Faculty Connection is an online set of real-world resources and shared peer knowledge, the goal of the Faculty Connection site is to put relevant and applicable tools and information at the fingertips of technology educators.
The UK Academic Team is responsible for offering IT students and faculty members free access to software, for enhancing knowledge and skills by providing curriculum materials and other learning opportunities, for helping students achieve their dreams by organizing an international competition, and finally for assisting last year students through career resources and job opportunities at our customers and partners.
With this blog we want to inform you on our latest initiatives.
Enjoy reading and stay tuned!
I had the pleasure of attending the 22nd Machine Evaluation Workshop in Liverpool.
Please find below a copy of the Microsoft presentation
Additionally please find some technical materials about how the Techila solution. Techila is a middleware plug-in, which enables your applications to securely harness the infinite capacity of the Cloud. The application does not need to be a special HPC application. It can be any regular application like Excel, MATLAB, R, Pearl, Python, Fortan, C/C++ .Net code. When using Techila, you just get access to the results faster.
Typical use cases for Techila and Microsoft Azure
More technical documents and some videos including language-specific tutorials can be found on the Techila web site at: http://www.techilatechnology.com/technology/technology-docs/
Over the past few days I have had lots of question from academic’s in relation to COST the No1 Question being how much will the cloud or more specifically Microsoft Windows Azure cost?
To try and help others struggling with this question here is a quick summary .
Microsoft Windows Azure processor core costs are extremely cost effective for short periods of use. The pricing table below gives the list pricing (this drops by 20% under an Azure Enterprise agreement and there are specific pricing for addition of Azure to EES).
Compute Instance Size
Cost Per Hour
2 x 1.6 GHz
4 x 1.6 GHz
8 x 1.6 GHz
So if your looking to undertake some workload using 128 cores based on small instances, the hourly cost would be $15.36 which is about £10. The benefit is huge in that you can literally just pay for a few hours if that is all you need. So you don’t need to make the huge upfront capex and opex investments in terms of some of the following. The time taken between requirement and installation physical resources such as servers, network hardware, software, storage, additional staffing resources, heating, lighting, cooling and power for your equipment.
Windows Azure Storage is metered in units of the average daily amount of data stored (in GB) over a monthly period.
Standard pay-as-you-go pricing for storage
$0.14 per GB stored per month based on the daily average
$0.01 per 10,000 storage transactions
So if you required 10TB you would be looking in the region of £900 per month (before discounts), which includes making 3 copies of the data for resiliency. It also then becomes readily accessible to supported users. There are also some charges for data transit, but we don’t charge for loading data in, downloads are $0.15 per GB, so this should stay relatively small unless the whole 10TB is moved about regularly. If your interested in learning more about Windows Azure please don’t hesitate to get in touch.
I have been asked a few questions recently regarding developing Windows Phone apps which can access Sharepoint 2010 resources.
The easy answer is… download the following toolkit on CodePlex, the toolkit will help simplify the task of building Windows Phone 7 applications based upon SharePoint 2010 servers running Forms Based Authentication. This toolkit also allows you to use the same libraries to build Silverlight desktop applications.
This first release requires your SharePoint 2010 installation to support Forms Based authentication but once you do that, building applications is fairly trivial.
This toolkit will allow you to do the following:
Once a list item is selected it’s passed to a data-driven page that correctly renders the form based upon the Meta-Data for that List from the server. This includes formatting and validation. The data can even be updated and added back to the server.
You can download the Toolkit from CodePlex at: http://sharepointwp7.codeplex.com
Today we announced a long list of improvements for Microsoft SkyDrive. W
The improvements are a big step forward especially for the growing number of customers using SkyDrive to share and access Office documents.
Here’s a video that quickly walks you through the changes to the service.
For further details of the improvements see the SkyDrive team blog
Learn to programme in C# over the course of 24 episodes, our friend Bob Tabor from www.LearnVisualStudio.net will teach you the fundamentals of C# programming.
Learn the skills and concepts applicable to video games, mobile environments, and client applications.
The following tutorials and videos walk you through getting the tools, writing code, debugging features, customizations and much more! Each concept is broken into its own video so you can search for and focus on the information you need.
Download the entire series' source code
Watch all 24 Episodes
Learn how researchers are developing games that combine real-world and digital experiences in their quest for a unified game layer for education that improves academic outcomes and enables new types of educational research. In collaboration with Microsoft Research, a research group comprised of university faculty, staff, and students at the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) delved into the everyday travails of college life—from academia to social activities—and developed a real-world game, Just Press Play, which helps students earn a digital reward for the ultimate achievement: collegiate success. It began with a simple question: “Why can’t students earn digital rewards for being awesome?” A research group comprised of university faculty, staff, and students at the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) decided to find out.
To learn more:
· Read the blog
Call for Content: Partner Support for ChronoZoom ChronoZoom serves as a "master timeline" tying together all kinds of specialized timelines and electronic resources, and aspires to bridge the gap between the humanities and the sciences and to unify all knowledge of the past. We are seeking humanities scholars and scientists from fields like geology, paleontology, evolutionary biology, astronomy, and cosmology to work with us to develop the broadest possible view of the past by providing content to help us build the timelines for the Cosmos, Earth, Life, Pre-Human, and Human histories. If you can support ChronoZoom, please submit relevant content, including videos, images, text, PowerPoint slides, documents, chart data, table data, and Excel data. All content must be available under a Creative Commons license.
