Old print server being retired

The old print server (version 1-6-2) will be retired in stages over the next week or so. Most users will not be affected, as they are already using our new server.

The only people who need to take action are those who used Bonjour to load printers via the old server, which will be
mostly Mac users. These printers will cease to work and they should be deleted and replaced with printers using the
new server.

At the moment a Bonjour user will typically see two entries for each printer, e.g.

alder:FS19:RICOH Aficio SP C430DN PS @ svr-cups-1-6-2
alder:FS19:RICOH Aficio SP C430DN PS @ svr-cups-2-2-7

The svr-cups-1-6-2 versions will be removed and any printers loaded using them should be reloaded using the svr-cups-2-2-7 version.

Note that the printers will be removed from the old server in stages over a week rather than all at once. This is an
attempt to reduce a potential tsunami of “printing is broken” messages to a more manageable trickle.

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Dr Amanda Prorok receives Best Paper Award at DARS 2018

Dr Amanda Prorok has received the Best Paper Award, at DARS 2018: 14th International Symposium on Distributed Autonomous Robotic Systems, for ‘Redundant Robot Assignment on Graphs with Uncertain Edge Costs‘.

Dr Prorok is a member of the Digital Technology Group.

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Robert Sansom Professorship of Computer Science to be appointed

The Department of Computer Science and Technology (formerly, the Computer
Laboratory) will be appointing a new Robert Sansom Professorship of Computer
Science in 2019/20.

The Chair will build on the University’s strengths in computer science and will
be based in the Department of Computer Science and Technology. The position
will be advertised soon (in the current academic term), and the University will
be seeking to encourage applications from a broad area of applied computer
science systems domains including Communications Systems, Operating
Systems, Programming Languages, Storage Systems and so forth.

Anyone with informal enquiries should contact Professor Jon Crowcroft:
jon.crowcroft@cl.cam.ac.uk.

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Dr Robert Harle receives ACM Ubicomp 10 Year Impact Award

Dr Robert Harle has been awarded the ACM Ubicomp 10 Year Impact Award at Ubicomp 2018, for his paper from 2008 entitled ‘Pedestrian localisation for indoor environments’.

The paper was joint work with Oliver Woodman.

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Dr Noa Zilberman named in list of 10 Rising Stars in Computer Networking and Communications

Dr Noa Zilberman, a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow and member of the Networks and Operating Systems Group, has been named in the fourth list of “N2Women: Rising Stars in Computer Networking and Communications”.

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Dr Richard Gibbens (1962 – 2018)

It is with great shock and sadness that we announce the death of Richard Gibbens on 12 August 2018, following a short illness. Richard was Reader in Network Modelling in the Department, and had been promoted to a Professorship from 1 October 2018.   Richard was a very valued member of the department who was recognised internationally for his research.  He will be greatly missed by his colleagues and all who worked with him.

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DeepMind Chair of Machine Learning to be appointed

The Department of Computer Science and Technology is to appoint a DeepMind Chair of Machine Learning thanks to a benefaction from the world-leading AI company.

The first DeepMind Chair is expected to take up their position in October 2019.

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The Department of Computer Science and Technology and Nokia Bell Labs establish the new Centre for Mobile, Wearable Systems and Augmented Intelligence

Nokia Bell Labs is a founding partner of the new Centre for Mobile, Wearable Systems and Augmented Intelligence, to be based in the Department of Computer Science and Technology. The Centre will advance state-of-the-art mobile systems, security, new materials, and artificial intelligence (AI) to address one of the main human needs – the ability to communicate better with each other.

The research jointly conducted in the new Centre will redefine the way people interact with the digital and physical world. Areas of focus include precise, predictive and personalised medicine, digital, physical, mental, and social well-being, and sensory human communication experiences beyond visual and audio. The Centre will be directed by Cecilia Mascolo, Professor of Mobile Systems, and Alastair Beresford, Reader in Computer Security.

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Network outage on June 2nd

At 09:12 on Saturday morning, a new switch in our data centre failed. In doing so it bridged together all of its connections to the rest of the network. Since switches have multiple uplinks for resilience, this created a loop in the network.

This loop meant that network traffic was duplicated indefinitely, causing CPU starvation on the switches and routers as they received a flood of traffic and resulted in a cascade failure of the entire network.

During this outage many systems failed as a consequence of the network failure, in particular our virtual machine pool lost connectivity with its disks. The traffic flood also caused some devices to crash or reboot.

Following failed attempts to mitigate the problem remotely, emergency work was untertaken on-site during the afternoon and evening to locate and isolate the faulty device by iteratively partitioning the network, allowing the rest of the network to recover, and then fixing devices stuck in a broken state. Intermittent network disruption continued into the late evening due to a suspected internal state corruption in the core router (gatwick), until each CPU therein was rebooted.

Services hosted on virtual machines were gradually brought back into service during the rest of the weekend, starting with the web and email servers early Saturday evening.

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PAT 2018

Portable Appliance Testsing (PAT) is not a legal requirement, but is required by our insurers. Estate Management have hired contractors to fulfill the insurers’ requirement at very short notice.
Some information which might be of interest:

  • Computers will not be turned off without permission.
  • No machine rooms or risers will be included in this testing.
  • They expect to do 300 items per day, and will hve one ot two people at a time
  • On the first day, they found a mains lead which failed the impedence test (.32 Mohms – had limescale)
  • They estimated 1500 items (5 per PC), but then discovered that there were twice as many offices.
  • All items plugged into the mains will be tested, including fitted dishwashers and fridges
  • The tester uses 500v at 200mA
  • Cables and connected devices, such as PCs and power supplies, are each tested, labelled and recorded.
  • Visual inspection only on ‘servers’.
  • Not testing unconnected kit e.g. in store rooms, so needs to be tested before bringing into use.

Any comments, questions, etc to safety-officer@cl.cam.ac.uk

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