University of Pittsburgh
June 18, 2009

International Publication Recognizes Pitt's Innovative Information Technology Projects

Contact:  412-624-4147

PITTSBURGH- In recognition of innovations that addressed campus safety and enhanced software application delivery to University computer labs, two Pitt projects have been awarded Laureates from the International Data Group's (IDG) Computerworld Honors Program during the recent 21st Annual Laureate Medal Ceremony and Gala Awards Evening in Washington, D.C. The projects-Pitt's Emergency Notification System (ENS) and the Application Virtualization for Effective Software Delivery project-are among the 20 Pitt innovations recognized by the Computerworld Honors Program since 2003.

In the Education and Academia Category, Pitt earned a Laureate Medal for its Emergency Notification System, which offers rapid communication to subscribers through text-messaging and voice mail, in the event of an on-campus emergency. The free service was introduced to the University community in the fall of 2007 and has been used four times, with a successful message delivery rate of 99.8 percent.

Jinx Walton, director of Pitt's Computing Services and Systems Development (CSSD), said ENS has been an excellent complement to the University's other methods of campuswide communications, which include fire alarms and Web postings.

"With more than 8,000 faculty and staff and more than 25,000 students at the Oakland campus alone, the challenge of getting the word out about a campus safety issue is daunting," said Walton. "The most significant advantage the ENS system affords us is the ability to positively communicate emergency notices to as many members of the University community as possible in a very short amount of time."

In the Business and Related Services Category, Pitt garnered a Laureate Gold Medal for The Application Virtualization for Effective Software Delivery project, which allows more software applications to be installed on computers without destabilizing the computer, making it more likely to crash. The project solved the challenge of providing more than 100 software applications for Windows computers maintained by CSSD for student use.

Application Virtualization allows applications to be delivered as they are needed by students and eliminates the problems that can result from conflicts between applications installed on the same computer. The result is a significant reduction in the amount of time needed to prepare computers for student use and more flexibility in making new applications available. For Pitt officials, the technology used for application virtualization has far reaching potential that has yet to be peaked.

"The benefits are by no means limited to student computing labs," said Walton. "The University envisions utilizing Microsoft Application Virtualization technology in other areas, such as the delivery of centrally supported software to faculty desktop computers."

IDG is the world's leading technology media, events, and research company, with an online network that includes more than 450 Web sites focusing on business technology, consumer technology, digital entertainment, and video games. The organization sponsors more than 750 technology-related events, including the Macworld Conference & Expo and Linux World Conference & Expo. IDG publishes more than 300 magazines and newspapers in 85 countries.

Published by IDG, Computerworld is the leading source of technology news and information for IT professionals worldwide, possessing an online audience of more than two million monthly visitors as well as 1.2 million monthly print subscribers. The publication has earned numerous awards and distinctions, including the 2006 Gold EDDIE Award for best technology/computing magazine from Folio Magazine and the 2006 Best Overall Web Publication from the American Society of Business Publication Editors.

Founded by IDG in 1988, The Computerworld Honors Program is governed by the not-for-profit Computerworld Information Technology Awards Foundation. In its 21st year, Computerworld Honors is the longest-running global program to honor individuals and organizations in the information technology industry. The program unites chairs and CEOs of the world's foremost information technology companies to recognize innovative projects that have promoted positive social and economic progress worldwide.

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