Proposal

No annual report

Introduction

Proposal ID 2015-036
Submitted January 16, 2015
Owner jeffrud@u.washington.edu
Department Center for Social Science Computation and Research
Category Computer Labs
Funding Status Fully Funded
Metric Score 4.14

Contacts

Primary
  • Name
  • Title
  • Email
  • Phone
  • Mailbox
  • Darryl Holman
  • Director
  • djholman@u.washington.edu
  • 206-543-7586
  • Box 353345
Budget
  • Name
  • Title
  • Email
  • Phone
  • Mailbox
  • Kathy Davis
  • Fiscal Specialist
  • davisk@u.washington.edu
  • 206-543-8110
  • Box 353345
Dean
  • Name
  • Title
  • Email
  • Phone
  • Mailbox
  • Judy Howard
  • Divisional Dean of Social Sciences
  • jhoward@u.washington.edu
  • 206 543 2245
  • Box 353765

Descriptions

Abstract

The Center for Social Science Computation and Research (CSSCR) seeks funding to replace outdated equipment in our computer labs. We have three computer labs: a drop-in lab with 12 workstations, a large lab with 41 workstations, and a small lab with 21 workstations. All three labs have older workstations funded by STF in 2009 (2009-040-1), and do not have the CPU or graphics capabilities for some advanced analytical software.
We request a total of seventy two new workstations (70 PCs and 2 iMacs) to replace:
-all 41 large lab machines,
-all 21 small lab machines,
-eight of the 12 drop-in lab machines,
-one machine for an accessible desk, and
-one spare PC workstation.
We also request three scanners to replace the 11-year-old scanners in the drop-in lab.

CSSCR exists to provide computing resources and analytical consulting to the entire University community, with an emphasis on clients working in social science disciplines. Our computer labs on the first floor of Savery provide thousands of students each year with access to numerous specialized analytical software packages, many that are expensive and not available in other labs.

Category Justification

This computer lab proposal will equip three computer labs. The drop-in lab is available to all UW students 61 hours a week. The two teaching labs are available as drop-in labs for all UW students for approximately 40 hours per week. At other times, the labs are used for a variety of student and faculty teaching, student research, and student workgroups.

Background

The Center for Social Science Computation and Research has provided access to advanced computational hardware and analytical software to University of Washington students for over forty years. Advanced computing technology has been critical for providing students with a wide variety of analytical software. Our resources are carefully maintained to provide the maximum value to our member departments and clients, but most importantly to the thousands of students who use CSSCR resources each year. Although some of our services are only available to our ten member departments, all of our workstations and consulting services are available to all UW students.
Students use CSSCR labs for many reasons, from doing homework using specialized analytical software to doing analyses as part of their dissertation research. An important element of our lab environment is that we have consultants available Monday through Thursday, 8am to 9pm, and Friday, 8am to 5pm. We are open during Spring break, all summer, and part of the Winter break (typically from 8am-5pm). Our drop-in consulting center is co-located with the labs and there are usually two or three consultants (advanced graduate students from social sciences member departments) available for statistical, software, data management, and computer issues. About 90% of our consulting clients are students. The Center staff also provides more in-depth consulting on data acquisition and management, publications, and computing from our permanent staff. These services are freely available to all UW students.
In addition to our consulting service, CSSCR hosts approximately 70 free, non-credit short courses in the teaching labs each year. About 40 of these workshops are offered by CSSCR staff, the great majority taught by our graduate student consultants. Some examples of our workshops are Introduction to R and R Studio, Introduction to GIS, Introduction to SAS, Event History Analysis in SAS, Atlas.ti Primer, Hierarchical Models in HLM, and Statistics in Excel. About 85% of the short course enrollment is by UW students. In addition to our courses, we host many free, open access, non-credit courses or workshops for other groups. For example, the Center for Studies in Demography and Ecology (CSDE) runs their popular workshop series in our teaching labs. We frequently host workshops for student groups, and a few outside groups, like the Washington State Data Center (in conjunction with the Census Bureau) on topics of interest to students in the social sciences.
CSSCR maintains a large social sciences data archive. We warehouse thousands of data sets, and make them available to any students. We have a full-time data consultant (Tina Tian) who helps students, faculty, and staff locate and transform data into a form useful for analysis.
Information on CSSCR computing resources, software resources, data services, and holdings is distributed in our quarterly newsletter, emailed to our member departments at the beginning of each quarter and available both in print in our main office (Savery 110) and our departmental website, which features a newsletter archive reaching back to 1999.

