COMPUTER NEWS (January/February 1993)


General Enquiries               8592495
Computer Operation              8592496
(Hardware and operational problems)
'Help Desk'                     8592480
(Software and general problems)
Fax                             5597904
Hardware Maintenance            8592774
Dial-up to Data Switch
        24-hr service line:     8592595
        Night service line:     8597997

Operation Schedule for March 1993

Computer CentreOpening Hours

Normal Schedule                     
From September 14, 1992 to June 13, 1993  
Monday (8:00 a.m.) to Saturday (9:00 p.m.)

Sunday from 12:00 noon to 7:00 p.m.
Closed on Holidays.  

VAX 6420 (HKUCC)           
IBM9375 (HKUVMI)
IBM4361 (HKUVM)
DECsystem 5500s (HKUXA/HKUXB)                                  
SUN SPARCserver 670 (HKUSUB)                                           
                                                  
Service hours
24 hours Daily.
Running unattended on all
Sundays and Holidays
           
Maintenance Schedule                            
VAX 6420 (HKUCC)        
March 3, 1993 (Wednesday)                        
IBM 4361 (HKUVM)
March 16, 1993 (Tuesday)

Terminal Room Opening Hours

Remote Terminal Rooms Rm 218, Knowles Building Rm LG-108, KK Leung Bldg. Ultrix /SunOS Workstation Room Rm 210, Run Run Shaw Bldg. Microcomputer Laboratories Rm 101, 103, 104, Run Run Shaw Building Normal Schedule Monday to Friday: 8:30 a.m. - 10:00 p.m. Saturday: 8:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m. Closed on Sundays & Holidays

Holiday Schedule for March 1993

(VAX 6420, IBM 9375, DECsystem 5500s and SUN SPARCserver 670 will be running unattended on all holidays)

Foundation Day (University Holiday)
        
Mar 16,1993 (Thu)
    Computer Centreclosed at 8:00 a.m.
    No computer service at 7:30 a.m.
    All terminal rooms closed.
        
        
Mar 17,1993 (Wed)
    Computer Centreopen at 8:00 a.m.
    All computer systems resume service at 8:30 a.m.
        
'Help Desk' Consultation Hours

Rm 109, Run Run Shaw Building (8592480) Monday - Friday: 9:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. 2:00 p.m. - 5:30 p.m. Saturday: 9:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. Closed on Sundays & Holidays


General News

Inauguration of the Upgraded HARNET

Computer Centre is pleased to inform our users that the major upgrade of HARNET, the Hongkong Academic and Research NETwork, has been officially inaugurated on February 10, 1993 by Mr. Antony Leung, the Chairman-designate of the University and Polytechnic Grant Committee (UPGC), Mr. Peter Hamilton, Director of Corporate Affairs of the Hongkong Telecom, Dr. C.J Su, Chairman of the University and Polytechnic Computer Centre (UPCC) and Mrs. Min-min Chang, Chairman of the Joint University & Polytechnic Library Advisory Committee (JUPLAC). Our Director, Dr. N. Ng, who is also the Director of UPCC, was the master of ceremony at the inauguration and also demonstrated the functionalities of HARNET to a capacity crowd at the Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Centre.

The upgraded HARNET now links the campus networks of the seven UPGC- funded tertiary institutions through a high-speed and robust T1-ring (1.544 Mbps) network, and has a gateway linked to Internet through a 64 Kbps leased satellite data circuit to the U.S. This HARNET upgrade has been made possible through a HK$ 2 million grant initiative of UPGC and JUPLAC and a HK$ 4 million donation by the Hongkong Telecom Foundation to UPCC. With the cooperative efforts of Information Technology Servicess of UPCC, and with the assistance provided by Hongkong Telecom, the HARNET upgrade project has been a total success from its initial design to the final facility commissioning stages. Since late December 1992 when the upgraded HARNET started its trial service, many of our users have been excited by the convenience and effectiveness of the new facilities that have been provided, e.g. inter-institutional library catalogue access, USENET, etc.

