We have a lot to offer for students
More than 5400 processors or CPU cores, over 120 servers, around 40 terabytes of random access memory (RAM), almost 2000 switches and around 5000 access points: "We are well prepared for the winter semester," says Norbert Hartmannsgruber, who holds a doctorate in physics and heads the department “Benutzernahe Dienste” at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ). 17,000 new students have enrolled at Munich's universities alone, and an estimated 13,000 more users will therefore access the infrastructure that the LRZ as IT service provider makes available not only to the Munich universities, but also to other colleges in Munich as well as universities in Bavaria, the Bavarian State Library and other research institutes. For students the LRZ provides useful services that facilitate their work. Hartmannsgruber explains in an interview what these services are*:
In the winter semester many courses are organized online: Does the LRZ have to increase capacities for this?
Dr. Norbert Hartmannsgruber: We expanded our systems, storage space and the Munich Scientific Network (Münchner Wissenschaftsnetz, short MWN) during the pandemic lockdown and are well prepared for the winter semester. Everything is under control and working. We hear that first-year students are more likely to study in classroom classes to make them feel more at home at the universities and in Munich, while students that are more advanced in their studies, are offered more online courses. We manage the online teaching together with the universities and colleges, which offer their own solutions for lectures, seminars and event recordings in addition to the Munich Scientific Network (MWN) or the video conferencing tool meet.lrz. We regularly exchange intensive information with those responsible for IT at the universities and colleges so that possible bottlenecks or problems can be quickly eliminated.
The LRZ is a service provider for universities and colleges - does it also offer services for students?
Hartmannsgruber: We have a lot to offer for students, even though the LRZ usually does not contact them directly, but rather via the universities, their faculties or institutes. With the MWN, with Bayern-WLAN and Eduroam we bring free, secure Internet directly into lecture halls and seminar buildings. With LRZ Sync+Share or BayernShare, students can exchange files as easily as with Google Drive or Dropbox, their data is then stored on servers in Bavaria in compliance with data protection regulations. Through negotiations for campus-wide licenses, we are able to provide students with up-to-date office programs and software relevant to their subjects and offerd to them via their departments. A Sophos license is another of our offerings - the anti-virus program can be downloaded from the LRZ on students’ private desktops and notebooks and is updated regularly. Students can also learn how to use office programs such as Excel at the LRZ and buy manuals that have been proven to work well with e.g. Excel, Access, Photoshop and the like.
But most offers do not come directly from the LRZ...
Hartmannsgruber: We provide services and technology that colleges and universities distribute to students. Students first need a user ID of their university and can use it to register for LRZ services or in the MWN. Only for trainings or manuals they contact the LRZ directly. If they have problems with software, internet, connections, the universities and faculties are also the first point of contact with whom we cooperate closely.
In libraries the WLAN is often difficult to set up or does not work: Do you have a tip?
Hartmannsgruber: This is also often the case in larger lecture halls and is due to the fact that all mobile devices usually log in at the access points installed near the entrance and these are then overwhelmed. More bandwidth and a better connection is given to those who interrupt the login and only establish it when they have found their place. Then the devices usually connect to less busy access points. In addition, metal shelves shield the WLAN, and those who work online in the library should do so at the tables on the edge and not between shelves. But now we wish all freshmen and students a good start to the winter semester, despite the difficult conditions".
* By the way: Students who like to work with computers and IT technology can also earn money at the LRZ. We are regularly looking for student assistants for the servicedesk and other exciting tasks. More about this under Jobs.