Benefits to Students and the University

Each quarter, the CSSCR computer labs serve thousands of students, by giving them access to workstations with advanced analytical software, including many software packages that are not available through the key server. The proposed workstations will provide the memory and graphics processing capabilities lacking in the six-year-old workstations we have now. The updated labs will provide students with robust workstations capable of running everything from web-based email to production software, through advanced statistical packages like ArcGIS, SAS, and image processing software like 3DSlicer.
What makes CSSCR unique is the high level of technical support available through our consulting service. Our consultants are available any time the labs are open.
The Center for Studies in Demography and Ecology terminal servers provide a comparable distribution of software through their terminal servers, they do not have the capabilities for extensive software support and consulting, on the order of 300 clients per quarter. We complement their facilities by providing computer labs that can be used for non-credit workshop and classroom teaching, and labs for basic on-demand computer access. Although we restrict the classroom function of our labs to our member departments, any graduate or undergraduate student can reserve our teaching labs. In the recent past, students have reserved our labs to conduct research (like economic game experiments or group data coding sessions), for study groups requiring multiple computers and specialized analytical software, and for peer instruction (i.e. student-led workshops).
We have made an effort to provide accessibility resources to UW students with disabilities. We have collaborated with IT-Access on campus to provide JAWS, ABBY FineReader, and ZoomText on select workstations in our labs. These stations are at desks that can be raised and lowered to better accommodate students who require mobility assistance. One of the requested workstations will be set up on a purpose-build accessibility desk, which is available on request.
The systems requested as part of this proposal are intended to be “future proof” in the sense that we will be able to rely on them well beyond the initial terms of the grant. CSSCR has been quite prudent with STF equipment since our first allotment of computers arrived through STF funding; for example, two of the workstations in Savery 118 were funded by grant 2004-064-1 and remain in use by the general student population to this day, while many machines from grants 2002-380-1 and 2004-064-1 were repurposed workstations for our graduate student staff.
For this proposal, we worked with Dell sales representatives to specify workstations at a nearly 40 percent discount from the sticker price. These advanced workstations, combined with the software, data, and consulting support will provide a highly cost-effective investment in the academic careers of thousands of students in the social sciences and beyond.

Departmental Endorsements

CSSCR is an inter-college, interdepartmental resource center. The Center has ten member Departments in three Colleges. Our Graduate Student Consultants represent the interests of the students in their home departments. We offer resources not just to our member departments but all students of the University. The majority of our support comes directly from the College of Arts and Sciences and the Center Director reports directly to the Divisional Dean for Research of the College of Arts and Sciences. This proposal is written in collaboration between the CSSCR Director and CSSCR’s Computer Support Specialist.

Installation Timeline

Upon release of funds, PCs will be purchased and shipped to Savery Hall. The computer support specialist will prepare a Windows system image and, using Windows Deployment Services, clone 70 new workstations and deploy them during weekends. This would allow us to maintain 100% uptime throughout the summer, rather than take down a lab for some period of time during the week.

Resources Provided by Department

CSSCR is located on the first floor of Savery Hall. Our equipment is insured out of departmental funds, and cable locks and doors secure equipment with controlled access. Computers are maintained by a 75% time professional staff computer support specialist, on call in case of emergencies and reachable to the student population by an email address posted on the department's website.
CSSCR maintains a series of A&S-funded servers for software, software licenses, domain controllers, web, data-storage, and data back-up. The servers largely support the computer labs.
The STF-funded lab computers have will have about 100 pieces of software installed. This includes about 25 pieces of specialized analytical software, of which 11 pieces of licensed analytical software were purchased from the Center’s budget.
Our staff works closely with students, including our nine or ten graduate student consultants (funded by A&S Social Sciences Division) who are present (2 or 3 at a time) throughout the Center's 61-hour workweek, a full-time data consultant, a 50% publications consultant, a 75% Senior Computer Specialist. Students have access to our staff and consultants by email, phone, scheduled appointments, and drop-in meetings.
We have recently begun providing free poster-printing services to graduate students in our ten member departments. We anticipate opening that service up to undergraduates in our member departments in time for the Undergraduate Research Fair in Spring, 2015. We also provide a computer projector loan service to students.
The Center is a member of the Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research, the Washington State Data Center, the United States Census Bureau's data distribution network, and provides access to commercial data sources like Datastream. We are a repository for a great deal of data sets from these sources, which we make available to students at no cost.

