support in all of the above, either from local computing colleagues, or from central IS services, dependant on the service.

Misc notes


Future requirements - trends, how may things change?

Different philosophies of working, e.g. preferring to self-manage vs
wanting stuff provided?

Two questions:
What are requirements?
How are these requirements met?

-- PerditaStevens - 24 Jul 2012

Topic revision: r4 - 19 Feb 2013 - 10:31:13 - Main.neil
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