Proposal

No annual report

Introduction

Proposal ID 2015-013
Submitted January 13, 2015
Owner elrey
Department Chemical Engineering
Category Computer Labs
Funding Status Fully Funded
Metric Score 4.04

Contacts

Primary
  • Name
  • Title
  • Email
  • Phone
  • Mailbox
  • Rex Phillips
  • Sr. Computing Specialist
  • elrey@uw.edu
  • 206-543-3227
  • Box 351750
Budget
  • Name
  • Title
  • Email
  • Phone
  • Mailbox
  • Dan Dembiczak
  • Administrator
  • ddd1@uw.edu
  • 206-685-8364
  • Box 351750
Dean
  • Name
  • Title
  • Email
  • Phone
  • Mailbox
  • Michael Bragg
  • Dean of Engineering
  • mbragg@uw.edu
  • 206-543-1829
  • Box 352180

Descriptions

Abstract

The Department of Chemical Engineering is requesting funds to acquire 9 new computers and 9 monitors for the PCs to be installed in our Chemical Engineering open student computer lab. In 2012, STF most generously granted us funding to purchase 50 new Lenovo PCs and several new 24” monitors for our student computing lab. Nine of those PCs have been serving a dual purpose. As well as being workstations available to our students on which to work on their assignments, these nine PCs are also used as pilot scale lab apparatus stations with the apparatus attached to the PCs via a NI data acquisition card. These nine PCs, therefore, are instrumental in teaching flow systems and aspects of controlling such systems to our students. As we are now formalizing a new lab dedicated to housing instruments used to instruct our students, this is an appropriate location in which to house these nine PCs. Since the nine PCs are used only four hours per week for instruction, they will still be available for student use the rest of the time as previously used. Also, since our departmental enrollment has significantly increased this year as compared to previous years, replacing these nine PCs in the open lab is obviously essential as the workstations are vital to our students upon which to do their assignments.
We are also requesting 100 4GB memory modules to add to our existing 50 PCs. When we ordered them almost 3 years ago, we ordered them with 8GB of memory. Since that time, new iterations of the software we use have become more CPU and memory intensive. As the 50 PCs came with Quad core processors, there is not a need to change them at this time, but with our intention of keeping these 50 PCs for another 2 to 3 years, upgrading the memory now will help our students process their assignments more efficiently along with increasing the useful life of the PCs.
Our computing labs are central hubs for interaction and learning amongst students taking Chemical Engineering courses. These computing facilities accompanied by readily available help from teaching assistants and faculty play important roles in making Chemical Engineering very instructive and rewarding for all participants. The labs remain the primary computing resource for the students in the department, and therefore the continued improvement and consistent high quality of the labs is necessary for their education and in attracting quality candidates to our department as well as into the College of Engineering.

Category Justification

The justification is that the request for the 9 PCs and 9 monitors are upgrades to our computing labs to facilitate the needs of our students. The memory upgrade are needed enhancements to our existing 50 PCs.

Background

The student enrollment in the Department of Chemical Engineering has increased from the previous years’ 130 to 140 undergraduate students to the current 170 undergraduate students. Our graduate student enrollment has also significantly increased from the previous years’ 80 graduate students to approximately 110 graduate students majoring in Chemical Engineering, as well as approximately a dozen interdisciplinary students. The interdisciplinary students come from Paper Sciences, Bioresource Science Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Electrical Engineering, and Physics. These students also make extensive use of the Chemical Engineering computing labs while attending Chemical Engineering courses. The department also honors students from other majors that either take Chemical Engineering classes to further their own majors or require access to software that is basically not specific to their own departments that can help the student conduct research relevant to their own field.
Currently the department runs two computer labs. One for undergraduates, one for graduate students. Today, the undergraduate computer lab contains 41 of the Lenovo PCs and the graduate lab has 9 of the Lenovo PCs purchased with the 2012 STF grant. Each PC is attached to a 24” monitor. Both labs have at least one printer and there is an Epson flatbed scanner is available for use by all students. The undergraduate lab has two HP M603 series duplex printers setup in a printing pool to provide virtually constant printer availability to the students. The Chemical Engineering department purchased the HP printers and Epson scanner last summer to make top level printing resources available to the students starting with this school year. The grad lab uses a HP Laserjet P3015dn printer also purchased by the department.
All PCs are connected to a Windows Active Directory failover server system which holds the student directories so that all students have their own data storage space. The software installed on all lab PCs allow students to perform general computing tasks as well as run applications necessary for the study of Chemical Engineering. The four major applications now used specifically for the study Chemical Engineering are Matlab 2014a, Mathematica 10.1, COMSOL Multiphysics 4.4, and Aspen 8.6. These applications allow students to perform process simulations, process modeling, systems design, and multidimensional data analysis. Hence, these applications are all computing resource intensive.
The 9 new PCs being requested are to be tower models with at least Core i7-4770 3.4GHz processors and 16GB of RAM with graphics cards able to handle intensive graphics produced by the applications used. The intent would then be to use these new 9 PCs for 5 to 6 years. Each of the current 50 Lenovo PCs would receive an 8GB memory upgrade bringing total memory of each PC to 16GB of RAM. These PCs should then be good for another 2 to 3 years of use.
The ability to run all these applications simultaneously then is a unique resource configuration on campus. The availability of a suitably equipped computing lab for the Chemical Engineering students is of immense value. This setup allows the students to efficiently pursue their educational goals allowing them to become familiar with the tools and processes they will need to use while pursuing their careers or furthering their education after their University of Washington experience.
It should also be noted that the Department of Chemical Engineering is prepared to be responsible for any necessary repairs or replacement for problems arising with either the PCs or monitors after the warranty on such items expires. Again, with the goal in mind of maintaining these units, if possible, to last 5-6 years.

