CNAV Development Team Member Receives
Distinguished Young Alumna Award

During her undergraduate career, Jeannie Albrecht ’01 amassed several individual honors. She was a double Mathematics and Computer Science major, Phi Beta Kappa, and Class of 2001 Valedictorian. During her junior and senior years, she was also a member of the CNAV Development Team. Her particular assignment was to work on a VoIP (Voice communications and multimedia sessions over Internet Protocol) module for CNAV. This assignment set the direction for Jeannie's future graduate work and research in computer science. After graduating from Gettysburg, she began her PhD work at Duke University. In 2004, she followed her thesis adviser to the University of California, San Diego, where she completed her PhD in 2007. She is currently an Assistant Professor of Computer Science at Williams College and an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Computer Science at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. In July of 2009, she was awarded a $400,000 five-year CAREER grant from the National Science Foundation to study mobile application management. Because of her outstanding record of accomplishments, she was recognized by her alma mater as a Distinguished Young Alumna in June of 2011.

As noted earlier, Jeannie's interest in mobile applications had its roots in her work as part of the CNAV Team during her years at Gettysburg. During this time she worked closely with Professor Rodney Tosten, currently Vice President for IT, on distributed and mobile computing. This area is becoming more and more challenging to researchers and developers as mobile computing devices become pervasive. First it was laptop computers, then netbooks and iPads that added very powerful, light-weight, extremely convenient and portable devices to the mix. Now, there are an increasing number of mobile phones that do so much more than merely place and receive calls. They offer on-the-go internet capabilities. However, mobility comes at a price. There are issues such as areas of weak and erratic signals, network slow-down due to heavy traffic, and complete signal loss. Jeannie’s current research aims to develop a platform that will enable distributed application management despite network disruptions, evaluate algorithms for predictable resource scheduling to fairly provide access to shared mobile devices, and build a software toolkit to assist developers of mobile applications. She and her students at Williams are developing a middleware software layer that hides the problems of mobile networks from developers and users of applications. The results of her research have the potential to allow students and researchers at smaller institutions to experience the richness of large research institutions and gain hands-on experience with real distributed systems.

Jeannie is married to David Irwin, a research scientist at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, whom she met while both of them were graduate students at Duke. In addition to their academic research on mobile computing, she and David are working on a new project in their home for managing and lowering energy usage. They have monitors on every outlet and appliance in their home. Their goal is to reduce the spikes in energy use and level the usage curve by efficiently scheduling background devices, such as dehumidifiers and air re-circulators. This is an outgrowth of David's work on policy driven energy use in data centers that he is doing as part of his research at UMass.

Jeannie and David live in Williamstown, MA with their son Luke, born August 20, 2010, and dog, Lucy, who is still adapting to the cold weather and snow in Massachusetts.


Assignment Calculator
A Tool For Helping Researchers

Procrastination, the act of putting off until tomorrow what could be done today, is something nearly all of us do when faced with a task that we would rather not do or that originally seems to be overwhelming. It is a common condition on many college campuses where research projects abound. Inexperienced and novice researchers have problems organizing a major research project. They either put off the project to attend to more immediate concerns or they waste a lot of time because they do not know how to properly approach the task or how to organize their efforts. Whatever the case, one is usually left with a feeling that their best efforts are not represented by the end result. A necessary requirement for any researcher is learning how to start a project and break it into manageable tasks with specific deadlines leading to the successful completion of the project. The members of the Reference and Instruction Department of Musselman Library are experts at organizing research projects and are readily available to share their expertise with all members of the Gettysburg College community.