Through the upgraded HARNET, our staff and students can now gain access to the library computer systems of other sister institutions as efficient as they were local systems. Through the Internet gateway of HARNET, information and databases on thousands of computer systems on the Internet are readily available to our users. For more information about HARNET, its history, development and future plan, please read the Computer Services Digest of this issue of Computer News.

While it is our pride in announcing the recent inauguration of the newly enhanced HARNET which is an invaluable facility to the University's teaching and research activities, Computer Centre would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the UPGC and JUPLAC initiative to upgrade HARNET and to thank the Hongkong Telecom Foundation for their donation to help finance the operation of the local HARNET and the connection to the Internet for a three-year period. Last but not least, we would like to express our gratitude to the colleagues of our sister institutions as well as staff of our Centre who have contributed to the success of the project.

P. T. Ho
Tel.: 8592491
E-mail: hcxchpt@hkucc.hku.hk

Inter-institutional Library Catalogue Access

With the high-speed HARNET in service, it is now convenient and efficient for our users to gain access to the library catalogues of other institutions through the HKUMENU of our Centre's VAX 6420 (HKUCC) and UNIX (HKUXA, HKUXB and HKUSUB) systems. A new menu entry "Other UPGC Institution Libraries" has been added to HKUMENU for the purpose. Once a user has established his terminal session with any of the above systems, invoked the HKUMENU by issuing the 'hkumenu' command, and selected the new menu entry "Other UPGC Institution Libraries", he will see a screen for his selection of the desirable library catalogue. To help the user to use the facility, help and prompt messages are provided on each dialogue screen for connecting to the systems. For further queries, please contact Mr. T. Y. Lui (tel:8592455, e-mail: hcxclty@hkucc.hku.hk).

P. T. Ho
Tel.: 8592491
E-mail: hcxchpt@hkucc.hku.hk

Computing Services Survey Result

A survey on Computer Centre's computing services was conducted in last December. The purpose of the survey was to find out users' opinions on our computing and network services, to identify areas for improvement and where possible, to formulate and implement solution for improvement.

Eight hundred and thirty-seven questionnaires were sent to the University staff members and postgraduate students who have accounts on Centre's host computer systems. A total of one hundred and sixty-four questionnaires (about 20%) had been returned. The results of the survey are summarised below for your information.

Amongst the responses, 58.5% was from teaching staff, 29.9% from non- teaching staff and the remaining 11.6% was from postgraduate students. Many of them have been the users of Computer Centre for years. About 80% of the users have been using Centre's services for more than 3 years (close to 50% have been over 5 years) and only less than 4% of the users have used Centre's services for less than 1 year. Over 80% of the users learn about the latest activities of the Centre through the bi-monthly issue of Computer News.

0 The opinion in Centre's computing facilities and services is encouraging. Many users are satisfied with most of our computing facilities and services. Of the thirteen services, file transfer is the highly rated service while the laser printing facility is the badly rated one. Please refer to the following charts for details.

Access to Datapak service

Excellent 3.4% Good 10.3% Fair 58.6% Below Average 13.8% Poor 13.8% Access to HKU Lib. Catalogue through network

Excellent 19.8% Good 38.9% Fair 31.7% Below Average 4.8% Poor 4.8% Access to other Libraries Catalogues through network (Hytelnet)

Excellent 21.7% Good 31.7% Fair 30.0% Below Average 10.0% Poor 6.7% CCBOX - Time taken to reply

Excellent 10.3% Good 44.8% Fair 24.1% Below Average 10.3% Poor 10.3% CCBOX - Reply/follow up action

Excellent 11.5% Good 38.5% Fair 38.5% Below Average 7.7% Poor 3.8% Electronic Bulletin Boards (News, Job etc)

Excellent 11.3% Good 40.3% Fair 43.5% Below Average 4.8% Poor - File transfer between computers (FTP)

Excellent 25.8% Good 43.8% Fair 18.0% Below Average 6.7% Poor 5.6% Time taken to solve your problem at Help Desk