Benefits to Students and the University

The benefits from this proposal will allow students the use of essential state-of-the-art computing systems. Learning Chemical Engineering at the University of Washington is now extremely dependent on the availability and use of computers. The addition of 9 more computing stations will enhance computing availability. Having new PCs with the capacity to efficiently process the models, simulations, and data analyses conducted by the students in a time-saving manner will make effective use of the time students spend at the computers. Since the courses students take require the use of computing intensive applications to learn the subject and to complete their assignments, the ability to have PCs capable of functioning efficiently when 1 or more of the 4 major interrelated applications are open and processing data at same time is of paramount importance to learning the material. The 9 proposed computers, plus the additional 8GB of RAM added to the current 50 PCs will significantly enhance the performance enhancement of the software that is used. This goal then is highly relevant to the continuum of their educational advancement.

Departmental Endorsements

Dr. Francois Baneyx - The Chair of Chemical Engineering
Dr. Cole DeForest - Faculty member of Chemical Engineering
Dr. Rene Overney – Faculty member of Chemical Engineering
Dr. Andy Kim – Faculty member and Chemical Engineering Lecturer
Dan Dembiczak - Chemical Engineering Department Administrator
Rex Phillips - Senior Computer Specialist, Department of Chemical Engineering
Chemical Engineering Computing Committee (consisting of the Professors of Chemical Engineering Brad Holt and Jim Pfaendtner, and staff member Rex Phillips)

Installation Timeline

Upon receipt of the funds, the acquisition of the equipment will be immediate. The installation and setup of the 9 new PCs and the installation of memory to the existing 50 PCs will commence immediately and be completed by the start of Fall quarter, 2015.

Resources Provided by Department

The Chemical Engineering Department employs a full time senior computer specialist whose main job is to see that student computing resources are kept secure, up-to-date, and functioning properly. The office of the senior computing specialist is located within the same building as the computer labs. Students, therefore, have easy access to the senior computer specialist. The Department fully supports student computing as it has a committee consisting of faculty members and the senior computer specialist in conjunction with contributions from the Chemical Engineering student group, AICHE. Recommendations from students for improving the computing labs are always welcomed. The recommendations are discussed with the AICHE officers, and the Computing Committee, relevant faculty, as well as the student body. Decisions are then ratified by all concerned. Resources should also include maintenance funding and repair to keep all the PCs and monitors in excellent working order.

Access Restrictions (if any)

The Chemical Engineering computing labs are open and available to all students registered in Chemical Engineering courses. The labs are accessible 24 hours per day, 7 days per week. Access is via a key code that is provided to each student needing access to the labs. The labs are available to other students with an endorsement from Chemical Engineering faculty or staff.

Student Endorsements

Hey Rex,

I'm using Matlab in the grad lab to process some of my data and sometimes the computer is a little slow when processing a large data set. I checked the RAM and it's 8 GB - any chance that we could increase that to 16 GB on a few of the computers? That would be a big help for me and I'm sure others would appreciate it too.

Thanks,
Brett
Hey Rex,

Increasing the RAM in the undergraduate computers to 16 GB would greatly improve their functionality. When we have some of the more memory intensive programs, and frequently we need to have multiple applications open at once to do homework problems, the computer does drag along when switching between them.

Thanks for looking out for our technology!

Reilly Proudsworth
ChemE, Class of 2015

Hi Rex,

Is there any way we can get more memory on the computer in the computer lab? Some of our projects are large and take up a lot of space and sometimes the computers have a tough time handling it all.

Thanks for the help,
Derek DeGraaff
Rex,

It would be extremely helpful if STF would provide the benson lab with upgraded memory for the computers. The computers occasionally freeze up when multitasking, in particular when running Aspen simulations. This is inconvenient and requires us to repeat hours of work.

Thank you,
Cameron Walters
ChemE Senior
Hi Rex,
After consulting with other seniors it has become obvious that we need more memory for the computers in the lab. This would greatly enhance our ability to learn more about chemical engineering!

