University of Virginia explores virtual computing

In today’s world of budget cuts and environmental concerns, colleges and universities are becoming increasingly interested in implementing new technologies that are environmentally friendly and financially viable–and one such technological approach, virtual computing, could help to meet the educational needs of students at the University of Virginia, reports the Cavalier Daily. Virtualization, which involves sharing software services via computer networks instead of having them installed on individual personal computers, "takes advantage of the power people have on their laptops," said James Hilton, university vice president and chief information officer. The availability of such software is important, because there are many specialized applications students need that are only available at certain locations on campus. "Many students who major in engineering [or] math use an application called Matlab," Hilton said. "Matlab is available only at certain public computing sites. We would like to be able to virtualize delivery of Matlab to students who need it." Virtual computing would give more flexibility to students, while ITC would control software, Hilton said. "Currently, the University buys a license to purchase a finite number of Matlab copies to put in the public computing labs," Hilton said. "We could control access so that students anywhere at anytime could access the software without having to come into a lab."

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