Excellent 10.6% Good 25.8% Fair 34.8% Below Average 18.2% Poor 10.6% Laser printing services

Excellent - Good 5.9% Fair 23.5% Below Average 58.8% Poor 11.8% PC connection to time-sharing computers

Excellent 13.0% Good 33.3% Fair 33.3% Below Average 18.5% Poor 1.9% PC-Sig Library

Excellent 2.8% Good 44.4% Fair 33.3% Below Average 13.9% Poor 5.6% SENDFAX

Excellent 16.3% Good 32.6% Fair 32.6% Below Average 9.3% Poor 9.3% User handbooks/documents (Completeness)

Excellent 8.3% Good 33.3% Fair 39.6% Below Average 11.7% Poor 7.3% User handbooks/documents (Informative)

Excellent 6.1% Good 30.6% Fair 36.7% Below Average 17.3% Poor 9.2%

Note: Figures may not add up to 100% due to rounding errors.

On the host systems (i.e. HKUCC, HKUXA and HKUXB) most users (76%) find their job turnaround time from our host systems acceptable. Over 70% of the users have the opinion that the software provided on our host systems (i.e. HKUCC, HKUXA and HKUXB) are adequate for their daily work. Fortran and SPSS are the most popular compiler and application package respectively.

On the microcomputer systems, Wordperfect and Chinese CWI under ETEN are the most popular wordprocessing software in English and Chinese respectively. Dbase is the major database software for most users. Harvard Graphics, Lotus 123 are the most popular graphics and spreadsheet packages for our users. The result shows that many users employ SPSS/PC as their statistical analysis software. Over 70% of our users think that the microcomputer software provided in Computer Centre are adequate for their daily works.

From the analysis, we have identified that the provision of dialup lines, documentation and dissemination of Centre's information are the areas that require our primary attention. We shall review these areas with a view for improvement.

If you require further information of our analysis, please contact the undersigned.

C.   M.   Mak 
Tel.:   8592491 
E-mail: cmmak@hkucc.hku.hk                         

UNIX News

Sending FAX from the UNIX systems

Sending FAX messages normally involves two steps:

(1) preparing the message on paper,

(2) sending them out via FAX machines.

The SENDFAX program on our VAX 6420/VMS (HKUCC) system has been set up to help users to prepare and send their FAX messages directly from their workstations. Now the same facility is provided by our UNIX servers (HKUXA, HKUXB and HKUSUB) as well.

The SENDFAX program makes use of the Hong Kong Telephone Company's DATAFAX service, which is a FAX sending service available to DATAPAK users. The program provides the function of routing the user's message to the DATAFAX service as well as the function of text editing for message preparation. SENDFAX allows the user either to send out a message which has been previously prepared and stored in an existing text file or to prepare a text message and then send it to the recipient(s) in an integral step.

The SENDFAX program, however, has the following limitations:

. length of a message is limited to 133,000 characters or 30 pages

. only printable ASCII characters can be sent

. message can only be sent to the local Faxlines registered with the Hong Kong Telephone Company

To invoke the SENDFAX program, the user should first run the hkumenu interface and choose the SENDFAX option (If the user is invoking the SENDFAX program for the first time, the program will prompt the user to provide the user's name, department, FAX number, and telephone number.). The system will then prompt the user to enter the following information interactively:

. number of receivers (1 or 2) - the use of a distribution list can overcome this limitation

. name and organization of the first receiver

. FAX number of the first receiver

. name and organization of the second receiver (only for the case of 2 receivers)

. FAX number of the second receiver (only for the case of 2 receivers)

the text file to be sent

For the last prompt which asks for the text file to be sent, the user can either enter the name of the file or just press the key. If a filename is specified as the answer, the text file will be routed to the DATAFAX service immediately. If the answer is just a pressing of the key, a screen editor (vi editor) will be invoked so that the user can start preparing his text message. For information of using vi, please refer to the Centre's "UNIX USER's GUIDE". At the end of the routing process, the user will be notified the result by e-mail.

