About CATS

We are:

  • Tony Caldanaro: Program Director; Head CAT; Apple System Admin – x3719, Bass Hall 109
  • Steve Davis: Associate Program Director; Windows System Admin – x6328, Bass Hall 108
  • Frank Citino: Systems Administrator & Instructor; Mac, WordPress & Graphics expert – x6329, Bass Hall 110a
  • Suzanne Palmer: Linux Systems Administrator & Instructor; MySQL expert – x3757, Bass Hall 110b

Why are we here?

The “CATS of Science” are an agile, dynamic, proactive, progressive, innovative and fun IT team (decentralized) charged with supporting the high-end needs of the faculty, students, and staff in the Sciences, Engineering, and Mathematics (Divison 3) at Smith College. Division 3 (Div3) has need of rather specialized technologies to support their academic mission. Whether it’s software to design and stress-test a bridge truss, control systems to operate a nuclear magnetic resonance spectrometer, desktop and server-based tools for statistical analysis, or workstations for teaching the next generation of computer scientists, our job is to support the distinctive needs of scholarship, research, teaching, and learning in this quadrant of the campus.

Our relationship with ITS

We complement the various departments of ITS to provide what is beyond their scope, but we do NOT replace them. While we strive to provide a high level of service for ALL technology questions/requests, there is a general rule of thumb for our core responsibilities. If a department of ITS provides a service to the other academic divisions, they also provide it to Div3. If the technology is outside the scope of ITS, it’s a question for CATS. For example, the IT Support Center answers questions about Microsoft Office for anyone on campus. But Linux on the desktop is unique to Div3, so that would fall directly to the CATS. And faculty in other divisions generally do not have computers in research labs to worry about, so support of lab machines is the CATS’ responsibility. Many services supported by CATS for Div3 are also used campus-wide. Founded on the need to support Linux servers and web hosting CATS now also supports Windows and OS X servers. This in turn facilitated need for a Science server room — now named the Bass Data Center which hosts ITS and Science Center servers and network gear. Some of servers supported by CATS provide database and High Performance Computing (HPC) services to the entire campus.

 

Some Specific Things We Worry About

  • Computers in computer classrooms/labs & research labs in Science Center buildings
  • Bass Data Center
  • Servers that support Div3 computing infrastructure
  • Networking Infrastructure in the Science buildings
  • High Performance Computing (HPC)
  • Data Storage and preservation (including offsite backup)
  • Software unique to the domain of the natural sciences, engineering, mathematics & statistics
  • Software installed in computer classrooms, labs & research spaces
  • Shared printers and plotters throughout the Science Center
  • Network, server, and workstation security
  • System reliability and capacity
  • Servers that support computer imaging and client management
  • Software License Manager Server that covers all of campus

 

What is CSEC?

CSEC stands for the Center for Science and Engineering Computing. CSEC is primarily staffed by the CATS group.  The main goal of CSEC is to provide scientific computing outreach, technical training, computer literacy. [CSEC will likely be phased out; CATS branding is too good]

CSEC Primary Mission: Develop introductory and advanced lectures, tutorials and/or short courses in the use and application of scientific computing in the context of undergraduate science and engineering education.