BCG Status Updates

Dec 21 2015 - "Identity Finder" software required by CIO

The Office of the CIO for the UW has mandated that we must scan all UW-owned computers in the department for restricted data — in this case, Social Security Numbers.

For this, the CIO's office has gotten a campus license for software called "Identity Finder" which we (meaning BCG) must install, run, and report the results of to them. We are using our update manager, called Tivoli Endpoint Manager, to remotely deplay the Identity Finder client software.

This software only runs on Windows and OSX, so if you have only Linux, you won't see Identity Finder. The rest of you, however, may notice a new item called Identity Finder among your programs. If you put a USB flash drive in your PC or Mac, a window may open up asking if you want to scan it with Identity Finder. You can say "no" to that, and also tell it to not ask every time you use removable media like flash drives.

If you want the details, here is the PDF.

But basically, all Schools, Colleges, Divisions, Departments, Centers, and other units of UW-Madison must at least annually find, reduce, protect, and report the storage locations of UW-Madison Restricted Data related to the unit's business, including Restricted Data stored by contractors or other entities or persons associated with the unit.

The Restricted Data Management policy will initially only apply to UW-Madison Social Security Numbers (SSN's) during the period from January 1st 2015 through December 31st 2015. The initial period may be extended. The policy will eventually apply to all UW-Madison Restricted Data.

August 27 2015 - O365 Migrations and Web Requests

First, after years of service to the University and the Department of Biostatistics, Andrea Kapitan has fled to a warmer climate. Please send questions and requests about the departmental web site to rather than to her email address.

Second, DoIT has decided that as of September 15th, all email accounts must be moved to Office 365. If your account hasn't been moved by then, they'll start giving people a two-week notice before simply transferring the account on their schedule. You will want to have done this before DoIT decides to do it for you.

  • Bob Bailey will be available in WARF Mondays and Wednesdays.
  • He and Janet Lewis wlll be available this Thursday and Friday in the MSC (room 5720, but also available for Biotech).

Please email us at to schedule a time to make the conversion to O365.

The conversion itself is fairly fast - about 15 minutes. However, we have found that it is best not to organize your folders at all for at least 24 hours after the conversion. Once that is done, you can manage your mail without difficulties. All of your mail readers (including laptops and mobile devices) will need to be reconfigured to speak to O365, as well.

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