Updates from
the Associate Vice President for IT and CIO

April 2018

Faculty and IT partner through App Challenge: The winner of the UChicago Winter 2018 App Challenge is Genmo, an idea submitted by Jason Salavon, Associate Professor in the Department of Visual Arts and a faculty member and fellow of the University of Chicago Computation Institute. Genmo (Generative Mosaic) is a neural network driven visual effects app that uses artificial intelligence (AI) to recreate any photo or video using an entirely separate set of images. With Genmo, users can upload a video, select a dataset to render it with, and get a recreated clip back in seconds. Although a number of effects are ready for immediate implementation, the team is looking to build an app that can accommodate an ongoing series of updates and new features for an effective user interface.


Canvas Day event focuses on faculty successes in teaching and learning with technology: Academic Technology Services (ATS) hosted Canvas Day, a half-day conference for University of Chicago faculty. Canvas Day showcased faculty successes in using Canvas. This year, several UChicago faculty demonstrated how they used Canvas in tandem with other academic technologies to extend their teaching and learning practices. ATS organized the event in partnership with the Joseph Regenstein Library, the Chicago Center for Teaching, and the Booth School of Business as part of a continuing strategy to collaborate with other units that support teaching and learning at UChicago. Tours were offered of the TechBar, the TechBar Studio, and the emerging One Button Studio, a simple, easy-to-use video production space being developed on level A of Regenstein Library.


UChicago gains insight through Microsoft Data Center tour: During the first week of April, Microsoft and IT Services (ITS) co-sponsored a tour of Microsoft’s Chicago Area Azure Data Center. IT staff from the Research Computing Center, University of Chicago Medicine, and ITS were able to see how Microsoft is building and managing its facilities at scale. Paul Edlund, Microsoft’s chief midwest technologist, gave the group an in-depth look at how companies in the cloud are continuously increasing performance and driving down computing costs. IT Staff gained insight into innovation in hardware design, security, power utilization, cooling, and connectivity.


Significant process improvements lead to faster computer deployments: In late October 2017, the Desktop Deployment team was established to improve delivery time for desktop deployments and to reduce the backlog of pending deployments. The team manages the entire process of computer deployment from initial requests to final hardware recycling. Through the work of this new team, IT Services has decreased the amount of time to procure and deliver a new computer to a customer from six weeks to less than two weeks. As a result, the team deployed over 250 machines in 90 business days. The new process features improved automation as audit and logistic controls (including purchasing, receiving, imaging, deployment, returning equipment, billing, swapping, and recycling) were combined under one group. Also, computers running Microsoft or Apple operating systems can now be delivered already configured to meet the University’s baseline security standards and include department or customer desired software.


Changes to CNetID claim process reduces University risk: The process by which new faculty, students, and staff claim a CNetID now requires individuals to sign up for two-factor authentication (2FA). 2FA is an extra layer of security requiring two methods (also referred to as factors) to verify your identity. Requiring 2FA is an important part of ongoing efforts to secure the online identity and personal information of all faculty, students, and staff, as well as protect the University’s research, intellectual property, and institutional data. The change to the CNetID claim process is a part of a larger effort to enroll all University faculty, staff, and students in 2FA.


VoIP upgrade enhances capabilities and improves availability: The voice over IP (VoIP) telephone system consists of over 17,000 VoIP phones within the University of Chicago and The University of Chicago Medicine. In 2011, IT Services developed the VoIP telephone system and has expanded it steadily while phasing out the legacy traditional phone system. In order to ensure the continued viability of the VoIP system, IT Services performed an upgrade on the hardware and software that supports telephone services, voicemail, unified messaging, transcription, and call centers. The upgrade enhanced the capabilities of the system, improved service availability, and strengthened the security designed to promote user privacy.


Thumbnail image of the April 2018 AVP Report.

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Updates from the Associate Vice President for IT and CIO – April 2018