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09/26/2016

Academic Year Welcome from the President

The most impressive feature of Caltech to me is the Institute's spirit of reinvention. Members of our community switch fields, make abrupt turns in career directions, if the problem to be solved is fundamental, entrancing, and impactful. This ethos not only leads to new ways of understanding and manipulating nature—geobiology, quantum information, medical engineering, to name a few recent examples—but it also sustains a powerful culture of fearlessness and ambition.

The start of a new academic year is in itself an act of reinvention. High school students morph into masters of the problem set, upperclassmen emerge from the Core to define their own intellectual pursuits, our graduate students transform into faculty colleagues, staff members help the research enterprise hum by stepping in wherever needed. The autumn quarter is a time when the rhythm of academic life quickens and so much seems possible.

It is also a time that requires intentionality. The poet Wislawa Szymborska reminds us that: When I pronounce the word Future, / the first syllable already belongs to the past. It takes an act of will to focus on the big ideas, to challenge ourselves to push forward into new territory rather than to settle for the familiar.

Caltech's history has been marked by a gimlet-eyed focus on issues that matter by people committed to creating knowledge for the ages and inventing technologies that transform the human experience. This year is the Institute's quasquicentennial, and we as a community have the opportunity to write new chapters in Caltech's history consonant with its greatest ambitions and highest values.

There is urgency to this quest given tendencies in society at large to reject unfettered inquiry and devalue scientific approach and understanding. As Szymborska also writes: The next day / promises to be sunny, / although those still living / should bring umbrellas. It is only by living up to our aspirations, challenging each other's thoughts through rigorous argument and opening ourselves to a diversity of perspectives, that we will refine our ideas and make substantive progress. I wish you a year of reinvention, discovery, and sunshine.

Sincerely,

Thomas F. Rosenbaum
Sonja and William Davidow Presidential Chair and Professor of Physics

09/23/2016

Dr. Jennifer Howes Named Director of Health and Counseling Services

Please join me in congratulating Dr. Jennifer Howes on her promotion to Director of Health and Counseling Services. Jennifer has very ably served as the acting Director for the past eight months and had been a Staff Psychologist and Liaison to Residential Life at Caltech since 2011. Jennifer holds a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and has extensive experience in working with our students as well as the larger Caltech community.

The resources and services provided by the Health and Counseling Centers are essential components of our approach to providing a safe and healthy environment at Caltech. The leadership of the Director and the efforts of our dedicated staff are key factors in creating and maintaining this environment. I am looking forward to continuing my work with Jennifer and her team, and supporting the ongoing development of Health and Counseling Services.

 

Joseph E. Shepherd
Vice President for Student Affairs;
C. L. "Kelly" Johnson Professor of Aeronautics and Mechanical Engineering

09/23/2016

Kevin Gilmartin Appointed as Dean of Undergraduate Students

I am pleased to announce that Kevin Gilmartin, Professor of English, has been appointed the Dean of Undergraduate Students effective July 1, 2016. Kevin is an accomplished scholar and author who brings to this position twenty-five years of experience in teaching and mentoring our students. A recipient of Caltech's highest honor in teaching, the Feynman Prize, Kevin has shown a keen interest in the welfare of our undergraduate students in and outside of the classroom. I look forward to working with Kevin. Please join me in welcoming him to the Undergraduate Dean's office.

I thank Barbara Green for her outstanding efforts as the Interim Dean over the past year. Barbara will be returning to her regular position as Associate Dean in July. We are indebted to her for her work with our students and service to the Institute. Please join me in thanking her for being so willing and committed to the success of our undergraduate student body.

 

Joseph E. Shepherd
Vice President of Student Affairs
C. L. "Kelly" Johnson Professor of Aeronautics and Mechanical Engineering

08/17/2016

Facilities Service Request Process Changes August 29

Starting August 29, 2016, there will be a new website for submitting routine service requests to the Facilities Department at Caltech.

The AiM Customer Portal is a self-service, flexible, customer access point for submitting service requests, checking work order status, and reviewing cost information.

The AiM Customer Portal will be available via access.caltech.edu starting Monday, August 29th. You may use this portal for submitting requests for facilities maintenance, event support, chauffeur trips, Graphic Resources print jobs, Security building access and other Facilities services.