The Reference and Instruction Librarians always been available to assist members of the campus community by helping individuals set research goals and organize their projects. More recently, Department Director, Janelle Wertzberger, together with Reference and Instruction Librarian, Clinton Baugess, identified five major sub-tasks for completing a project successfully. The sub-tasks are: Identify Your Topic; Brainstorm; Gather Information; Focus Your Research ; and, finally, Write Your Paper. The entire department contributed to the writing of web pages to help students carry out each of these tasks. This web site is called Doing Research. Of course, the reference librarians were always available for personal consultation and guidance sessions. While the department members were helping a number of people complete their projects, they still believed that a more efficient and easily accessible tool was needed. It was at this point when they enlisted the aid of the Department's Web Services Librarian, Jessica Howard, and IT Web Applications Programmer, Eric Markle. Their task was to develop the Assignment Calculator that is linked to the library's web services page. This calculator establishes concrete deadlines for each of the sub-tasks to be completed and references the existing Doing Research pages as well as some supporting videos (see example below). The user is also offered the opportunity to receive an e-mail containing the sub-tasks and deadlines and the opportunity to set up an individual appointment with a Reference Librarian.

Jessica examined similar projects at other colleges to provide guidelines for setting deadline dates for completing the essential subprojects. She also field tested the alpha and beta copies of the Assignment Calculator with select groups of students. Working with Jessica, Eric used the J-query tool from the JavaScript Tool Box to develop an interactive web page that students can use to apply the Assignment Calculator to their project. Beginning this semester students can refer to a link found on the Musselman Library Student Services page, enter their name, project topic, and the date the project is due. They will then be shown a time line similar to the one shown below that is specific to their particular project. The users have the option to request that the time line be sent to them via e-mail and also to request an individual appointment with a reference librarian for further help with their topic. In this way the Reference Department Librarians hope that they can couple their expertise with web technology for extending their valuable resources and knowledge to a wider segment of the campus community, thus further supporting the academic mission of Gettysburg College.



Keys to IT’s Disaster Recovery
Backup and Redundancy

The news of the spring and summer of 2011 can be characterized by one word - disaster. The United States and the rest of the world experienced massive earthquakes, tsunamis, hurricanes, tornadoes, and floods. All of these disasters left havoc and ruin in their wake together with death and injury. What if some disastrous event impacted Gettysburg and the campus? What is the chain of command for managing the campus response and recovery? What preparations and procedures are in place? How prepared is IT to restore the vital processes of campus that it impacts? These and many other questions are spelled out in the Campus Emergency Operations Plan (CEOP) located in the Emergency Preparedness Section at the Department of Public Safety's website:

/about/offices/it/it_newsletter/Sept-2011/emoplan.pdf

This plan is regularly reviewed and modified by the Campus Emergency Response Team consisting of members of the President's Council and approximately 15 others in key positions at the college. The plan is in compliance with federal emergency response regulations and several members of CERT have received training in emergency preparedness and response at the Federal Emergency Management Institute (part of FEMA) at Emmitsburg, Maryland. Rodney Tosten, Vice President for IT, and Michael Hayden, Director of Infrastructure & Computing, represent IT on CERT. Hayden has taken a number of additional courses dealing with Emergency Response and Disaster Recovery at the Emergency Management Institute and online.

Vice President Tosten noted that the IT response is focused on backup and redundancy. Data in the applications core, of which PeopleSoft files are a prime example, are backed up more than once a day. IT also has multiple servers located in several buildings across campus. The campus network can handle the partial or even the complete loss of one server room without experiencing much of an interruption of service. In fact, the loss may not even be noticeable. The photo (at right) shows one rack of servers among several racks located in a server room. The IT recovery strategy is based on the loss of several servers. This is where the redundancy factor becomes so important. While maintaining several servers may be expensive, their existence in the time of a major disaster may prove to be invaluable.

In the event of a disaster, the IT strategy is to first restore the network infrastructure. The next step is to reestablish campus communications such as e-mail then core applications and their valuable data restored from one of the remaining operable servers. Finally, the remaining applications and data will be restored. The entire strategy is focused on bringing back the core as soon as possible.

While it is certainly the hope that the CEOP never needs to be implemented, IT's policy of backup and redundancy together with a strong plan for reinstating the campus network stands ready to reinstate the college's valuable applications and data.





Summer At The Quarry


Building Connections Across Campus