INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY AND ELECTRONICS

Head: Univ.Prof. Dr. Manfred Drosg

Lecturers:

MR Dr. Hans-Peter Axmann

Dr. Björn Brezger

Mag. Dr. Klaus Coufal

Dr. Herbert Hörtlehner

Dr. Peter Knoll

Ao. Prof. Dr. Martin Neumann

Walter Penits

Mag. Rudolf Pfeiffer

Ao. Prof. Dr. Georg Reischl

Georg Christler-Temnitschka

Dr. Aron Vrtala

Ulrich Kiermayr

Mag.Dr. Rudolf Karch

 

Thirty Years of

Computer Sciences

In the summer semester of 1972 Dr. Hermann Bodenseher held the first formal course in computer sciences, titled "Prozess-Steuerung". So, in this reporting period our institute concluded its 30th year of teaching computer science.

High lights in teaching computer sciences at the Institute for Experimental Physics, formerly First Physics Institute, were:

SS 1972: first formal course, 3 hours/week

WS 1979/80: starting the practical course with microprocessors

WS 1982/83: in recognition of the importance of computer sciences for the science faculty Univ.Doz. Dr. Manfred Drosg becomes associate professor with the task to coordinate the teaching of computer sciences at the institute

WS 1983/84 and SS 84: the institute is the backbone (both in equipment and lecturers) in two weeklong courses for high school teachers, organized by the faculty. This was done at passive terminals, first in the Elektronik- Praktikum, then in the Terminalraum which were connected to the VAX-750, provided by the Prozessrechenanlage Physik of the Rechenzentrum (central computing facility) of the University of Vienna.

First courses in Parallel Computing held by M.Neumann on a dedicated array processor attached to a PDP11 (FPS floating point systems) designed for FFT with extensive pipelining features.

WS 1985/86: First PC-based class room for computer sciences at the faculty of science, called P-Labor. Even university-wide it was one of very few. Consequently students from all over the university attended our beginners' practical courses (a maximum of 171 in the WS 1988/89)

1986 to 2000: Main contributor to Universitätslehrgang "Informatik für Lehramtskandidaten". Thus each year the Senate of the University financed several additional courses in computer sciences for that purpose.

WS 1988/89: The new PC classroom has now 10 computers. First courses in UNIX are offered. For this task our institute managed to get one of the first Risc-based computer (IBM-RS6000) in Austria for our workstation laboratory (called Terminal- Raum). (The RS6000 was one of the first to use RISC-processors getting higher performance by using a Reduced Instruction Set Code.)

Parallel computing is now taught on an experimental multiprocessor system (INMOS Transputer).

WS 1990/91: An increase of the computer number in the P-Labor to 14 and the availability of computer experts at the institute makes it possible to carry out 70% of the introductory courses university-wide and 38% of ALL courses in computer sciences faculty-wide (consisting of 29 institutes!) In this semester 37 hours of formal computer sciences teaching was offered.

First teaching of object oriented programming (C++) at our institute.

1995: The PC classroom could be enlarged to its present size. Internet applications and Fuzzy Logic are new fields to be taught.

1996: First teaching of JAVA at our institute.

2000: Universitätslehrgang "Informatik für Lehramtskandidaten" is terminated. From now on teaching is concentrating on physics students. A substantial cut in the number of courses is the consequence.

WS 2000/2001: The new course "Publizieren im Internet" is offered.

SS 2001: The decade-long teaching effort in the programming language FORTRAN was honored by the computer company COMPAQ by donating us their program package VISUAL FORTRAN (see http://www.COMPAQ.com/FORTRAN/visual/donation-thanks.html)

WS 2001/2002: The new lecture "Security im Internet" gets much attention faculty-wide.

2002: Prof. Drosg finishes twenty years of organizing the teaching of computer sciences. It is expected that Prof. Dellago will take over this task after Prof. Drosg's retirement.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT:

This jubilee is a good occasion not only to thank the present teaching staff (see header) but also all lecturers of the past. They all have contributed to this endeavor by their knowledge and their willingness to give their best, sometimes under poor working conditions. These latter were unavoidable during the pioneering times.

