Increasing efficiency through IT


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Not even a forum on technology with dozens of IT professionals is exempt from technical difficulties.

Near the end of the annual University of Iowa Tech Forum, one of the presenters struggled for several minutes to get a laptop to properly hook up, a spectacle that drew laughter from the crowd and required the help of two other IT professionals.

The theme of Monday’s all-day forum was efficiency and transformation in higher education internet technology.

The forum was kicked off by Steve Fleagle, the UI associate vice president for Information Technology Services, who gave an overview of the progress in becoming a more efficient and effective department.

One of the main events for the forum was a panel discussion on IT efficiency initiatives. The panel, consisting of representatives from the UI, University of Northern Iowa, Iowa State, and the University of Michigan, discussed the need for increased expansion and advancement in university ITS departments.

The other featured session was a presentation on advancements made by the Iowa Flood Center by Witold Krajewski, the director of the center.

The center is the nation’s first academic center devoted to floods and flood prevention.

Krajewski said the flood center has been using high-performance computing to help warn communities about flooding dangers in their area.

“At the Flood Center, we do this through experimentation and modeling, as well as the measurement of water at different times and locations,” he said.

Krajewski said the benefit of the center is officials can monitor smaller areas of heavy rainfall that can turn into flooding.

He said the Flood Center’s information system has helped monitor and predict, among other things, future flooding.

The system is an interactive web platform for the public to access community-based flood conditions, forecasts, flood-related data, and information.

The forum also featured breakout sessions, each showcasing IT developments throughout the university.

Many of these sessions focused on the development of the OneIT@Iowa program, a group of projects designed to address the four IT business cases approved by the state Board of Regents for increasing collaboration among Iowa's three state universities.

Guy Falsetti, the project leader of the Data Center and Server project — a OneIT@Iowa program — said the current goal of the project is to increase ITS’ ability to quickly provide resources, create faster data transfer called “cloud smart strategy,” as well as increased layers of security to protect both intellectual property and academic research.

This project will work to consolidate the 36-plus server rooms on campus into four centrally governed and supported multi-tenant data centers.

Just one of the many benefits of this project, Falsetti said, “[is] the target goal to achieve net-negative energy growth from 2010 to 2020 despite projected campus growth.”

Mike Noel, a team leader of the Business Intelligence Program for OneIT@Iowa said the forum is a great way to develop relationships.

“Helping to develop and model connections among professors and administrators via their collaborative research has been one of the most important parts of this forum,” he said.

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