The University has set up a University Computer Centre (UCC). It was established in the year 1986 with the assistance of University Grants Commission. It is taken as centralised resource facilitator for computerization with an aim to cater to the needs of the entire University (students, research scholars and teachers of the University). Its associated objective is also to automate administrative and secretarial wings of the University.
Deploy latest technologies in the following dimensions in the University with an aim to boost Student Learning Process in an attempt to enable them to meet New/ Future challenges
Strategical transfer of Teaching and Learning to An Open Environment
To meet Common Expectations of different stakeholders in the University
University Computer Centre, Punjabi University, Patiala(UCC) has emerged as a pioneer podium in the State to extend Campus Wide Internet facility way back in the year 1996, when Indian Science Congress was held. The Campus backbone spanned over the thicknet cable to connect most of the departments in the University, while within the building networking was carried out using BNC cable, BNC connectors and terminators deployed using Bus Topology. This type of campus wide networking had its own challenges. With the passage of time these components were phased out.
In the year 2005, OFC and UTP cabling were deployed in the phased manner as per the availability of funds. The Science blocks, arts block and old MBA building were covered by making use of both single mode (Far away buildings) and multimode (Nearby Buildings) OFC on BUS topology. Due to the paucity of funds no switch was installed at that time and transceivers and hubs were used. The OFC cable was laid at one-meter depth through manual digging.
In the year 2006 transceivers were replaced with Layer 3 and Layer 2 switches and the network covered all boys’ hostels, girls’ hostels, residences of VC, Pro VC and Registrar, Waris Bhawan, Guest house, Health centre, University College of Engineering (now Engineering Departments). These OFC cables were laid at the depth of 5ft through manual digging. The adjoining buildings were connected using BUS topology on multimode fiber and some of the buildings were directly connected from the Computer Centre through single mode OFC in Star formation. CAT-5 UTP cable was used for internal building LANs at that time.
Later on web-managed Layer 2 switches in the various buildings, fully managed Layer-3 switches at core and Network Management System Software were deployed to have centralised management of the Network. Also, with an aim to phase out bus-topology based segments to Star (largely) so as to lessen the number of hopes on a segment, during this period IT building, Gurmat Sangeet, Hotel Management Department, New Examination building, Research Scholar flats, EMMRC, Director Sports, Guru Granth Sahib Bhawan, Kala Bhawan, Security Office, Main Enquiry were connected through the OFC segments. Now, the laying of this OFC cable was carried out Hydraulically in HDPE pipes at a depth of 10 to 12 ft.
Afterwards, Sports Science, Physical Education Department, Centralized Admission Cell along with Dean Students Welfare Office, New Teaching Block (Arts Departments) were linked directly to the Core. Also the effort was augmented to set up of building-wise Wi-Fi Based LANs in the hostels and all the teaching blocks using all sorts of a/b/g/n/ac/ wave-1/ wave-2 WAPs and CAT6, CAT6a cables and compatible passive components.
Bandwidth is a resource that is limited, in high demand, expensive but of a high value. There is an escalating up-rise in the use of cloud based online applications as admissions and examination processes have become massively online. The concepts of “school,” “teaching” and “learning” are flowing beyond time and place and are no longer confined to a University Campus or a particular set of hours. Bandwidth is critical to the success of hardware initiatives that attempt to provide ubiquitous access to learning, such as Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) (laptop and tablets). It has become almost obligatory to allow every stakeholder of the University to capitalize on continuous online opportunities.
The University has subscribed for internet bandwidth under NKN/ NMEICT project of MHRD, India (Centre Government) being managed by NIC/ BSNL. The approvals for Phase II named DI2 (Digital India Info way) have already been initiated and it is hoped that the approvals will come through in time. Even if the approvals are delayed, the NKN connectivity is continuing to run as it is, till the next phase is approved. It is also informed that in DI2, the agency is in the process of expanding the NLD’s (National Long Distances) by on-boarding additional service providers with more stringent SLA's to ensure an almost 100% uptime of the last mile, thereby benefiting the user institutes. The bandwidth for Internet is 155 Mbps. The link being provided has 1 Gbps capacity. The higher demand for bandwidth is matched by providing extra bandwidth as per the formulated policy of the project.
An escalating trend towards making use of smart devices for Net surfing, social networking and emails etc., has been observed. With the widespread use of smartphones, iPads, iPhones, PDAs and Laptops the need for access anytime, anywhere has dramatically increased. Students prefer wireless connectivity over the wired one for network services. Hostel inmates make use of campus backbone for accessing on line e-journals and net surfing. Wi-Fi hot spots guarantee cost effective LAN solutions around the campus. DHCP distribution of IP addresses on Wireless LAN/ Wi-Fi hot spots with high usage density is quite noticeable in the Campus.
Presently, around 300 WAPs based on 802.11 a/ b/ g/ n/ ac technology have been installed with thin and fat functionality in the Campus to set up Wi-Fi zones at all important places and departments in the University. Majority of these have been purchased from the funding received from different agencies. All authorized users (authenticated through firewall and registered with respective hostels) can avail the network services and Internet facility in the campus. DHCP distribution of IP addresses on Wireless LAN/ Wi-Fi hot spots with high usage density is quite noticeable in the Campus. All WAPs with thin functionality are managed by UCC through controllers. Unauthorized and rogue WAPs are prevented out with the help of the controllers. These controllers are installed and managed at core level in the University Computer Centre (UCC) and managed by the Wi-Fi administrator. All Wi-Fi zones span upon existing fibre backbone to support Data, Voice and Video traffic. These controllers also show various WAP positions pictorially. Most of the departments, Main Library and other administrative blocks do use WAPs with FAT functionality to manage their local users.