Access Restrictions (if any)

CSSCR lab facilities are open 61 hours a week during the academic year, 8am-9pm M-R, and 8am-5pm F, and 9am-5pm during the summer and parts of breaks. The drop-in lab is available to students during these times. The large lab and the small lab serve as overflow for the drop-in lab. We keep the small lab unlocked during our open hours, and unlock the large lab when the small lab fills. The large and small labs are used for teaching, workshops, and study groups about 10 to 20 hours per day during the academic year, which restricts their uses to other students.

Student Endorsements

The CSSCR labs have computers that run a large number of different software packages that I use frequently: R/RStudio, Stata, SPSS, Word, Excel, Adobe Creative Suite. The computers are over 5 years old now and the labs (and students who use the labs) would really benefit from an upgrade so that newer versions of the software can run quickly. CSSCR could also really use a new printer, maybe one that will print black and white and in color.

-Stephanie Lee, Sociology Grad Student

********************************

The computer labs in CSSCR provide a great resource for students across the university, providing open access to powerful software that isn't cheap or easily available for individual's to purchase, especially if it's needed just for one project or one class. The machines are showing their age though - it would be great if this core computing resource for students was actually kept up to date and showing UW at its best! I see loads of students in the drop in lab, especially as deadlines approach, and I'm sure any investment in CSSCR's resources would be well-used.

-Carolina Johnson, Political Science Ph.D. Candidate

********************************

Students will get the most benefits when the computers and software got updated. Most of the software is not cheap and students can barely afford them. The updating computing resource will improve instruction and research. The investment in CSSCR will be appreciated from faculty, staff, and students.

-Liaw Yuan-Ling, Ph. D candidate, School of Education

********************************

New machines would greatly enhance the capabilities and access of students using CSSCR resources. Computing in the social sciences is a fast moving affair and the datasets and techniques that are becoming standard either require or greatly benefit from significant computational power. Not speed for speeds sake, but speed that allows faster iteration and saves human time.

-Austin Gross, Economics Doctoral Candidate

********************************

The Center for Social Science Computation and Research (CSSCR) provides critical computing services for University of Washington students who are learning to apply state-of-the-art computing technologies to social science endeavors, as well as to those advanced students who are actively engaged in actually applying such technologies to their research. It is thus crucial that CSSCR continue to provide the most up-to-date computing technologies to these students. This proposal would allow CSSCR to update all of the computers in our computer classrooms as well as those computing resources available in our drop-in lab.

-William Brown, Anthropology

********************************

As a student who uses CSSCR’s labs for research, I fully endorse their proposal to replace the old workstations in the computer lab.
The computer labs are a needed resource on campus for research projects such as running experimental economics sessions or performing intensive data analysis. Thus,replacing old workstations would greatly improve the ease of conducting research on campus, and it is for this reason that I fully support CSSCR’s proposal.

-Joshua Kim, Student, Department of Economic

********************************

The CSSCR computer labs are a valuable resource not only to the students who attend classes in Savery Hall, but they are an extension of quality education to the entire Social Services Department at the University of Washington. The CSSCR lab is frequented by undergraduate students as well as graduate students who come from other buildings and departments to access the CSSCR lab computers, specifically because of the software and consultant support offered. As an MSW graduate student, I know that my classmates and the social work undergrads travel to access the CSSCR computers because the computers are equipped with up to date software and programs allowing students to completely engage in their learning. The computers in the CSSCR labs are an asset to the University that merit modernizing to match the caliber of software and consultant support that serve student's development and deepening of skill-sets in the field of social sciences.

-Kaitlyn Stickel, School of Social Work

********************************

CSSCR computer labs are a valuable student resource. They have long hours, and the computers are loaded with a lot of useful software for data analysis. They are also a great resource for students doing research that requires a computer lab. I used one of the labs for a group data-coding project that will be part of my dissertation, and they made the lab available to me outside of their normal hours (on a Saturday). The equipment upgrade will open the labs to more graphics intensive software than can be used now. I strongly endorse this STF proposal.

-David Schruth, Graduate Student, Department of Anthropology

Items

Group Funded Item Unit price Quantity Subtotal
Big Lab

Dell Precision Workstations

$2,772.72 41 $113,681.52
Description

Dell Precision Tower 5810 BTX
Source: Amy Morehart, Dell Quote #695123370

Intel Xeon Processor E5-1650 v3 (Six Core HT, 3.5GHz Turbo)
16G 2133MHz DDR4
Nvidia Quadro K2200 4GB
1TB 3.5inch Serial ATA Hard Drive
Dell U2414H UltraSharp 24 Monitor
3 year warranty

Justification

Justification: These machines are high end Dell workstations that will offer students drop-in access to machines of a caliber not normally available to them, in a central campus location, with copious software, software support and consulting.