C.Y.W. Cheung
Tel.: 8592497
E-mail: cheungyw@hkucc.hku.hk

VAX News

GCGMENU on the VAX 6420 (HKUCC) system

We have installed a new interface program, GCG-menu, for the GCG users. Since the program is menu-driven, it is especially helpful to new users of the software.

GCG-menu is derived from MENUE, a user environment for VAX computers. With MENUE it is possible to modify the menus of GCG-menu in a more comfortable manner or to create other menus and menu systems. GCG-menu and MENUE have been developed by Max-Planck-Institut fur Immunbiologie. Users are welcome to try the software by typing the following commands (after logging onto a HKUCC account):

   $ @HKU:GCG $ GCGMENU 
The software supports vt200 emulation through TCP/IP, the following is a list of some useful function keys.

   Ctl F10        to go back to the previous menu 
   Ctl F9         to go back directly to the main menu 
   Ctl F8         to leave the menu system 
   Alt Ctl F5     to get help 
   Alt Ctl F3     to clear the input field 
   Alt Ctl F4     to toggle between insert and overstrike mode 
   Ctl/W          to refresh the screen 
   TAB            to move the cursor to the beginning of the input field 
On VT100 or other terminal emulations that do not support the above keys, the following alternate keys are available:

   PF1 (F1)       to go back to the previous menu
   PF2 (F2)       to get help
   PF3 (F3)       to clear the input field
   Ctrl/A         to toggle between insert and overstrike mode
Instead of using function keys, you can also enter the equivalent commands in the input area (remember to press RETURN or ENTER to confirm your input). For example: you can enter the command QUIT instead of pressing Ctrl F8 to leave the system.

You can select an item (option) in a menu just by first entering the appropriate highlighted character(s) of the item in the input area and then pressing the RETURN or ENTER key

More details of the software can be found in the file

   HKUDOC:GCGMENU.DOC

C.Y.W. Cheung
Tel.: 8592497
E-mail: cheungyw@hkucc.hku.hk

SPSS Release 4.1 installed on the VAX 6420 (HKUCC) system

SPSS Release 4.1 which has been installed for trial use for several months is now installed as the production version on the VAX 6420/VMS (HKUCC) system. The old version of SPSS-X is no longer available. The commands for executing SPSS Release 4.1 in its different operating modes are summarised below:

    To execute                   Command at DCL prompt

1)  SPSS Manager                 SPSS
2)  Prompted Session             SPSS/NOMANAGER

3)  Command file (Assuming the SPSS program file is  MYSPSS.SPS)
    a) Interactively             SPSS/NOMANAGER  MYSPSS
  * b) Output to                 SPSS/NOMANAGER /OUTPUT  MYSPSS
       listing file                    
       (The default listing file is  MYSPSS.LIS  in this case)

    c) Batch mode                SUBMIT/NOPRINT/NOTIFY 
       where the  may contain the following line:

     $ SPSS/NOMANAGER/OUTPUT  MYSPSS
* By default, the output is directed to both the terminal and the listing file (with the /OUTPUT option). To suppress the terminal output, add the following SPSS statement to the SPSS program file:

     SET RESULTS=LISTING
Should any problem in using the SPSS be encountered, please report them to the undersigned.

S. L. Lee  
Tel.: 8592485    
E-mail: sllee@hkucc.hku.hk                         

IBM News

UIS Update

Please be informed that the latest edition of the "University Financial Structure and Procedures" is now available in the University Information System (UIS) - Bulletin Board running on the IBM HKUVM1 system.

UIS is an on-line retrieval system on the HKUVM1 node from which authorised users can view different categories of University information.


