STWingCS History

Mission Statement

The purpose of STWing Computing Services is to be an IT center on the University of Pennsylvania campus dedicated to the support of the its undergraduate community. The focus of STWing Computing Services (hereafter abbreviated STWingCS) will be two-fold.

One, STWingCS will serve as a teaching institution for undergraduates interested in System Administration in a real-world setting. This will be facilitated by an organization of undergraduate System Administrators (both Senior and Associate) teaching their peers (Junior System Administrators) the skills of System Administration, while themselves gaining the skills and experience to work in the IT field after graduation. It will be unique in being an institution of IT learning “for students, by students”.

Two, STWingCS will serve as an IT center providing high-end computing services (focusing on the UNIX/Linux environments) to undergraduates at the University of Pennsylvania. It will furthermore provide resources specific to facilitating undergraduate research computing for the exclusive use of undergraduates who otherwise may not have access to them.

History and the Present

Back in 1994, an article was written about STWing and the strides it has made in the Penn community.

STWingCS started in 1993 when STWing applied for a NSF grant to set up its own server. STWing was at the time a test group for the newly formed ResNET. In the spring of 1994 STWing recieved a grant for Force (a SPARC Classic). Under its first system administrator, Eric Fitzpatrick, Force was set up as an e-mail and interactive login server for all STWing Memebers to use.

Over the years, STWingCS has upgraded Force serveral times. To date it has been 4 different machines. In addition to Force itself growing, STWingCS has grown as a whole. Force is no longer a single server, but is one of many servers providing a variety of services including: web, database, mailing list, and project development, along with several others.

From its beginnings in serving only the STWing Community, STWingCS has grown in focus to support the UPenn general undergraduate community. To date STWingCS privides mailing lists, the King’s Court / English College House websever, webpages or backend scripting support for serveral clubs and organizations including Perspectives in Humanities and ESAC, and a research computing cluster called Darkside for undergraduates to have access to the developement tools and computing power they need to accomplish their research goals, whether they be in distributed computing or high-end graphic rendering.

In the Spring of 2005 STWing Computing Services was officially chartered as its own non-residential organization. In splitting off from its mother program it has decided to keep the word “STWing” in its name as a memory of where it came from and as a reminder to all of the incredible things that STWing has produced over the years it has been a program at UPenn. While its mandate will always include providing high-end computing services to STWing; this new organization’s focus is now broadened to include supporting undergraduate programs and individuals in the UPenn Community, especially in the fields of research and IT training.

Today, UPenn has established College House Computing to provide IT services for the ever-more-digital world we live in. Still, STWingers often contribute heavily to the ranks of the ITAs of KCECH.