BCG Status Updates

June 15 2015 - Python upgraded to 2.7.9

The default Python, /s/bin/python, has been updated to 2.7.9. All the usual scientific libraries have been upgraded along with it.

May 15, 2015 - Office 365 Transition

In June, DoIT will start their big push to move remaining email users (mostly faculty and staff) from the old email system to Office 365.

Though we are not yet ready to move the department to Office 365, we would like to let everyone know where we are in the process and to give you some things to think about in anticipation of this change.

The goal of campus is to have everyone consolidate their various email addresses into one. Though it will still be possible to have more than one email address, at the moment consolidation is the simplest option.

For those of you who are using a single address for everything (forwarding all the rest to this single address), moving from Wiscmail to Office 365 is very simple, since the process was designed to handle exactly this situation. The only thing you really have to worry about is how much mail you have and whether you have large attachments that need to be dealt with. We will help you with this when the time comes.

Some people, however, may be using multiple addresses for multiple purposes and will want to continue to do so. For example, biostat email for BMI department business and your email for other UW business. Some of you with appointments in more than one department may be using more than two addresses - one for each department and then your for other things.

If you want to continue using multiple addresses, you may certainly do so. However, there is currently a catch. While you can control your "service" email account (meaning your department-specific address) in most ways, there are a couple of things you cannot do yourself: change the password on the service account and set the forwarding. To do that, a mail domain administrator (one of us in BCG) has to help you by visiting you and logging onto the admin page where you can change the password. If this is a major problem for you, you may want to consider consolidating all your email accounts into one single account, where you do have total control.

Regardless of whether or not you consolidate, you will need to pick a primary identity for your calendar and the UW Whitepages.

We have been discussing with DoIT about coming up with a way to delegate password-changing to the person whose netID is linked to the service account, but so far, there's been no progress. At the moment DoIT is preoccupied with solving HIPAA/PHI matters for the SMPH transitions. Once that is addressed, we are hopeful they will find a way to deal with this service account password issue.

So, before moving to O365, you should think about whether or not you want to consolidate your accounts, and if you don't consolidate, you need to select a primary identity for the Calendar and UW Whitepages.

Feel free to send questions to We will be contacting people individually when it is about time to move their accounts, as well as making periodic updates to the BCG status blog.

April 27 2015, 3:00pm - File Server Slow-down (Resolved)

One of our file servers is exhibiting very odd network behavior, which makes some machines unable to talk to it.

Mostly this has affected /z/Comp and computational disk space. But the slow-down has caused some other services to slow down as a result, too. In particular the departmental web server may be a bit sluggish.

We have a workaround in place which may result in generally slower access to that server. We will leave that slower configuration in place until we can identify the cause of the more severe networking problem.

April 28, 2:00pm: the computational file server is back up to full network speed again.

Feb 12 2015 - Stata 13 available on Linux

Version 13 of Stata, regular and special edition, are now available on the Linux machines.

  • stata - command line basic Stata
  • xstata - basic Stata with a graphical interface
  • stata-se - command line "special edition" Stata
  • xstata-se - "special edition" Stata with a graphical interface

Nov 6 2014 - Python 2.7.6 Library Update: iPython Notebook, OpenFST

The /s/bin/python version 2.7.6 has recently been upgraded with some libraries:

  • SymPy
  • iPython - an interactive notebook interface to Python; using ipython notebook will open a browser window, giving enhanced graphical capabilities. The most important note: use SHIFT-RETURN to send a python command to the interpreter.
  • PyFST, an interface to the OpenFST weighted finite-state transducers library.

October 21 2014 - MSC SMI power outage Oct. 21

Campus electricians have scheduled a 3 hour electrical power outage of
the SMI and 420 N. Charter addresses, for Tuesday, October 21st, 2014,
from 4:00 am to 7:00 am. The transformers and switchgear will be taken
offline for cleaning. This outage has the potential to affect any
network switches at MSC during the outage window. If the outage takes
less time than the allotted 3 hours, the building(s) will be energized


October 10 2014 - CSC Scheduled Power Outages Oct 11 & 12

The hospital physical plant has scheduled a power outage in CSC H6/5 this weekend. First, there will be a 1-minute outage at 10:00PM Saturday night (10/11), then another 1-minute outage sometime between 5:00AM and 6:00AM Sunday morning (10/12).

If you do not have a UPS battery backup for your computer, it will go down. Before you leave today, it would be good to shut down your computer. It's better for a computer to be shut down nicely by you than to suddenly lose power and go down the hard way.

If you are planning to work remotely *on your desktop computer* from home this weekend, you may need to come in and turn your computer back on during the day on Sunday.

None of this will affect the servers located in our server room, so they will remain available throughout.

October 1 2014 - File Server Outage Oct 4, 9:00pm

What: All Biostat compute, file serving, and BCG condor resources
When: Sunday Oct 4, from 9pm to 10pm

Summary: The BCG requires an outage to all biostat file servers in order to apply patches to improve stability. Home directories and project/computational spaces will all be affected. The file servers for biostat will be unavailable Sunday Oct 4th starting at 9pm for a period of one hour.

If critical compute jobs need to be running during this outage please contact us ASAP.

September 29 2014 - MSC Power Outage (4am-7am)

From the NOC:

The Electric Shop is planning a power outage at MSC on Tuesday,
September 30, between 4:00 a.m and 7:00 a.m. This outage has the
potential to affect any of the network switches at MSC during the
outage window.

Long-running batch jobs on local MSC machines, as well as condor jobs submitted from local MSC machines, should probably be suspended until later in the morning of September 30th.