PC News

PC-Session Registration Terminal for Pokfulam Student Amenities Centre

A PC-session Registration Terminal will be installed in the PC laboratory of the Pokfulam Student Amenities Centre. The station will be put into operation starting from 1 March, 1993. Its mode of operation is the same as those installed in Computer Centre , Hsu Long Sing Student Amenities Centre, Faculties of Architecture (Knowles Bldg.), Medicine (Li Shu Fan Bldg.) and Law (K.K. Leung Bldg.). Only students of the University are eligible to register for PC sessions in this laboratory. What follows is a re-capitulation of the PC-session registration procedures, taken from the article 'Using Centre's PC Facilities' in the September/October 1991 issue of the Computer News. User may also refer to that article for additional information on PC-session registration terminal in general.

The PC-session registration procedures include the Login and Logout steps which should respectively be followed to start and terminate each session. The registration procedures are as follows:

  1. Identify yourself by entering your student number or staff number.
  2. Enter your password, which is initially set to be the first six digits of your HKID/passport number.
  3. If the password is correct, a menu screen will appear and you can use the two cursor control arrow keys "->" and "<-" to select one of the options which could be "Login", "Logout", "NewPasswd" or "ChangePC".
  4. Select the "Login" option and then login one of the free PC's indicated on the screen ( The power to the PC will be automatically turned on when you select and successfully complete the "Login" option. )
  5. At the end of your session, you need not turn off any switches of the PC system that you have used. However, you must return to the same Registration Terminal, follow the same procedure of identifying yourself, but then choose the "Logout" option of the menu this time. The power to the PC will then be turned off by the registration system and your session will be terminated.
  6. The "NewPasswd" option is provided to allow you to change your password if necessary.
  7. The "ChangePC" option is provided to facilitate the switching from one PC to another PC controlled by the same Registration Terminal.
T.Y. Shen
Tel.: 8592482
E-mail: hcxcsty@hkucc.hku.hk

New UPCC Tender Result

The University & Polytechnic Computer Centre Ltd (UPCC) has recently completed a tender exercise on PC Products. The selected systems and their respective prices and suppliers are as follows:

VGA System with 80386DX (40 MHz) CPU

80386DX 40 MHz CPU and 4 MB RAM, Dual floppy drives (1.2 MB and 1.44 MB) and 80 MB hard-disk, VGA display adapter, 14" colour display, 2 serial ports and 1 parallel port, MS DOS 5.0:

(a)  CT-386DX-40-4M        HK$  8,620.00   Comtech Computer & Elect. Co
     (see remark 1)
(b)  KAIYO SL-200/40       HK$ 10,021.00   Gilman Business Systems
     (see remark 2)                           
(c)  Sigma 386DX-40C       HK$  8,420.00   Powerwave Co Ltd
(d)  SPUM-386-DX40-64KC    HK$  8,830.00   Spectrum Electronics & 
     (see remark 1 & 3)                    Computer Systems Ltd                 
VGA System with 80486SX (25 MHz) CPU

80486SX (25 MHz) CPU and 4 MB RAM, Dual floppy drives (1.2 MB and 1.44 MB) and 80 MB hard-disk, VGA display adapter, 14" colour display, 2 serial ports and 1 parallel port, MS DOS 5.0:

(a)  CT-486SX-25-4M        HK$  8,720.00  Comtech Computer & Elect. Co
     (see remark 1)
(b)  AIYO SL-250/25        HK$ 10,606.00  Gilman Business Systems
     (see remark 2)                          
(c)  Sigma 486SX-25C       HK$  8,525.00  Powerwave Co Ltd
(d)  SPUM-486-SX25-64KC    HK$  9,580.00  Spectrum Electronics & 
     (see remark 1 & 3)                   Computer Systems Ltd                  
VGA System with 80486DX CPU

(I) 80486DX 33 MHz CPU and 4 MB RAM, Dual floppy drives (1.2 MB and 1.44 MB) and 80 MB hard-disk, VGA display adapter, 14" colour display, 2 serial ports and 1 parallel port, MS DOS 5.0:

