About SENS

Introduction

Science & Engineering Node Services (SENS) is a group of professional staff who provide computer and related technical support, including the UBiquity distributed computing environment, for the University at Buffalo.

SENS provides support for these School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) departments**:

** We work with, but do not directly support, the department of Computer Science and Engineering.
Support for CSE can be found here.


SENS supports these departments in the College of Arts and Sciences:

We also have strong partnerships with other computing organizations including**:

Research Centers and Groups:

Peer IT and Computing Service Organizations:

** This is not a representative list, and we have not intentionally omitted any of our partners from it. If your group is missing please let us know and we'll add it, as we value all our partnerships.

Services We Provide

  • Customer-oriented, full service support for a community of 7,000 users, offering a suite of services including SENS-specific computer accounts with roaming disk space, timeshare services, email hosting, official and personal web page hosting, consulting, purchasing assistance, and many other such functions.
  • Support for more than 2400 computers, including Intel, Sun, and Macintosh systems running Microsoft Windows, Red Hat Linux, Solaris, and Mac OS X.
  • Support for lab and server facilities, including web servers, server clusters, Intel/Citrix servers, Solaris and Linux timeshare servers, and backup systems.
  • Support for general and user-specific computing in the SENS node in both instructional and research areas.

For a more detailed list of services we provide, please go to our Services page. Also, please note that SENS' services are separate from the central services provided by CIT, although the two groups actively partner in many areas.

Our Staff

The staff members of SENS provide support for almost every kind of computer hardware and software at UB. Our staff have a broad range of expertise, from hardware to software to operating systems to server technologies. Our PC specialists are experts at taking apart, repairing, and enhancing all kinds of personal computers, including the latest systems from Dell, IBM, and Apple. Our UNIX specialists have a breadth of expertise that includes hardware and software offerings from Dell, Oracle (Sun), and IBM.

The staff of SENS promote a computing model known as UBiquity, which implements the philosophy that users should be able to get their work done at any kind of computer, under any kind of operating system and application environment, anywhere on campus. This model has continually evolved and grown since it was first envisioned and documented back in November of 1996.

To find out more about our staff, including contact information, please visit our staff page.

The SENS Quality Support Philosophy

The SENS quality support philosophy is based upon a model similar to that of a major research university center, in that all components are interrelated and dependent upon each other. For example: Quality faculty do quality (funded) research, which requires quality graduate students. An institution that is known for this relationship will naturally draw quality undergraduate students who become a pool of prime candidates from which graduate students are drawn. This cycle nurtures the continued growth of the university and assures its status both within the academic marketplace and the community it serves.

Research model diagram

SENS recognizes the importance of all four components of the university academic and research infrastructure. SENS strives to integrate technology and software in such a manner as to make the common and universal components of IT available to the entire academic community. SENS strives to promote both sharing and collective investment in IT across all areas of the university, and specifically within the node and its participant departments. Finally, SENS realizes the importance of ownership and does not discriminate between private and distributed needs when called upon for service, support or consultation.

SENS Support model diagram

History

SENS has "officially" been in existence since 1997, but our legacy is far older. Our group was originally known as "Engineering Computing Services" (ECS), and was formed in 1987 by Corky Brunskill. The original support focus including maintaining a Prime system, a DEC VAX, and other hardware which has since disappeared. The group evolved over the years, gaining expertise in new areas and growing from a staff of about five to a dozen members today, plus our invaluable student staff.