Info Services

Information Services

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Observatory-wide Computing Overview

Observatory-wide computing is managed by the Information Services division, which oversees operational computing issues that support the multiple NRAO sites. This includes planning, policy, standards (for software, hardware, and system administration), computer security, allocation of budget, hardware & software support, Web services, telecommunications, computer staff training, inter-site computing travel, procurements, and maintenance contracts.

Scientific computing and post-processing software development falls under the Data Management and Software (DMS) Division (e.g., CASA, GBTIDL, the ALMA CPT) along with High Performance Computing and parallel applications development.

Common Computing Environment

A vigorous and active collaboration process known as the Common Computing Environment (CCE) serves to keep the computing environments for all platforms on a similar (often nearly identical) footing at all major NRAO (North American*) sites, to provide a mostly hassle-free experience for staff who visit another site. It also enables sharing of expertise between system administrators, and has substantial staff overlap with Scientific Information Services in DMS. Weekly coordination  meetings are held via video-conference, and an annual sysadmin workshop ensures very effective communication between the staff at each site.

* While JAO is not a formal partner in our CCE efforts, we communicate with them and share advice, expertise, and more.

Organization

NRAO computing responsibilities are separated into Scientific Information Services (SIS) reporting through the CIO to the AD for Data Management & Software and day-to-day Computing Operations IT support, coordinated by Computing and Information Services (CIS) reporting through the CIO to the Associate Director for Administration. Financial Systems are managed by MIS.

The organizational structure for CIS, is aligned with that of business administration. The site directors and project heads have day-to-day responsibility for the computing personnel who report to them. However, they are responsible to the CIO for activities performed by their employees through the Common Computing Environment.


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