Behind the scenes, numerous groups work together to keep the center from falling into chaos. From the building itself to the people in it, these dedicated people handle it all with deft expertise.
The notorious elevators—On November 5, the long-awaited elevator replacement project officially began. All three elevators in the Atmospheric, Oceanic and Space Sciences Building will be replaced. The estimated project completion date is January 2007.
Emergency plan—Building manager JoAnn Banks has been working with the UW-Madison Police Department & Security over the last 6 months or so to develop an Emergency Response Plan for our building. As part of a campus-wide plan, the purpose is to create a coordinated response for all emergencies. Banks will make the plan public after it is finalized and approved.
New alarms—A new alarm system was installed in the Data Center and the data depository in room 515A. The system will alarm and call the UWPD for temperature and humidity levels that are too high or too low, and if any of the seven water alarms on the utility floor are activated. The system runs on a building automation program called Metasys, a system used all over campus.
Cleaner antennas work better—Dave Jones coordinated with the paint shop to have the big antenna the corner of Orchard and Spring Streets power-washed and repainted. They used a special hydrophobic paint that helps the snow slide off. The new paint job increased the signal strength by two DB.
New quality assurance program—SSEC has begun a new quality assurance program that will implement quality processes in core technology teams. Tom Demke intends that the program will meet the needs of all size SSEC projects, from the smallest sensor through larger pieces of technology prepared for spaceflight missions. The goals are to ensure product and project quality, to meet funding agency requirements, and to improve efficiency by developing process infrastructure and common work practices.
The Human Resources Office had a busy year. In 2005, this office handled 66 new hires including academic, classified and limited time employees, graduate and undergraduate students, and research interns. They also renewed and extended 17 visas for international visitors and international staff.
Software upgrade for UW Police Department—On March 1, SSEC’s Purchasing department installed new versions of Purchasing and Purchasing Card (P-Card) Software for the UWPD. Over the years, this department has shared several software developments with other units on campus. UW’s School of Business obtained source code from us several years ago, and now uses its own derivative of SSEC Purchasing software.
Automated reports—2005 also saw the beginning of automated MBE reports to UW-Madison’s Research and Sponsored Programs office via SSEC’s new accounting interface. Senior Information Processing Consultant Dave Allen submitted these reports manually for the last 26 years. Purchasing Agent Judy Cohen carried out the automated procedure for the first time in 2005.
Getting rid of P-Card bugs—In May, SSEC began on-going participation in a new pilot program to help eliminate bugs in a new version of the P-Card operation on campus. SSEC participated in the original pilot program that produced the policies and procedures that brought the P-Card to campus in the 1990s.
Many thanks—Dave Allen acknowledged the contribution of members of Mike Dean’s group. After a member of the purchasing team retired, Mike’s group took over a significant portion of the P-Card ordering for ’05.
Heavy lifting—In 2005, SSEC’s Shipping and Receiving department received approximately 2,700 packages including 1,400 SSEC purchases. Staff also shipped approximately 650 items for SSEC’s major engineering and instrument groups. These include Ice Coring and Drilling Services, Atmospheric Emitted Radiance Interferometer (AERI) and Scanning High-resolution Interferometer Sounder (S-HIS) development teams and field experiments, Antarctic High Spectral Resolution Lidar, the Automatic Weather Station program, Geosynchronous Imaging Fourier Transform Spectrometer (GIFTS) development program, and a variety of CIMSS projects.
Guiding the lidar—Shipping and Receiving personnel successfully guided the Antarctic High Spectral Resolution Lidar through customs for deployment to Eureka in Canada. This point is the farthest north from which to track geostationary satellites. The lidar measures the heights of clouds and aerosols in the atmosphere from precise measurements of the travel time of laser pulses.
Moving the DXS—In August 2005, Shipping and Receiving moved the Diffuse X-ray Spectrometer (DXS) to its new home in Space Place. SSEC designed and developed the DXS in collaboration with the UW Space Physics group for use on a space shuttle mission from January 13 to 19, 1993. The DXS collected data on the diffuse x-ray background in interstellar space.
Help and security —SSEC’s Technical Computing (TC) staff handled approximately 2,500 formal requests in 2005. They also dealt with significant numbers of informal phone and walk-in requests. TC also increased SSEC computing security by improving password security.
Backup for your laptop—The folks in TC also developed and deployed a new automated backup system specifically for SSEC laptops.Large-scale initiatives—TC also contributed to some interesting new and ongoing large-scale computing initiatives. This includes the development of Linux clusters, the expansion and improvement of large disk systems such as the Data Center’s 40 Terabyte online archive, and a 13 Terabyte Storage Area Network to provide computing support for high spectral resolution data analysis.
OWL: A major Web project—The OWL, or Online Weather Looper, now has a permanent home in the lobby of the Atmospheric, Oceanic and Space Sciences building. A large plasma screen between the two passenger elevators displays informative and colorful weather imagery from satellites and radars as well as other instruments and techniques. Bill Bellon, SSEC’s Webmaster, was instrumental to this process. See Above and Beyond for more information ... or just visit the lobby!