Sales Tax

$263.37 41 $10,798.17
Description

Justification

Small Lab

Dell Precision Workstations

$2,772.72 21 $58,227.12
Description

Dell Precision Tower 5810 BTX
Source: Amy Morehart, Dell Quote #695123370

Dell Precision Tower 5810 BTX
Intel Xeon Processor E5-1650 v3 (Six Core HT, 3.5GHz Turbo)
16G 2133MHz DDR4
Nvidia Quadro K2200 4GB
1TB 3.5inch Serial ATA Hard Drive
Dell U2414H UltraSharp 24 Monitor
3 year warranty

Justification

Justification: These machines are high end Dell workstations that will offer students drop-in access to machines of a caliber not normally available to them, in a central campus location, with copious software, software support and consulting.

Sales Tax

$263.37 21 $5,530.77
Description

Justification

Sales tax

Drop-In Lab

Dell Precision Workstations

$2,772.72 6 $16,636.32
Description

Dell Precision Tower 5810 BTX
Source: Amy Morehart, Dell Quote #695123370

Intel Xeon Processor E5-1650 v3 (Six Core HT, 3.5GHz Turbo)
16G 2133MHz DDR4
Nvidia Quadro K2200 4GB
1TB 3.5inch Serial ATA Hard Drive
Dell U2414H UltraSharp 24 Monitor
3 year warranty

Justification

These machines are high end Dell workstations that will offer students drop-in access to machines of a caliber not normally available to them, in a central campus location, with copious software, software support and consulting.

Apple iMacs

$1,361.58 2 $2,723.16
Description

Apple iMac 21.5”
Source: http://www.cdwg.com/shop/products/Apple-iMac-Core-i5-2.7-GHz-8-GB-1-TB-LED-21.5in/3370185.aspx

Intel Core i5 2.7GHz
8GB RAM

Justification

These machines are robust Apple computers capable of running a suite of analytical products, as well as meet the general computation needs of the UW student population.

Dell Workstation Sales Tax

$263.37 6 $1,580.22
Description

Justification

Sales tax

Apple iMac Sales Tax

$129.35 2 $258.70
Description

Justification

Sales tax

Epson Scanners

$229.99 3 $689.97
Description

Epson Perfection V600
Source: http://www.cdwg.com/shop/products/Epson-Perfection-V600-229.99-2-savings227.99-Ends-12-31/1846821.aspx

Justification

These scanners will serve as an upgrade to decade-old flatbed scanners used by students to scan books, papers, and photographs for research projects. They also include added tools to aid in scanning of slides and film, which will allow us to retire dedicated slide scanning units.

Epson Scanner Sales Tax

$21.85 3 $65.55
Description

Justification

Sales tax

Other

Dell Precision Workstations

$2,772.72 2 $5,545.44
Description

Dell Precision Tower 5810 BTX
Source: Amy Morehart, Dell Quote #695123370

Justification

Justification: These machines are high end Dell workstations that will offer students drop-in access to machines of a caliber not normally available to them, in a central campus location, with copious software, software support and consulting. One of these will be placed on a desk with integrated accessibility hardware (height controls, pivot monitor, track ball mouse), while the other will be used as a spare.

Dell Workstation Sales Tax

$263.37 2 $526.74
Description

Justification

Sales tax

Total requested: $216,263.68

Total funded: $216,263.68

Group Funded Item Change in Unit price Change in Quantity Change in Subtotal
Drop-In Lab

Apple iMacs

$12.42 0 $24.84
Description

Apple iMac 21.5”
Source: http://www.cdwg.com/shop/products/Apple-iMac-Core-i5-2.7-GHz-8-GB-1-TB-LED-21.5in/3370185.aspx

Intel Core i5 2.7GHz
8GB RAM

Justification

These machines are robust Apple computers capable of running a suite of analytical products, as well as meet the general computation needs of the UW student population.