Thanks Rex,
John Lenz

Items

Group Funded Item Unit price Quantity Subtotal
None

PC Sales Tax

$1,069.11 1 $1,069.11
Description

Tax applied to purchase of 9 PCs and 9 24" monitors

Justification

Tax on the 9 PCs and 9 24" monitors

Memory Upgrade

$33.83 100 $3,383.00
Description

100 units of Crucial 4GB DIMM DDR3 PC12800 Memory modules, Mfg# CT51264BA160BJ, Contract: Univ of Washington 111309
Vendor is CDW-G

Justification

Due to the memory intensive use of the applications used by our students, a memory upgrade will allow our department to utilize our existing 50 PC workstations for another 2 -3 years.

Memory Modules Sales Tax

$321.39 1 $321.39
Description

Tax applied to CDW-G purchase

Justification

Tax for purchase

9 PCs and 9 24" monitors packaged as one item

$1,250.43 9 $11,253.87
Description

9 Lenovo M93p PCs with 16 GB of RAM and packaged with 9 24" Lenovo LT2423 monitors.
Price as per Quote # 23767609.01 provided by GovConnection which provided the lowest quoted price for the same items.

Justification

The need to increase the number of workstations available to our students is essential as our enrollment of both undergraduate and graduate students has significantly increased as of this year. Also, with the partially limited available time on 9 current workstations that are serving a dual purpose, the 9 new workstations will greatly enhance student availability.

Total requested: $16,027.37

Total funded: $16,027.37

Group Funded Item Change in Unit price Change in Quantity Change in Subtotal
Chemical Engineering

Rex Phillips

$1,264.69 1 $1,264.69
Description

DELL OptiPlex 7020 PC, Intel Core i7-4790 Quad core processor, 16GB of RAM, 1TB hard drive, AMD Radeon R7 250 video card. DELL P2414H monitor.

Justification

We have done a complete remodel of our undergraduate computer lab. The lab space has been repainted and all new tables and chairs have been acquired. As a result, I find that I am now able to fit one more computer into the lab. As I have a balance of approximately $2100 left over after purchasing the 9 PC/monitors and the memory due to lower costs on both items at the time of purchase, I am requesting that I be allowed to use $1264.69 of that remaining balance to purchase one more PC with monitor. The remainder of the funds after such purchase shall be returned to STF.

Supplemental request: $1,264.69

Deicision: Funded

Group Funded Item Change in Unit price Change in Quantity Change in Subtotal
None

Additional PCs

$0.00 2 $0.00
Description

Same model as previous

Justification

We have $3000 dollars in excess from reduced cost on the requested computers. We are requesting the ability to spend the rest to buy another two computers. It would be around $2400

Supplemental request: $0.00

Deicision: Funded

Group Funded Item Unit price Quantity Subtotal
None

PC Sales Tax

$1,069.11 1 $1,069.11
Description

Tax applied to purchase of 9 PCs and 9 24" monitors

Justification

Tax on the 9 PCs and 9 24" monitors

Memory Upgrade

$33.83 100 $3,383.00
Description

100 units of Crucial 4GB DIMM DDR3 PC12800 Memory modules, Mfg# CT51264BA160BJ, Contract: Univ of Washington 111309
Vendor is CDW-G

Justification

Due to the memory intensive use of the applications used by our students, a memory upgrade will allow our department to utilize our existing 50 PC workstations for another 2 -3 years.

Memory Modules Sales Tax

$321.39 1 $321.39
Description

Tax applied to CDW-G purchase

Justification

Tax for purchase

9 PCs and 9 24" monitors packaged as one item

$1,250.43 9 $11,253.87
Description

9 Lenovo M93p PCs with 16 GB of RAM and packaged with 9 24" Lenovo LT2423 monitors.
Price as per Quote # 23767609.01 provided by GovConnection which provided the lowest quoted price for the same items.

Justification

The need to increase the number of workstations available to our students is essential as our enrollment of both undergraduate and graduate students has significantly increased as of this year. Also, with the partially limited available time on 9 current workstations that are serving a dual purpose, the 9 new workstations will greatly enhance student availability.

Additional PCs

$0.00 2 $0.00
Description

Same model as previous

Justification

We have $3000 dollars in excess from reduced cost on the requested computers. We are requesting the ability to spend the rest to buy another two computers. It would be around $2400

Chemical Engineering

Rex Phillips

$1,264.69 1 $1,264.69
Description

DELL OptiPlex 7020 PC, Intel Core i7-4790 Quad core processor, 16GB of RAM, 1TB hard drive, AMD Radeon R7 250 video card. DELL P2414H monitor.

Justification

We have done a complete remodel of our undergraduate computer lab. The lab space has been repainted and all new tables and chairs have been acquired. As a result, I find that I am now able to fit one more computer into the lab. As I have a balance of approximately $2100 left over after purchasing the 9 PC/monitors and the memory due to lower costs on both items at the time of purchase, I am requesting that I be allowed to use $1264.69 of that remaining balance to purchase one more PC with monitor. The remainder of the funds after such purchase shall be returned to STF.

Overall total funded: $17,292.06

Comments

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