Research Support

CITS is committed to supporting all research efforts involving the University of Maryland. This includes providing high-speed access to national research networks, backup storage for research data, additional cycles for massive calculations, and an ongoing dialogue with the research community to identify additional opportunities. 

A state-of-the art computing facility to support the research and educational missions of the University has been acquired and is now fully operational.

University Computing Facility

A state-of-the art computing facility to support the research and educational missions of the University has been acquired and is fully operational. This facility is located on the seventh floor of the 300 West Lexington Street Building in Baltimore. This computer room can accommodate approximately 100 racks of equipment. It has been engineered to provide power, both primary and backup, as well as cooling for the equipment in the room. A redundant and diverse fiber-optic network connection from the 300 West Lexington Building to the University’s core network “hub” in Howard Hall is in the process of being installed. The network hub has multiple connections to the commercial internet as well as connections to the very high-speed Abilene network (run by the Internet2 consortium), as well as to the National Lambda Rail (a specialized high-speed network for researchers). 

This computing center will strengthen the campus cyberinfrastructure by providing a common University computing space for locating equipment; equipment that will support campus, schools and departments, and research systems and data.  Computational resources are also available for faculty use. The UMB community has recognized the growing importance of a campus cyberInfrastructure to support the core research, education, and business operations of a university. Increasingly, technology is embedded in research and education involving most areas of science and knowledge. Faculty need and depend on greater levels of computing resources to support their projects as well as their livelihoods and careers. This increasing need of faculty for greater depth and strength of computing resources is exceeding the capabilities available within most projects, departments, schools, and centers. This computing facility focuses on sharing, efficiency, making greater capabilities available across research, and education communities. It facilitates new applications and collaboration and interoperability across schools, institutions and disciplines. It is helping the campus, schools, and departments by providing backup and disaster recovery solutions to existing systems, by making expansive storage and computational power available to faculty researchers, and by replicating mission-critical University systems to ensure a high-available computing environment for students, faculty, and staff. 

The value-added of this computing facility is that it synthesizes a common computing infrastructure with local discipline specific applications and digital assets. It accommodates computing systems and data storage, linked by a high-speed network across campus and the outside world. These cyber-infrastructure building blocks are essential to supporting the research, teaching. and creative activities of the UMB community. 

The following are available IT resources:

Internet

UMB supports a research cyberinfrastructure that includes interconnections with campus, regional, national research, and education networks. UMB researchers have access to National Lambda Rail (NLR), and Internet2. The Mid-Atlantic Crossroads (MAX) is the regional optical network that connects UMB to the NLR and the Internet2. MAX provides services at 10 Gbps to universities in Maryland, D.C., and Virginia as well as nearly 50 federal agencies including NIH and NLM. UMB is also a host to the Maryland Education and Research Network (MDREN) which provides high-speed connections to other public and private education institutions in Maryland as well as to Maryland’s state government network, Network Maryland. UMB co-founded, with Johns Hopkins, the Baltimore Education Research Network (BERNet) that serves a consortium of local research universities with low-cost, high-speed connections to a GigaPop in Baltimore City and connections to MAX.

Network

UMB connects 65 buildings and all its schools, departments, institutes, and programs to the 10 Gbps campus fiber-optic backbone matching the capacity available from the commodity internet, MAX, and NLR. UMB connects to those networks through redundant routers and firewalls so connections automatically fail over if a single pathway is unavailable. The core network infrastructure is redundant, and most research departments on campus are taking advantage of this capability by connecting their building infrastructure to both cores, reducing or eliminating downtime associated with equipment failure.

Computing Facility and Resources

UMB maintains a state-of-the-art, off-campus computing facility to support its research and educational missions. It has been engineered specifically to accommodate high-performance computing. Redundant, diverse 10 Gbps DWDM fiber-optic links from the 300 West Lexington building to the campus core network “hub” connect this facility to existing high-performance grid computing and storage resources available in UMB schools, departments, programs, and institutes. The facility has ample room for future growth that focuses on sharing, efficiency, and making enhanced capabilities available for research and education. CITS also maintains a 16-node high performance computing cluster in the 300 West Lexington Building that is available to researchers on an ad-hoc basis. The cluster will be enhanced for researchers, as needed. All principal investigators are offered data backup services to provide a safe and secure place to back up research data. CITS offers one terabyte (TB) of free backup storage to each active principal investigator. Additional storage is available at a highly subsidized one-time cost.