Punjabi University, Patiala is also pioneer to launch its own website www.pujabiuniversity.ac.in in the region. The website incorporates all important facets and features related to the University. It is a rich collection of images, videos and digital assets that are being hosted on a web server engaged by the UCC and accessible via the Internet. The UCC now manages web space for this website from its internal resources. The website is being managed in WISA/ LAMP environments. Primarily, Open Source Software/ tools are used to create the Web Pages. Any sort of professional/ proprietary resources is discouraged. the official Website Link is http://punjabiuniversity.ac.in
A modest facility has been set-up using 10x Optical Zoom Life Size PTZ motorised Camera with 45 to 120-degree horizontal and vertical focusing, 42” LCD Monitor, through in-built Skype connection/ on direct IP based connection to communicate with far-end user. Presently it is on one to one communication. This facility is being intensively used for Online Examinations, Ph D Registration and submission, Viva-Voce, Interactive Lectures, Placement Interviews and Meetings. The UCC also provide technical and logistical support throughout the University for multimedia projections and online interactions.
The lifetime of a desktop/ laptop is supposed to be of four years. Similarly, all servers are supposed to be set up for five years. Manufacturer sets the lifetime of active networking equipment. Generally, all commercial computing machines/ active components come with three years' warranty. Experiences commensurate that these machines become out of use due to non-availability of components or these are not backed up for by downward compatibility of upgraded software. Hardware faults are quite infrequent. Accordingly, no comprehensive AMCs are enforced. Preliminary trouble shooting is managed through the technical staff of the respective departments/ branches or UCC. The Departments/ Branches who have their own technical staff are being provided training, if required by them. A small scale PC/ Desktop cannibalisation Lab has also been set up with an aim to troubleshoot Desktops/ Laptops/ Departmental LAN, Campus Backbone and minor repairs
University Computer Centre implements e-Waste (Management and Handling) Rules at University Level as per the standards laid down by Central/ Punjab Pollution Control Board.
There is an escalating trend in research and educational practices using Machine Learning, Deep Learning, Advanced Data Processing, Data Science and other Artificial Intelligence (AI) subfields that are evolving at a fast pace in the faculties of Arts and Culture, Business Studies, Computing Sciences, Education and Information Science, Engineering, Languages, Life Sciences, Medicine, Physical Sciences, Social Sciences and Law. The current state-of-the-art in artificial intelligence is achieved through deep neural models. Deep neural networks are networks of artificial neurons which employ basic mathematical operations to jointly transform an input, e.g. text in language, into the text in another language carrying the same meaning as the input. The advantages of DL have been evident in many fields - machine translation, image recognition, audio recognition, voice synthesis, question answering and many others. State-of-the-art networks contain hundreds of thousands to millions of parameters that need to be updated at training time. The specifics of deep neural networks (DNN’s) training algorithm make the use of current CPUs impractical. To deal with this complexity, a graphics processing unit (GPU) is more suitable. This is due to the much larger number of cores in comparison to a CPU and substantial volume of dedicated memory. The University has set up a High Performance Computing Lab by installing five state of the art AI Servers (high-end, multi-GPU (graphics processing unit)) servers, accessible remotely and securely) in the University Computer Centre from the funding received under DST-PURSE project scheme. The aim is to provide new generations of students with access to modern facilities that allow them to gain up-to-date knowledge and progressive experience in the field of AI to a level that matches the requirements for current and future AI education. Furthermore, these servers are dedicated to the educational and research based needs of the students in courses taught within the University. The University Computer Centre compiles the list of FOSS and try to procure these from the Vendor (Supplier of Servers) or from the Web resources that are required for the purpose.
Now a day, the UCC promotes the use of FOSS applications that an office user needs for email, web browsing, pdf file viewing, video and music playback software as well as office programs including spreadsheet, word processing and presentation graphics. Today in the Campus, cloud services (e-office, IHRMS etc.), web calls and other social media applications are also often needed. It is preached that an old Windows laptop/ desktop with 2 GB of RAM and 40 GB hard drive and the free memory space in the working condition is enough to allow them to work gracefully in the office even today. We follow the development of Ubuntu and LinuxMint installing LibreOffice includes word processing, spreadsheet and presentation graphics, Document viewer for viewing and using PDF documents, Thunderbird for email, Firefox web browser, Chromium web browser (= Chrome), gThumb for organizing, editing and naming photos, Gimp for image processing, VLC Media Player for video + music, OpenShot for video editing, Skype for video calls, Dropbox for cloud services. Looking at the substantial cost savings in procuring proprietary software, OS, antivirus and costly computing hardware, the University Computer Centre has been entrusted with a special task to explore the usage of Linux Distros and applications that are freely available. Similarly, this type of setup allows C/ C++, Java, Python, R, MySql, LAMP based web applications that can easily be adopted in the departmental labs.