Bioacoustics Research Lab
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign | Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering | Department of Bioengineering
Department of Statistics | Coordinated Science Laboratory | Beckman Institute | Food Science and Human Nutrition | College of Engineering
 Wednesday, June 28th, 2017
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William D. O'Brien, Jr. publications:

Michael L. Oelze publications:

BRL Computer Capabilities

Shared laboratory computer resources include five Sun workstations, three Athlon Linux PCs, three Pentium III PCs(including a Dell Inspiron notebook), two dual Pentium II Xeon Linux PCs, five Pentium II PCs, three Pentium PCs, and two Apple G4 PowerPC systems. All total, over 300 GB of disk space exists for lab uses. The Sun workstations and Linux PCs are primarily used for data processing and analysis, while the slower lab PCs and Macs are used for data collection and assorted lab tasks.

For data analysis, the lab's Sun workstations provide an efficient and powerful means for processing mass quantities of experimental data. All five workstations in the lab run the latest version of Sun's Solaris operating system and the Sun Workshop, Sun's group of FORTRAN and C/C++ compilers. The vast majority of the lab's data analysis is accomplished through the use of the latest version of the MathWorks' MATLAB package, installed on all of the workstations. The lab's computer of choice for day-to-day processing tasks is a Sun Enterpise 250 server, complete with two UltraSPARC II 400Mhz processors, 1GB of RAM, 5 9GB SCSI hard drives, and Raptor GFX graphics. For some tasks, however, the dual 500Mhz Xeon Pentium IIs are faster, as each one includes 1GB of RAM, 2 9GB SCSI LVD-2 drives, the latest version of Redhat Linux, and Matrox G200 graphics. The three Athlons running Red Hat Linux are a new addition. Each one of the Athlons is several times faster than any of the other computers in the lab. One of the Athlons has a 1.33Ghz processor while the other two have 2100+ XP processors. All three of the Athlons have 1GB of RAM. The other four lab workstations consist of a Sun Ultra 30, Sun Ultra 1, SPARCstation 20, and SPARCstation 2.

Data acquisition in the BRL is accomplished using lower cost PCs. For experiments requiring acquisition of data from and communication to oscilloscopes, ultrasonic pulser-receivers, or positioning systems, PCs are equipped with GPIB controllers for communication with lab instruments via the IEEE 488.2 protocol. One of the PCs is equipped with a National Instruments A/D card for capturing certain types of data. When image data must be collected, like that returned from the lab's scanning laser acoustic microscope, a Pentium II PC is equipped with an advanced Matrox Imaging video capture board. Several of the lab's PCs are equipped with a CD-RW drive while a scanner is shared between a PC and an Apple G4, allowing users to scan images and write CD-ROMs. In addition to data acquisition, the BRL's PCs are available for a variety of everyday tasks, like word processing, email, and web browsing.

The facility's local area network (LAN) provides an Ethernet connection in every office and research laboratory in the BRL areas. The LAN routes both TCP/IP and Appletalk network protocols, allowing for seamless communication between lab Macs, PCs, workstations, and the university backbone network. Lab users are able to obtain high-resolution printing services from networked black-and-white laser printers in the lab or from Beckman Institute public color printers. Freely available network file sharing software packages like Samba and CAP run on one of the Sun workstations, allowing it to act as a central file server for the Macs and PCs in the lab. The same Sun workstation also acts as a mail server, providing lab users with Internet email accounts and maintaining email distribution lists. The BRL web server is maintained on the LAN to provide a central point for public information exchange about the lab's ongoing projects, people, history, and special events. Data from every lab computer is backed up nightly through the LAN to a centralized Dell PowerEdge backup server equipped with a RAID-1 mirroring array of 120GB hard drives, one of which is shelved on a monthly basis.

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