Technology Services director Glen Miller and his team are working
to eliminate barriers between the Medical Center and University
assures computing infrastructure
by Mary Beth
As director of Vanderbilts Information Technology Services,
Glen Miller sees his contribution to the Medical Centers bioinformatics
program as part and parcel of the ITS core mission: to support the
computer infrastructure of the entire University.
ITS makes itself useful to the medical center in several ways,
Miller says. Highest on the list of priorities is providing the
best possible data network facilities between research partners
and facilities within and outside of Vanderbilt.
I think that working with Network Computing Services, which
provides the network backbone in the Medical Center buildings, we
are on a very sound path of building the Medical Center and the
University networks as one network in structure, he says.
We want to try to eliminate the barriers between the two and
to make it easier for folks to cross disciplines in their research
and to share resources. Its taken a while, but I think thats
In addition, the group is intent on providing scientific computing
and storage facilities by nurturing collaborative initiatives among
researchers. Staffers Mary Dietrich and Alan Tackett are working
on finding new ways to fund expansion of VAMPIRE, the high-speed,
multi-processor computing system housed at ITS. Dietrich is the
ITS Academic Liaison and Tackett is director of VAMPIRE. Due to
the explosive needs of researchers for storing things
like MRI data, Miller says, the staff is working on ways to dramatically
beef up storage capability, including the formation of coalitions
for purchasing tape storage.
Miller believes ITS also serves the more general role of being
an aggregate point for researchers with unmet needs.
For example, the group is working on ways to improve online delivery
and version tracking of software, including variations of the UNIX
The issues of concern with UNIX-type operating systems including
LINUX, which is used widely on campus are those of security.
According to Miller, users need to understand and protect themselves
from the inherent security risks, and those risks vary as software
Its not necessarily that anyone else in the outside
world wants access to their information, he explains, its
just that Vanderbilt has this great big, fat pipeline to the Internet
and when we have these powerful computers sitting here, its
a wonderful target for people to take over some of that resource
for their own purposes.
For more information or to contact ITS, visit http://www.vanderbilt.edu/its/about.php.