Research Computing >> 2011 news archive

RESEARCH COMPUTING NEWS 2010

Please check here regularly for updated news and information on research computing.


Recent announcements

October 5: RA database refreshed for current academic year
September 15: WRDS system and datasets fully restored
September 12: WRDS hardware failure of September 9
August 22: X-Win32 version 12 available
August 11: Behavioral labs upgrades on Aug 30 and 31
August 11: New datasets: BoardEx, EDGAR Pro and Compustat Unrestated
August 4: WRDS UNIX server maintenance, Aug. 23, 6AM to 9AM

Announcements during previous years:


October 5: RA database refreshed for current academic year

Dear faculty,

The 2011 database of prospective research assistants ("RA database") is now available and will be updated almost on a daily basis over the next two weeks. As of today (October 5), the RA database already has more than 40, fresh, applicants and it will be updated frequently during the fall quarter and regularly throughout the year. To access this list, please point your web browser to:

www.kellogg.northwestern.edu/researchcomputing/sec/faculty-only/RA_survey/RA_database2011.xls (faculty only)

This page is linked from the Research Computing page on "Grants and RAs" (faculty only). Both this page and the spreadsheet are password protected and is accessible by faculty only.

Contact these prospective RAs as appropriate -- both their email and phone numbers are listed in the spreadsheet. If you hire one or more of them, please let us know and we will record this in the spreadsheet for the benefit of your colleagues. If students contact you regarding work opportunities, you may direct them to our page on research assistantships so they can fill the RA survey and be part of the RA database.

What is the RA database? The RA database is the result of a survey of skills conducted mostly among undergraduate students who are interested in working for Kellogg faculty members. Each academic year, the Research Support team advertises the survey through flyers in university halls and dormitories, as well as email messages to selected department and program coordinators for release to their students (Mathematical Methods in the Social Sciences -- MMSS, Kellogg Certificate Program for Undergraduates, economics, sociology, psychology, and computer science, among others). This week, printed ads are circulating in the Daily Northwestern.

The survey was created with the help of several faculty members across all the departments in the school. We would like to point out that, following suggestions by some interested faculty members, a couple of questions have been added to the survey this year, including one about students’ enrollment in the Kellogg Certificate Program for Undergraduates. The revised survey is available for your review in the Grants and RAs (faculty only) web page. If you would like to suggest questions that would help you find an RA for next year’s survey, please send me an email.

We hope this facilitates your research.

September 19: Stata Journal Vol. 11 No. 2 available

We have received the latest issue of the Stata Journal. Point your web browser to:

Stata Journal and Technical Bulletins

September 15: WRDS system and data fully restored

As of the afternoon of September 15, the WRDS system and the datasets in it have been fully restored and users should not encounter any problems. If you do, notify WRDS support.

September 12: WRDS hardware failure of September 9

On Friday, September 9, shortly before 10PM, we were notified by WRDS personnel that the server had experienced a major disk failure that is impacting all WRDS services (web access, SSH, and the Grid). WRDS is working with the hardware vendors to fix the situation, but there is no estimated time of resolution yet.

The system is running in a reduced mode. For example, only 25% of the hardware resources usually available to web queries are currently available. WRDS support staff is asking users to run only one job via SSH connections instead of the customary three simultaneous jobs.

Most databases are still available, with the exception of TAQ, FISD and ISSM. The latter are currently being restored, starting with February 2011, but they remain unavailable.

If you are experiencing difficulties, please report them to wrds-support@wharton.upenn.edu. We will update this bulletin as we get updates from WRDS.

August 22: X-Win32 version 12 available

The X-Win32 PC X Server version 12 is now available. See http://www.starnet.com/products/xwin32 for the release description.

Previous releases of X-Win32 requiring license keys are no longer supported. You must install X-Win32 V12 to continue to use X-Win32.

X-Win32 runs on Windows systems, and is used to display graphical output from Linux systems (SSCC, skew). This functionality is built-in to Mac OS X and Linux systems.

A new install is required. After the installation finishes, you must manually remove the previous release using the Windows control panel "Programs and Features."

You can obtain X-Win32 at no charge under the NU site license from http://www.it.northwestern.edu/research/sscc/xwin32.html.

The new method of license activation is also explained on that web page.

Use is restricted to NU network addresses. Use VPN to establish an NU network address for off-campus use.

August 11: Behavioral labs upgrades on Aug 30 and 31

As we previously announced in spring, now that Empirisoft has released MediaLab and DirectRT 2010, and that we tested their stability, we are in the process to upgrade the Lab Machines to Windows 7.

Upgrading to Windows 7 will improve security and stability of the lab computers and your data collection.

KIS FaStCATS and I have planned to reimage all the lab machines on Tuesday, August 30 and Wednesday August 31. During this time, the labs won’t be available to the researchers.

Please be aware that all the data stored in the lab machines will be erased during the process. If you still have some data that you need to retrieve from the lab computers, please do so by Monday, August 29.

Also, please remember that lab users must remove all study related material and props when the study is over. Materials left behind will be discarded if the owner does not remove them. This includes data files installed in the lab computers -- these machines require periodic re-imaging to reset their configuration.

Please let Simone Cavallaro know if you have any questions or concerns.

August 11: New datasets: BoardEx, EDGAR Pro and Compustat Unrestated

In the last few months, we have added four new research resources to our holdings:

  • EDGAR Pro: This is a web service that collects company and industry information, primarily from SEC filings, in a user-friendly format and with a nice search function. We have one login that allows up to 10 concurrent users. You will find this resource linked from the Research Computing Data page under ‘full text databases’.
  • BoardEx: This is a web service that includes profiles of business executives worldwide (including some demographics, education and career history, compensation, board and committee memberships, etc), as well as the connections among them. You will find this resource linked from the Research Computing Data page, under ‘research datasets’.
  • Compustat Unrestated: We added this file to our existing Compustat subscription. It contains the data as it was originally reported on the filing date, as the markets saw it. In contrast, standard Compustat files replace data with restated data. Restatements arise from pro forma reporting the effects of mergers and acquisitions, discontinued operations, accounting changes and even simple withdrawal and replacement of historical reports by firms. These data is accessible through WRDS. You will find this resource linked from the Research Computing Data page, under ‘research datasets’.

August 4: WRDS UNIX server maintenance, Aug. 23, 6AM to 9AM

From WRDS, the UNIX server will not be accessible between 6AM to 9AM EST on August 23

The WRDS Unix server will be undergoing maintenance from 6:00am - 9:00am EDT on Tuesday, August 23. During this time, we will be patching our server and upgrading our network infrastructure to better serve your research needs. The WRDS website will not be affected by the maintenance.

Users will not be able to access WRDS through UNIX or PC SAS Connect while the maintenance is in progress. All jobs and user sessions that are active when it begins will be interrupted and will have to be restarted and run again when the system is back online.

We understand how important access to data through the WRDS system is to your research and we appreciate your patience during this time. Our system administrators will be on-site until the maintenance is complete. In the meantime, if you have any questions or concerns, please contact us at WRDS support.

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