(a)  CT-486DX-33-4M        HK$ 10,820.00  Comtech Computer & Elect. Co
     (see remark 1)
(b)  KAIYO SL-300/33       HK$ 13,433.00  Gilman Business Systems
     (see remark 2)
(c)  Sigma 486SX-33C       HK$ 10,360.00  Powerwave Co Ltd
(d)  SPUM-486-DX33-64KC    HK$ 11,880.00  Spectrum Electronics & 
     (see remark 1 & 3)                   Computer Systems Ltd      
(II) 80486DX 50 MHz CPU and 4 MB RAM, Dual floppy drives (1.2 MB and 1.44 MB) and 80 MB hard-disk, VGA display adapter, 14" colour display, 2 serial ports and 1 parallel port, MS DOS 5.0:

(a)  CT-486DX-50-4M        HK$ 12,420.00  Comtech Computer & Elect. Co
     (see remark 1)
(b)  Sigma 486DX-50C       HK$ 11,970.00  Powerwave Co Ltd
(c)  SPUM-486-DX50-64KC    HK$ 13,980.88  Spectrum Electronics & 
     (see remark 1 & 3)                   Computer Systems Ltd                  
VGA System with 80486DX w/EISA (50 MHz) CPU

(I) 80486DX 50 MHz CPU , EISA bus and 4 MB RAM, Dual floppy drives (1.2 MB and 1.44 MB) and 80 MB hard-disk, VGA display adapter, 14" colour display, 2 serial ports and 1 parallel port, MS DOS 5.0:

(a)  CT-486DX-50-4M w/EISA HK$ 15,320.00  Comtech Computer & Elect. Co
     (see remark 1)
(b)  Sigma E486DX-50C      HK$ 13,720.00  Powerwave Co Ltd
Remarks:
  1. Comtech Computer & Elect. Co and Spectrum Electronics & Computer Systems Ltdprovide 2-year warranties to all machines. All other suppliers provide 1-year warranties.
  2. Gilman Business Systems charges a HK$200 installation fee per system.
  3. All Models from Spectrum Electronics & Computer Systems Ltd (i.e. SPUM-386-DX40-64KC, SPUM-486-SX25-64KC, SPUM-486-DX33-64KC, SPUM-486- DX50-256KC) come with Quantum 85MB hard-disk, other systems are equipped with 80MB hard-disks.
Tender summary and the price lists of the selected products can be read in "electronic form" from the HKUPROFS UIS Bulletin Board of the Centre's HKUVM1 system and from the 'Computer Centre Information' option of the HKUMENU of the PC-LAN file servers which are set up by Computer Centre . Also, this summary and the price list will be kept in our General Office at Room RR-223, Run Run Shaw Building. Please contact Miss Heti Cheng (Tel: 8592491) if you wish to examine them. Should further details about the products be required, please contact the undersigned.

T.Y. Shen
Tel.: 8592482
E-mail: hcxcsty@hkucc.hku.hk

New Computer Facility for Multimedia

Traditionally, text and graphics are commonly used in presentation and learning materials. As we are getting into the age of Information Technology, we now have a new way for expressing our information in a more intuitive manner. This is the multimedia computer technology which can combine text, graphics, images, animation, full-motion video and stereo sound in an integrated instructional and presentation program.

We are pleased to announce that Computer Centre has installed a PC- based multimedia system which has the following functionalities:

   - recording stereo sound in CD quality 
   - displaying live video
   - capturing still images from video source
   - computer animation capability
   - authoring tool support for program development
To bring you more details, a seminar will be held on 23 March,1993 in Room 201, Run Run Shaw Building. The content of the seminar includes an introduction to the setup and functions of our PC-based multimedia system and demonstration of several multimedia programs. A workshop will also be held on 6 April,1993 in Room 201, Run Run Shaw Building to show you the procedures of creating multimedia programs. Please refer to the Training News section of this newsletter or the NEWS bulletin board on Centre's host computers for detailed information.

For further enquiries, please contact the undersigned.

Patrick Leu
Tel.: 8592488
E-mail: hcxclbl@hkucc.hku.hk

Staff News

Ms Rita O. Y. Lai, who was our Executive Officer, has joined the Science Faculty Office since last September. Mr M. S. Luk, Senior Computer Officer I, resigned in last November to move to Canada with his family. We wish them every success in their new positions.