The past lecturers are listed in historical sequence:

Dr. Hermann Bodenseher - Hans-Michael Schindler - Dr. Wolfgang Weber - Dr. Franz Vesely - Franz Windbichler - Mag. Peter Karlsreiter - Dr. Hans-Peter Axmann - Dr. Andreas Lindner - Peter Ranisch - Mag. Dr. Manfred Wöhrl - Dr. Wolfgang Winklmayr - Mag. Peter Flener - Mag. Franz Frühwirth - Mag. Alexander Sarras - Michael Winterstein - Mag. Andreas Schamanek - Dr. Peter Marksteiner - Dr. Heinz Kabelka - Dr. Gregor Weihs

STATUS REPORT:

To improve and streamline the computational science part of the physics curriculum we are teaching both FORTRAN and C in one class (UE 2 hours, Lektor Penits) and for science freshmen a course called "Scientific computing" (VO+UE 4 hours, Prof. Neumann, Dr. Karch), stressing programming languages (FORTRAN, C, Mathematica), basic algorithms (from simple equations through Monte Carlo applications) and various skills (UNIX, Gnuplot, LATEX). A script for this course can be found in the tutorial section of our web-server (http://www.exp.univie.ac.at/inst/skripten.html).

Like in the past, external lecturers held the majority of courses so that new developments could be covered sooner. Additional physics connected teaching of computer sciences was done by the Computational Physics Group and within the general curriculum of physics students.

The local PC Class Room Web-Server is behind a firewall making students' homework via Internet rather inconvenient. But this cannot be helped. In the PC Class Room 14 PCs are connected under Novell Netware 5.x working alternately under the operating systems MS-DOS, Windows NT or LINUX. During the reporting period some of the hardware was updated. In addition to a printer and a data scanner there is a Philips Multimedia Projector (Videobeamer) available with XGA-Resolution and 1500 ANSI Lumen.

For lecturing special topics in the field of scientific number crunching (mainly parallel computing/ network computing) there is not only our old Transputer Board System available (mainly to demonstrate flexible/different topologies), but also a Linux-Cluster with 16 Alpha-Processors (each 4 of them grouped in one machine with locally shared memory - suitable for SMP Applications), and our state-of-the-art educational Beowulf-Cluster with five dedicated Linux-MPI PCs based on Athlon technology which resides in our workstation laboratory (WS-Lab). The latter cluster teaches computational physics students how to use today's High-Performance-Computing (HPC) systems like e.g. the "Schroedinger I" cluster (see http://www.univie.ac.at/nic) owned by the faculty and the computing center.

This year we implemented a distributed computing systems called Condor http://www.cs.wisc.edu/condor/ in our PC-Lab. The idea behind Condor is simple. It matches computational jobs of any computer user with spare computing power in other owners' computers. Condor acts as a matchmaker between the jobs and the machines by pairing the requirements of a job with the available resources of a set of machines (the rule set is highly customizable).

Our cluster (see http://condor.exp.univie.ac.at/, for users behind the ZID-firewall, only) consists of a Linux central manager and NT/W2k clients (mainly from our PC-Lab) connected by our LAN. Around the clock it is used mainly for jobs requiring much CPU time like Monte Carlo based Research Activities. Using normal user workstations is very cost-effective because such workstations are used by their owners, even in prime time to less than 5% of the time, as can be seen in the CPU usage graph of June 2002 displayed here. (Ian Foster, the guru on Grid-Computing, calls systems like Condor a "first-generation" computing Power Grid http://www.globus.org/). This new type of number crunching is also called HTC (high throughput computing).

CPU usage graph of our Condor system in June 2002 (green: total Condor, blue: total idle, red: total owner use).

Contrary to HPC (which is based on dedicated, homogenous, high-end systems which have a well known performance expressed in operations/second) HTC is based on non-dedicated, heterogeneous, and distributed systems, connected via normal networks allowing only a statistically description of the performance (e.g. floating point operations per month).

The Workstation ClassRoom in the building Sensengasse 8 is used for Practical Courses, and for Diploma works in the field of Computational Physics. There are two clusters with classical "workstations" available: a DEC Alpha-Cluster with a DEC 3000-400 and five DEC 3000-300Ls under OpenVMS. However, teaching there is now mainly done under a PC-based multi-processor LINUX Computer.

Aside from the local computers, those of the local branch of the Central Computing Division of the University of Vienna (AP des ZID der Universität Wien) running under UNIX, or any other computer accessible via INTERNET (like the OPEN-VMS cluster of the Institute) are available for all students working either in the PC Class Room or the Workstation Class Room.

SERVERS OF THE INSTITUTE:

Since March 1995 the Institut für Experimentalphysik has been present in World Wide Web (WWW) with the address: http://www.exp.univie.ac.at. This service was made possible by the endeavor of Prof. Neumann who is still in charge of it and who is spending some of his valuable time on rather frequent updates of it.

Recently, Mr. Penits has implemented an LDAP-Server ldap.exp.univie.ac.at, and at the request of the Institutskonferenz a bulletin board http://forum.exp.univie.ac.at/ for the institute. This service is hosted on the secure web server of the local ZID (central computing facility) branch, is worldwide accessible and is connected to the local ZID-User database for access authorization control.