Access Infrastructure and Services

An infrastructure has been built to allow the use of the UMID to access UMB enterprise applications as well as many school and department systems. Additional work is underway to connect more UMB and UMCP systems to a common access infrastructure and enable the use of a common ID. In an effort to support access to significant partners and sponsors, UMB has established a membership with the Internet2 InCommon Consortium. With the help of InCommon, the UMB enterprise directory can integrate with the directories of other participating organizations. This means researchers can access resources such as NIH databases by using the same login credentials used for campus IT services. There are now 48 NIH applications that are available via this integration.

The following applications are part of the 48 available apps:

Human Salivary Proteome wiki, Annual Progress Reporting Science Information System (APRSIS , Clinical Translational Sciences Award (CTSA), STAR METRICS, MRI Scheduler, Public Reviewer, The database of Genotypes and Phenotypes (dbGaP), PubMed, Flow Cytometry Experiment and Reagent Management System (FERMS), Address Lookup Tool (ALT) for National Children's Study, and Web Collaboration.

Wireless Network Access

UMB has joined the Eduroam wireless consortium and has enabled Eduroam wireless for UMB. Eduroam (education roaming) is the secure, worldwide roaming access service developed for the international research and education community. Having started in Europe, Eduroam has gained momentum throughout the research and education community and is available in 54 countries. Eduroam also gives the faculty, staff, and students the ability to connect to any wireless system in the University regardless of the building you are in. Eduroam also allows students, faculty and staff from participating institutions to obtain internet connectivity across campus and when visiting other participating institutions by utilizing their local login credentials (UMID) on their laptop or smartphone. This allows persons with UMB identities to access wireless networks at any participating member organization with a single set of credentials. Locally, this includes the UMCP and UMBC campuses of the University System of Maryland.

UMVibe

CITS provides a free collaboration tool called UMVibe. The application allows faculty to form teams across organizational boundaries to share and group edit content as well as to manage team activities on a common calendar. This enables researchers to work with colleagues in other departments, schools, universities, and research centers without regard to geography or time zones. All content shared among collaborators is secured on campus equipment behind firewalls and other security devices. All data is encrypted when being transmitted.

Collaborate Audio/Video Conferencing

CITS provides a web-based teleconferencing system called Collaborate. This allows spur-of-the-moment or scheduled web or telephone conferencing with the ability to share desktops, content, and video.

Software Licenses

The Office of Software Licensing, in CITS, provides enterprise pricing for software used at the desktop level. Examples of software available to researchers at volume discounts are Mathematica and ARCGis. For statistical analysis, we offer SAS, SPSS and STATA. In addition, anti-virus software from Symantec, office productivity software from Microsoft, and presentation software from Adobe are available at reduced rates. Campus demand and the ability to offer a volume discount are the drivers for offering any of the software products available through this office.

Web Applications

Many research projects require development of data management systems as well as public facing applications. The Web Development Group, in CITS, is able to provide these services. Developers are able to apply contemporary web application tools and standards to development of custom systems that collect and analyze data or serve out research findings to a broader community.

VPN Web Client

Another service that is available is a Virtual Private Network (VPN) web client. Versions are available for most contemporary platforms and enable remote users to securely access the campus network and information resources from anywhere.

IT Help Desk

The IT Help Desk, in CITS, provides support to faculty, students, and staff for all Enterprise (campuswide) applications. Help with accessing Enterprise applications (such as UM Mail, COEUS, and Effort Reporting) is available daily, Sunday through Saturday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The IT Help Desk is located in the HS/HSL, Room 540. It can be reached by phone (410-706-4357), email, and fax (410-706-4191).

Technology Training

The Enterprise Training Group (ETG) works closely with CITS enterprise application development teams, creating supporting documentation and designing and delivering training for system end-users. Training may be delivered in a classroom, online, or, when called for, on an individual consulting basis. Sometimes the ETG develops and maintains training materials for the organization that owns the system, and in turn they deliver the training.

Supported applications include:

  • UMVibe collaborative authoring tool
  • Collaborate teleconferencing system
  • COEUS proposal and grant management system
  • eUM Financials
  • RMS Payroll system