09.23.2005 12:13

Air Conditioning Problems Continue

The air conditioning unit for our machine room is continuing to have problems. I have entered the room twice and found the controller flashing OFF. The buttons on the controller don't seem to work, and I have to power off the whole system before the controller responds again and the air conditioner runs.

I have reported the problem to F&M, but until they can fix it, I will have to keep the Amber cluster offline.

Sorry for any inconvenience.

Posted by Claire Connelly | Permalink | Categories: System Maintenance, Amber

09.20.2005 11:32

Power Outage Effects

Yesterday's power outage was fun for all, but it's had some negative effects on our computing services.

Our servers are all supplied with power through Uninterruptible Power Supplies -- big batteries, basically. The most important servers (the ones that provide file, print, e-mail, and web service) actually have two power supplies, each of which has a UPS that is, in turn, connected to a different power source. One of those sources has a local generator, so when the power went out, the servers first went on UPS, then were able to run off the generator power.

Unfortunately, our air conditioning unit for our server room, while separate from the Libra complex's air conditioning, does rely on actual power. And all the air conditioning systems share a set of chillers and other support equipment. That equipment is the source of the current air conditioning outage, and that is affecting our machine room.

The primary effect you may have noticed is that our Amber Beowulf cluster is offline. Sixteen machines generate a lot of heat, and therefore the Amber cluster will be offline until air conditioning is restored.

A secondary effect is that our disk-based backup system is suffering a thermal-related issue with one of the drives in the array. I first noticed the problem just before the power outage -- the air conditioning in the machine room wasn't working, and the machine had gotten hot enough for the drive to seize up. I was able to cool the system down and get the array rebuilding, but then we had the power failure followed by the air conditioning failure, so our disk-based backups will be offline until such time as the temperature drops, as well.

Note that we also do regular tape backups, so we do still have backups, it's just that they are slightly less current and much less convenient. Please try not to delete anything important until we have A/C back!

Personal UPS Units and Power Outages

Faculty and staff (mostly) have small UPS units for their desktop machines. Those UPSs are meant to smooth the transition between line power and generator power during power outages and not to allow you to continue working through a significant power outage. These UPS units will not keep a typical desktop system running for more than about 5-15 minutes at the longest.

Because yesterday's power outage occurred on campus, the disruption prevented both line and generator power from being distributed. Thus your UPSs may have been run down to the point that your machines shutdown (or crashed when the power stopped).

You should save your work as soon as a power outage occurs. If the power isn't back after about three minutes, you should log out and shut your machine down manually.

Once the power is back, the UPS batteries will begin charging again. It should be safe to work with your machine once the power is back, but be aware that if additional power outages occur while the battery is charging, your machine will have less runtime than it did when the battery was fully charged.

Posted by Claire Connelly | Permalink | Categories: System Maintenance

09.19.2005 14:22

Sample Thesis/Clinic Available

The revamped combined sample thesis and Clinic report is now available for download and use.

This document provides you with

  • A typeset example showing various features provided by LaTeX and the hmcthesis or hmcclinic classes
  • An exemplary document to show you what ``good'' LaTeX code should look like

The sample document can be downloaded from http://www.math.hmc.edu/computing/support/tex/sample-report/, which is the new canonical home for this material. In addition to links to download the files in ZIP or tar.gz format, there are basic instructions on how to typeset the sample files to generate a sample thesis, sample clinic report, or both.

Remember, if you're working on your TeX system, you'll also need to be sure that you have the latest version of the hmcthesis or hmcclinic class files. The class files can be found by going to http://www.math.hmc.edu/computing/support/tex/ and following the links to the appropriate pages.

Posted by Claire Connelly | Permalink | Categories: LaTeX, Website

09.15.2005 12:20

Maple Updated to 10.01

I have updated our network install of Maple to 10.01, as mentioned in a previous entry.

I also have updates for standalone copies, so if you have one and you haven't updated by choosing the ``Check for Updates...'' option from the Tools menu, you can download the updates and apply them manually using the links in the previous entry.

Posted by Claire Connelly | Permalink | Categories: System Maintenance, Linux

09.02.2005 15:26

Updated MATLAB to R14, Service Pack 3

Just in time for the new semester, both MathWorks, makers of MATLAB, and MapleSoft, makers of Maple, came out with new updates for their products.


Details about Service Pack 3 are available. The network install has been updated; if you type matlab to start MATLAB on a math Linux system, you'll get the service pack 3 version.

I haven't yet figured out what the best way of distributing updates to locally installed copies of MATLAB is; although it sounds like we're going to basically need to reinstall the app on each machine.

See our MATLAB support page for information and ways to run different versions (including the classroom or research licenses or older versions).


Details on version 10.01.

As of this writing, Maplesoft only has updates for the single-user version of Maple. If you have Maple 10 installed on your system and you would like to update it yourself, you can download the updates from our site (this link will only work for machines with an hmc.edu address) or get the updates direct from Maplesoft.

We will be updating our network install of Maple as soon as the media are available. Check back here for updates.

Our Maple support page may have additional information you might find interesting or useful.

Posted by Claire Connelly | Permalink | Categories: System Maintenance, Linux