For more information regarding the AiM Implementation, please see the presentation that was given at recent AiM Town Hall meetings or download the AiM brochure.

06/23/2016

Flex Alerts? What Are They and How Can I Help?

Summer heat waves combined with natural gas curtailments may cause rolling blackouts in Pasadena and the surrounding areas. Caltech and Pasadena Water and Power are working together to help minimize the impact to the Caltech community this summer.

Over the summer Flex Alerts may be declared as a call to conserve. If a Flex Alert is declared, please do your part to help by turning off unnecessary lights, appliances and other devices that consume electricity. Voluntary reductions during a Flex Alert can help us avoid blackouts.

For more tips on how to reduce energy usage and how to prepare for a rolling blackout, visit http://PWPweb.com/rollingblackouts.

04/29/2016

Techstock 2.0 Coming May 28th!

Announcing Techstock 2016, the latest and greatest edition of Caltech/JPL's very own Battle of the Bands!

This May 28th, come compete against your professors, Mars rover drivers, and future tech billionaires for ultimate glory, $1000 in prize money, and a year of bragging rights as Caltech/JPL's finest musical talent.

Rules:

  1. Bands must consist of at least two people, at least one of whom must be Caltech- or JPL-affiliated
  2. One person can at most be in two bands.
  3. Two bands can have at most one person in common.
  4. The winner will be decided by a panel of judges.

Sign your band online by April 30.

No band? No problem! Come and enjoy the music.

RSVP on Facebook

04/19/2016

Important Changes to the Unix Interactive Cluster

The Unix interactive cluster (its.caltech.edu) will soon be retired. These long-running Solaris systems will be replaced by new Linux systems, which will run concurrently for a brief transition period. Starting May 2, 2016, IMSS will make changes to users' dot files to minimize compatibility issues with the new Linux systems. Changes will be completed over a period of approximately one week and are detailed at http://imss.caltech.edu/content/unix-cluster-transition

For questions about this transition or assistance with modifying your dot files, please contact the Help Desk (x3500, help@caltech.eduhttps://help.caltech.edu.)

04/05/2016

Don't let ransomware disrupt or destroy your work

Ransomware is a category of malicious software that is becoming increasingly widespread.  It differs from other kinds of malicious software in that its primary purpose is to render the victim's data files unusable (typically by encrypting them) until a "ransom" in difficult-to-trace virtual currency such as Bitcoin is paid. Organizations all over the world, including hospitals, police departments, and universities, have fallen victim to ransomware attacks. Affected systems to date have included Windows workstations and servers, Macs, linux workstations and servers, unpatched wiki or blog software, Android phones, and any data volumes these devices are able to access (e.g., external hard drives, network drives or file servers).

For advice on how to protect yourself from ransomware, please visit http://imss.caltech.edu.

03/22/2016

Amazon Web Services event on April 13th

Save the date for an Amazon Web Services (AWS) event on Wednesday, April 13th from 9:30AM to 11:30 AM in Beckman Institute Auditorium. IMSS will be hosting representatives from AWS to speak about how to cost effectively add more compute resources. RSVP HERE

AWS SPOT: Cost Effectively Add More Compute Resources 

With Amazon Web Services (AWS), you can spin up EC2 compute capacity on demand with no upfront commitments. You can do this even more cost effectively by using Amazon EC2 Spot Instances to bid on spare Amazon EC2 computing capacity. This allows users to get 90% off on demand prices (often as little as 1c per core hour) and has helped them run very large scale workloads cost effectively. For example, at USC a computational chemist spun up 156,000 core in three days. Also, with the recent release of the Spot fleet API, a researcher or scientist can easily have access to some of the most cost effective compute capacity at a very large scale. Learn how to effectively use these tools for your research needs.

When: April 13, 9:30-11:30am.  (Option to schedule office hours afterwards to discuss your particular workload.)
Where: Beckman Institute Auditorium
 
Speaking:
John Lilley, IMSS Lead System Administrator, will talk about how he uses the Spot market for Caltech research workloads
Dmitry Pushkarev, CTO of EC2 Spot for AWS
Boyd McGeachie, EC2 Spot Business Development Manager
 
RSVP HERE

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