New Linstat Server

We are pleased to announce that we've added a new Linstat server to our Linux computing cluster, Linstat5. While the individual cores in Linstat5 aren't significantly faster than the other Linstats, Linstat5 has 36 cores while the others have 16. It also has slightly more RAM, 384GB rather than 320GB.

Linstat5 was purchased to better support the many SSCC researchers who have learned to take advantage of parallel processing on a single server (whether that's by using Stata MP16, R's parallel package, or the Matlab Parallel Computing Toolbox). Linstat5 will not run Stata MP16 any faster because it is still limited to 16 cores, but it can run two Stata MP16 jobs at the same time without them having to share cores. It can be faster for programs that can use all 36 cores—but we expect it will be in high demand. You're most likely to get the best performance by using the least busy Linstat server (see the next article).

Improvements to the Linstat Cluster

To make it easier to find the least busy Linstat server, we've replaced the old "round robin" system of assigning users to Linstat servers with a true load balancing system that sends you to the least busy server automatically. No more checking all the servers to find the best place to run your job!

In May 2014 we started requiring an an extra step to log into Linstat if you are outside the Madison area. We've now modified that policy to only require that exta step if you're outside the United States. This still blocks the vast majority of hacking attempts but will reduce the number of SSCC members affected.

Annual Licenses and the Campus Software Library

Some programs in the Campus Software Library, notably Stata, have an annual license that must be renewed every year. You can get new license codes by returning to the Campus Software Library and looking up the program again.

If you install a program using SSCC's Software Center, new licenses will be applied automatically. Your computer must log into the SSCC's domain to use Software Center.

Reserve the SSCC Computer Classroom ASAP

If you will be teaching a class in the spring and want to use the SSCC's Computer Classroom (3218) make your reservation ASAP. Reservations are given on a first-come first-served basis and demand for the room is steadily increasing. If we can't accommodate you in 3218 we can usually provide laptops from the SSCC Mobile Lab, but 3218 is usually more convenient for teaching.

Teaching Stata? Take Advantage of Stata for Students

If your Spring class uses Stata, SSCC's Stata for Students covers the basics of using Stata and the most common statistical commands so you don't have to create your own materials. We still have a few items left for our initial target classes (Soc 357 and 360, Econ 310 and 410) but if you'd like the commands used in your class covered, contact the Help Desk and we'll add them to the list.

Tip: Better Ways to Share a File than Attaching it to an Email

If you need to share a file with a lot of people—whether that's the latest data set or the latest baby pictures—there are many alternatives that are just as easy as attaching the file to an email but won't slow down the recipient's email program.

If you have a full SSCC member account, you can put a file on the web simply by placing it in your Z:\PUBLIC_web folder. It's then available to anyone in the world at{username}/{filename} (for example, Put that URL in your email, and readers can open the file with one click.

There are lots of file sharing services that give you more control, such as choosing who should be able to view the file or even allowing others to edit it. You should only store files related to university business using services that UW-Madison has an agreement with that protects intellectual property, privacy, etc. but such agreements exist for Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive, and Box. Log into them with your email address. (The UW-Madison agreement only applies if you use your UW-Madison account.) However, none of these services are appropriate for sensistive or restricted data.