Ms Karen T. L. Chan has joined our Centre as an Executive Officer on October 13, 1992. Ms Chan obtained her B.Sc. degree in Computer Information Systems from the San Francisco State University. Prior to joining us, she worked at the Wing Lung Bank.


Computer Services Digest

HARNET - The Hongkong Academic and Research Network

HARNET - What is it ?

HARNET (The Hongkong Academic and Research NETwork) is the wide area network which links up the campus networks of the seven tertiary institutions in Hong Kong. HARNET is under the management of the University and Polytechnic Computer Centre (UPCC), a joint organization of Information Technology Servicess of the seven institutions including The University of Hong Kong, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, the Hong Kong Polytechnic, the City Polytechnic of Hong Kong, the Hong Kong Baptist College, The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology and the Lingnan College.

Besides serving the seven member institutions, UPCC also provides network connectivity to other institutions including the Open Learning Institute of Hong Kong and our neighbouring University of Macau. Some experimental network connections to Universities in China are also underway.

Functions of HARNET

The education community in Hong Kong, at a long distance from the outside world, has always been handicapped by communication problems which pose a great hindrance to academic and research interchange. By providing electronic communications to international academic and research networks, it is now possible to reduce that handicap and our academics have a convenient means of access and communication with their peers elsewhere.

HARNET supports high speed data communication between the UPCC member institutions locally in Hong Kong. Moreover, HARNET is connected to Internet via a 64 Kbps international link to U.S.A. through a gateway installed at The Chinese University of Hong Kong. Through this HARNET- Internet connection, users are now able to connect online to thousands of computer networks in the world and gain access to various valuable computer facilities, such as library catalogues, databases, super- computers, etc.

History and Development of HARNET

HARNET was first set up in 1986. Most institutions had VAX computers at that time. Naturally, the campus networks were connected via DECnet protocol. The inter-institution links were running at 4800 bps, and the initial connection to overseas networks was via the UUCP network through dial-up access. In November 1989, UPCC took an important step in connecting HARNET to BITNET through a 2400 bps leased circuit connecting The University of Hong Kong and Yale University in the United States. Through HARNET, all the UPCC institutions were provided with capabilities of electronic mail and file transfer to the outside academic world.

The BITNET connection was an instant success. In spite of the fact that access was restricted to staff and research students, the traffic on the leased circuit had soon become very congested and an upgrade of the communication link was necessary. In the summer of 1991, UPCC upgraded the speed of the leased circuit from 2400 to 9600 bps. There was some improvement on the traffic. However, the demand from the users was also increasing rapidly.

In September 1991, a significant event took place on HARNET. The Faculty of Engineering of The Chinese University of Hong Kong has succeeded in connecting their network to the Internet via a 64 Kbps leased circuit to the US. They had kindly offered to share this connection with the UPCC institutions. In July 1992, the Faculty of Engineering of CUHK agreed to hand over the management of the Internet connection to UPCC.

To facilitate the Internet connection, some of the inter-campus links were upgraded to 64 Kbps and it was decided that the TCP/IP protocol was adopted as an additional communication standard. In view of the higher bandwidth and the value of exposing students to the electronic learning environment, UPCC also decided to open up HARNET to access by undergraduates as well.

In the same year, another significant event was taking place. Through an initiative of the University and Polytechnic Grants Committee, a grant of HK$2 million was given to the Joint University and Polytechnic Library Advisory Committee (JUPLAC) for upgrading the inter-institutional computer network to facilitate more convenient and faster access to the library databases in the institutions.

UPCC was asked by JUPLAC to assist in the upgrade of HARNET. In anticipation of rapidly exploding amount of data traffic over the network in the next few years, UPCC recommended the construction of a high speed T1-ring (1.544 Mbps) network based on Hong Kong Telecom's LANLine T1 service. In this configuration, the seven institutions are connected by T1 circuits forming a ring network, providing the institutions with a robust network with redundant reliability.