The forthcoming 2011 Daresbury Machine Evaluation Workshop will be held on 29 and 30 November 2011 at a new venue - the Adelphi Hotel Liverpool.
This Workshop is now established as a leading national event dedicated to distributed high performance scientific computing. The principle objective is to encourage close contact between the research communities from the Mathematics, Chemistry, Physics and Materials Programmes of EPSRC and the major vendors of workstations, software and peripherals.
I will be attending the Daresbury Machine Evaluation Workshop (MEW22) in Liverpool next week with Techila and the Microsoft Azure team. We will be presenting a radical proposal to the high-performance computing users in the workshop. Do you know if you or some of your colleagues are planning to attend the workshop? If you will be in Liverpool, we would like to show how you can do MATLAB in the Cloud without any limitations to the performance.
So what is Techila? http://blogs.msdn.com/b/uk_faculty_connection/archive/2011/11/20/matlab-and-r-on-windows-azure-via-techila.aspx
So if your are looking for ways to increase the performance of your existing applications. The Techila middleware is the missing link between applications and the computing capacity. It enables applications to scale and to utilize all available computing capacity efficiently.
A research presentation, which might be of interest to you is by Dr.Lindroos in Northeastern/ TUT. Dr Lindroos uses FORTRAN code wrapped in MATLAB to model superconducting materials. Before Techila, he was able to use low-accuracy models which took 3,5 hours to compute. The inaccuracy of the results lead him also to some incorrect results. With Techila and Windows Azure, he is now able to get 256 times better results in shorter time. Another nice example of cases, where Techila has enabled unforeseen research is the cancer research case, Techila with the power of Windows Azure enabled scaling an existing MATLAB application to utilize the combined power of 1200 Windows Azure instances. With this speed, the researcher was able to complete his 15-year data analysis project in 4,5 days. A case study about this project available on the Techila site at:
We would love to hear more about your projects and the applications, which you would like to speed up. We are working with a number of Universities and researchers, and are always interested in learning new and to hear about innovative new research projects.
The following article explains how Techila is helping ISVs to utilize cloud capacity easily and securely in their applications. Fennia Life is the first Life Insurance company in the world doing their business-critical simulations on Windows Azure.
So if your attending the Daresbury Machine Evaluation Workshop in Liverpool on November 29-30 it would be great to start and demonstrate Live in the workshop sessions how the Windows Azure with Techila solution can assist.
The Windows Azure Tomcat Solution is designed in a way that you can update your Tomcat project outside VS2010 project.
The VS2010 application will be deployed once however whenever you would need to update, Tomcat, Java Run time or your own Tomcat based solution, you can update without updating your Windows Azure application.
This project is based on Startup task in which Tomcat, Java and your project is downloaded from Azure Storage and then installed in Azure VM.
Full source code is available for startup task and solution via : http://tomcatazure.codeplex.com/
For a more details and complete setup guides look here
Resource for Teaching and Learning Windows Phone Development
Windows Phone Programming in C# (Windows Phone Version 7.5)
The main text is provided as a Word document and PDF file. This contains the entire text, broken into chapters.
Demonstrations The Demos folder contains a folder for each of the chapters that have demonstration programs.
Teaching Content For each of the chapters there is a folder with the presentations and lab content for that chapter. Each presentation has a corresponding folder containing the demonstrations for that chapter. The demonstration slides contain step by step instructions in the slide notes. Not all the demonstrations have sample projects associated with them, for these demonstrations the program will be created during the presentation. The first 9 chapters also have a lab document which contains a set of lab exercises for that chapter. Some of the lab documents also have answer documents.
The following chapters are covered in this material:
The Windows Phone Platform The Windows Phone Ecosystem Windows Phone Program Execution Windows Phone Application Development
Introduction to Silverlight
Program Design with Silverlight Understanding XAML Creating a Silverlight Application
Visual Studio Solution Management
Getting Started with Projects and Solutions Debugging Programs Performance Tuning
Constructing a Program with Silverlight
Improving the User Experience Data Manipulation and Display Managing Application Page Layout Displaying Lists of Data Pages and Navigation Using ViewModel Classes
Isolated Storage on Windows Phone
Storing Data on Windows Phone
Using Databases on Windows Phone
An Overview of Database Storage Creating Data Relationships with LINQ
Networking with Windows Phone
Networking Overview Creating a User Datagram Protocol (UDP) Connection Creating a Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) Connection Connecting to a Data Source Using LINQ to Read from an XML Stream Using Network Services
XNA on Windows Phone
XNA in Context Making an XNA Program Player Interaction in Games Adding Sound to a Game Playing Sound in a Silverlight Program Managing Screen Dimensions and Orientation Combining XNA and Silverlight
Creating Windows Phone Applications
The Windows Phone Icons and Splash Screens Fast Application Switching Launchers and Choosers Background Processing
Windows Phone Marketplace
Preparing an Application for Sale Distributing Windows Phone Applications and Games Making your Application Stand Out What to do Next
Download this resource here