Apple iMac Sales Tax

$1.18 0 $2.36
Description

Justification

Sales tax

Supplemental request: $27.20

Deicision: Funded

Group Funded Item Unit price Quantity Subtotal
Big Lab

Dell Precision Workstations

$2,772.72 41 $113,681.52
Description

Dell Precision Tower 5810 BTX
Source: Amy Morehart, Dell Quote #695123370

Intel Xeon Processor E5-1650 v3 (Six Core HT, 3.5GHz Turbo)
16G 2133MHz DDR4
Nvidia Quadro K2200 4GB
1TB 3.5inch Serial ATA Hard Drive
Dell U2414H UltraSharp 24 Monitor
3 year warranty

Justification

Justification: These machines are high end Dell workstations that will offer students drop-in access to machines of a caliber not normally available to them, in a central campus location, with copious software, software support and consulting.

Sales Tax

$263.37 41 $10,798.17
Description

Justification

Small Lab

Dell Precision Workstations

$2,772.72 21 $58,227.12
Description

Dell Precision Tower 5810 BTX
Source: Amy Morehart, Dell Quote #695123370

Dell Precision Tower 5810 BTX
Intel Xeon Processor E5-1650 v3 (Six Core HT, 3.5GHz Turbo)
16G 2133MHz DDR4
Nvidia Quadro K2200 4GB
1TB 3.5inch Serial ATA Hard Drive
Dell U2414H UltraSharp 24 Monitor
3 year warranty

Justification

Justification: These machines are high end Dell workstations that will offer students drop-in access to machines of a caliber not normally available to them, in a central campus location, with copious software, software support and consulting.

Sales Tax

$263.37 21 $5,530.77
Description

Justification

Sales tax

Drop-In Lab

Dell Precision Workstations

$2,772.72 6 $16,636.32
Description

Dell Precision Tower 5810 BTX
Source: Amy Morehart, Dell Quote #695123370

Intel Xeon Processor E5-1650 v3 (Six Core HT, 3.5GHz Turbo)
16G 2133MHz DDR4
Nvidia Quadro K2200 4GB
1TB 3.5inch Serial ATA Hard Drive
Dell U2414H UltraSharp 24 Monitor
3 year warranty

Justification

These machines are high end Dell workstations that will offer students drop-in access to machines of a caliber not normally available to them, in a central campus location, with copious software, software support and consulting.

Apple iMacs

$1,374.00 2 $2,748.00
Description

Apple iMac 21.5”
Source: http://www.cdwg.com/shop/products/Apple-iMac-Core-i5-2.7-GHz-8-GB-1-TB-LED-21.5in/3370185.aspx

Intel Core i5 2.7GHz
8GB RAM

Justification

These machines are robust Apple computers capable of running a suite of analytical products, as well as meet the general computation needs of the UW student population.

Dell Workstation Sales Tax

$263.37 6 $1,580.22
Description

Justification

Sales tax

Apple iMac Sales Tax

$130.53 2 $261.06
Description

Justification

Sales tax

Epson Scanners

$229.99 3 $689.97
Description

Epson Perfection V600
Source: http://www.cdwg.com/shop/products/Epson-Perfection-V600-229.99-2-savings227.99-Ends-12-31/1846821.aspx

Justification

These scanners will serve as an upgrade to decade-old flatbed scanners used by students to scan books, papers, and photographs for research projects. They also include added tools to aid in scanning of slides and film, which will allow us to retire dedicated slide scanning units.

Epson Scanner Sales Tax

$21.85 3 $65.55
Description

Justification

Sales tax

Other

Dell Precision Workstations

$2,772.72 2 $5,545.44
Description

Dell Precision Tower 5810 BTX
Source: Amy Morehart, Dell Quote #695123370

Justification

Justification: These machines are high end Dell workstations that will offer students drop-in access to machines of a caliber not normally available to them, in a central campus location, with copious software, software support and consulting. One of these will be placed on a desk with integrated accessibility hardware (height controls, pivot monitor, track ball mouse), while the other will be used as a spare.

Dell Workstation Sales Tax

$263.37 2 $526.74
Description

Justification

Sales tax

Overall total funded: $216,290.88

Comments

The computer labs in CSSCR are the best social science research labs on campus - an increasingly diminishing resource on campus & great for students who come to campus without a computer and need a drop in space that has all the software ready to go. CSSCR also does a wonderful job of teaching students in their free classes which offer introductions to a variety of software packages. CSDE dropped having our own STF-funded lab years ago because CSSCR's lab was so far superior. We direct folks who need a campus lab to the CSSCR facility all the time.

- Matt Weatherford
Center for Studies in Demography and Ecology

csde_stf — January 20, 2015 @ 11:28 a.m.

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