The cost of providing this upgrade is however substantial. UPCC is fortunate to have a valuable sponsorship from the HongKong Telecom. Through the HongKong Telecom Foundation, HK$4 million is donated to UPCC over a period of three years, to help funding the cost of operating our upgraded network and providing the link to the Internet.

The upgrade of HARNET to the high speed T1-ring network was completed before the end of 1992. There is an obvious improvement in inter-campus communications. Users should have noticed a significant improvement in access to other campuses in Hong Kong.

Future Development of HARNET

With the high speed T1-ring data network now in operation, UPCC feels that the performance of the network could be improved by increasing the communication speed of the network's international link. In fact, the feasibility of upgrading HARNET's international link to a 128 Kbps line is now being carefully studied.

UPCC is also considering providing access to HARNET to non-profit organizations of an academic or research nature. Such organizations are expected to contribute and share the running cost of our operations.

Acknowledgements

UPCC acknowledges the UPGC and JUPLAC initiative to upgrade HARNET.

UPCC also appreciates a three-year donation from the Hong Kong Telecom Foundation to help finance the operation of the local HARNET and the connection to the Internet.

February 1, 1993

Dr. N Ng
Tel.: 8592491
E-mail: hcxcnng@hkucc.hku.hk

Training News

Computer Training Courses in March and April

We have scheduled a seminar and a workshop in March and early April to introduce to our users the Centre's initial setup of multimedia facility. An overview of the new technology will be given. Members of the University may take the opportunity to evaluate the potentials of employing this new technology in their teaching or research works.

Furthermore, a Campus Network User Training Workshop will also be held in March for staff members to find out how to use the various network services.

Course 12/92

Campus Network User Training Workshop

This is a 3-hour seminar in 2 sessions (1.5 hours each), based on topics covered by our Network Training Seminars which are usually given to the departments' staff after the completion of individual departmental LAN's. It covers all the services provided on the University campus network, especially those related to the departmental LAN's (e.g. HKUMENU, network printing, file sharing etc.) and the host computer systems (e.g. E-mail, DRA Library System, SENDFAX, UIS, and the access to Internet etc.). There will be hands-on practice for some of the facilities discussed in the form of a workshop.

Course 13/92

Seminar on Multimedia

The purpose of this 1-hour seminar is to introduce the setup and functionalities of the multimedia system installed in Computer Centre . Demonstrations on some typical multimedia programs will be given.

Course 14/92

Workshop on Multimedia Program Development

This is a 1-hour workshop which will discuss elaborately the procedures of creating a multimedia program by using Centre's PC-based multimedia system. The workshop will cover the steps of recording stereo sound, capturing images from video, creating animation file and combining them into multimedia presentation or instructional programs.

Registration:

The Registration Form is available in our General Office, Rm. 223, Run Run Shaw Building. Please complete and return the form to us as soon as possible.

Successful applicants will be notified by telephone, and will be asked to confirm the registration at least one working week before the seminar begins.

For any enquiries, please contact Miss Heti Cheng (tel.: 8592491) or Mr. Patrick Leu (tel.: 8592488, e-mail: hcxclbl@hkucc.hku.hk)

Course Title               Date/Time/Venue
 No.
12/92  Campus Network User March 22, 93 3:30 - 5:00 pm Registration required.
       Training Workshop   March 25, 93 3:30 - 5:00 pm Max. 20 persons.
                           RR101, Run Run Shaw Bldg.   Staff Only.
                                                       Conducted in English. 

13/92  Seminar on          March 23, 1993              Registration required.
       Multimedia          11:00 a.m. - 12:00 a.m.     Max. 20 persons.
                           RR201, Run Run Shaw Bldg.   Staff Only.
                                                       Conducted in English.

14/92  Workshop on         April 6, 1993               Registration required.
       Multimedia Program  11:00 a.m. - 12:00 a.m.     Max. 20 persons.
       Development         RR201, Run Run Shaw Bldg.   Staff Only.
                                                       Conducted in English.

User Services Group, Computer Centre , the University of Hong Kong