Among 15 Colleges Collaborating to Test Concept of Shared
Virtual Computing Lab
Texas—Fifteen colleges and universities, including
Smith have agreed to jointly test and evaluate a proof-of-concept
model for a shared virtual computing laboratory. The Collaborative
Virtual Computing Laboratory (LabSTOR)—led by Allegheny
College, Harvey Mudd College, Middlebury College, and Occidental College—has
spearheaded the collaborative effort. The National Institute for Technology in
Liberal Education (NITLE) will manage the proof-of-concept exploration, working
in close coordination with LabSTOR.
Smith joins participating schools
Allegheny College, Carleton College, Colorado College, Harvey
Mudd College, Kenyon College, Luther College, Middlebury
College, Millersville University, Occidental College, Rollins
College, University of Richmond, Wesleyan University, Wheaton
College (Massachusetts), and Whitman College.
Late this fall
and continuing through spring of next year, virtual computing
laboratory (VCL) software will be fully implemented in an
inter-institutional ”private cloud” and made available to participating
institutions for testing and evaluation. A small-scale but robust test of sharing
virtual computing resources between institutions at a national level, the proof
of concept aims to demonstrate the potential of the software and the efficiencies
that can be created by resource sharing, particularly among smaller institutions.
It also aims to define associated hardware needs for future growth.
goal of the LabSTOR project is to create a resource broadly
available to nonprofit institutions of higher education.
By pooling resources from multiple institutions, the project
seeks to develop high-quality, cost-effective virtual computing
particular, a shared, private cloud focused on supporting teaching and learning.
It also seeks to create an active community of participants and an independent
nonprofit organization, governed by its members, that will continue development
and maintenance of a widely shared infrastructural resource.
"For liberal arts colleges,
increasing student and faculty access to software and high-
performance computing services is key," said Pamela McQuesten,
vice president, information resources, and chief information
officer at Occidental College and member of the LabSTOR project’s
interim steering committee. "An inter-institutional
approach to lab virtualization will also help colleges save
on costs, whether they are capital costs, software licensing,
or labor costs related to building lab images. Especially
in the area of licensing costs, we believe that working together
can benefit all of the colleges involved."
"At NITLE, we are especially
pleased to be part of this project because it demonstrates
how liberal arts institutions can collaborate to research
and address problems common across our institutions," said
Eric Jansson, director of NITLE labs. "This
project addresses operational efficiencies and if successful
will result in improved access that benefits students."
a collaborative project focused on building a shared virtual
computing laboratory (VCL) that allows member campuses to
make software applications remotely available to their students
and faculty. The project seeks to reduce the need to invest
in local computing infrastructure (which is often underutilized),
and also intends to help reduce costs in configuring and
maintaining complex software images for installation in local
computing labs. LabSTOR’s
goal is to provide participating institutions with access
to High Performance Computing resources in a shared environment.
The project is based on successful similar projects at North
Carolina State and the George Mason University.
the National Institute for Technology in Liberal Education
helps liberal arts colleges integrate inquiry, pedagogy,
and technology. NITLE works to enrich undergraduate education
and strengthen the liberal arts tradition. Established in
2001 with support from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, NITLE
is the key organization for liberal arts institutions seeking
to engage students in the unique learning experience that
liberal education provides and to use technology strategically
to advance the liberal-arts mission.