BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- In 1997, Indiana University President Michael A. McRobbie, then IU's first vice president for information technology, established University Information Technology Services to "provide more effective and efficient" IT services for all campuses and to "enable the university's goal of being a national leader in the uses and applications of IT."
UITS was formed to help faculty, staff and students harness and accelerate the possibilities of an increasingly connected world at the time when a burgeoning Internet signaled many profound changes for research and education.
Fast forward 20 years, and UITS is now beginning its third decade with its annual Statewide IT Conference focused on "In the Age of the Smart Machine" and the accelerating wave of applied artificial intelligence and machine learning.
The conference is Thursday, Oct. 19, and Friday, Oct. 20, in Bloomington. New this year, IU's Center for Applied Cybersecurity Research will host its annual Cybersecurity Summit alongside Statewide IT on Oct. 19.
The conference will again gather nearly 1,000 colleagues from IU's seven campuses to exchange information about the latest in technology, university initiatives and developments in the field. Attendees will hear from IT leaders during the opening keynotes, learn from breakout session topics and get the chance to network with colleagues.
By drawing on the theme of "The Smart Machine," attendees will hear from two leading voices to interpret how increasingly capable devices will affect our lives and security. Harvard professor Shoshana Zuboff and computer security expert Dan Geer will kick off the conference with keynote speeches that are free and open to the public. The keynotes will take place at 9 a.m. Oct. 19 in IU Auditorium.
Zuboff, who joined the Harvard Business School in 1981 and became the Charles Edward Wilson Professor of Business Administration, was one of the first tenured women on the Harvard Business School faculty. She is the author of influential works in the realm of human development, the digital revolution, artificial intelligence and the evolution of capitalism, among others. Her books include "Master or Slave? The Fight for the Soul of Our Information Civilization" (forthcoming, 2018), "The Support Economy: Why Corporations Are Failing Individuals and the Next Episode of Capitalism" and "In the Age of the Smart Machine: The Future of Work and Power."
Geer is an expert in computer security and risk management, with extensive experience in clinical and research medical computing. He serves in advisory roles for the Federal Trade Commission, the Department of Justice, the Department of Treasury, the National Academy of Sciences, the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Secret Service, the Department of Homeland Security, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, the White House and In-Q-Tel's counterparties.
20 years of UITS
This year's conference is especially noteworthy because UITS is celebrating its 20th anniversary. UITS is now nationally known as one of the nation's largest, broadest and most influential university IT organizations in its service to all campuses of Indiana University, the state and the nation.
"When I first arrived at Indiana University 20 years ago, then President Myles Brand clearly expressed to me IU's vision for the university to 'become a leader, in absolute terms, in the use and applications of information technology,'" McRobbie said. "The crucial first step towards achieving this goal was to form University Information Technology Services to unify nearly all of IU's extensive but uncoordinated IT resources.
"Today, UITS is without peer in higher education in the U.S. Widely admired and imitated, it provides the nation's best IT services and infrastructure to all IU students, faculty and staff, and it ensures that IT both supports and strengthens IU’s core mission of excellence in education, research and engagement."
Brad Wheeler, vice president for IT and chief information officer since 2007, added, "For over 20 years, the entire IU IT community has adapted to the unending opportunities and challenges of the skillful uses of IT. From part-time students in our 24-hour support center to our most specialized expertise in supercomputing and high-speed networks, it is the talent and passion of the staff that fuel the services and innovation of a constantly evolving organization."
- See some of IU's most notable IT accomplishments since 1997
- 1999: IU received nearly $30 million from Lilly Endowment Inc., which led in part to the development of today's Pervasive Technology Institute and the School of Informatics, Computing and Engineering.
- 2000: The IU School of Informatics is founded -- the first of its kind in the United States.
- 2002: IU unveiled its first supercomputer, the IBM SP. The machine tripled IU's computing capacity and was the largest university-owned supercomputer in the nation.
- 2003: IU launched the Center for Applied Cybersecurity Research.
- 2006: IU announced its latest supercomputer, Big Red. It was the 23rd fastest supercomputer in the world and the fastest at a U.S. university.
- 2007: The National Science Foundation awarded $1.9 million to IU for the Polar Grid cyberinfrastructure project. This project helped scientists better understand the current and future state of polar ice sheets by creating a computer grid spanning from the North to the South Pole.
- 2008: IU is awarded $25 million from the National Institutes of Health to create the Indiana Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute, which is supported by UITS' Advanced Biomedical IT Core. NIH established the institute to improve the process by which basic science laboratory discoveries are transformed into new medical treatments and products.
- 2010: Computerworld magazine named IU among the best places to work in IT. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration selected the IU Global Research Network Operations Center to operate its national science network, N-Wave.
- 2012: IU physicists and IT personnel contributed to the success of the Higgs boson search. The Higgs boson explains why fundamental particles have mass; without it, particles would whiz around at the speed of light and not be able to bind to form the material of the universe, including us.
- 2013: By now, 10,000 IU students are using digital learning materials through IU's pioneering eText initiative. IU dedicated its 1 petaflops Cray supercomputer, Big Red II. IU funded the Media Digitization and Preservation Initiative to rescue audio and video recordings.
- 2014: IU is awarded $6.6 million from the National Science foundation to build and operate Jetstream, a user-friendly cloud environment and the NSF's first cloud resource for science and engineering research.
- 2015: IU launched the Mosaic Active Learning Initiative, designed to provide a comprehensive set of services and strategies supporting faculty teaching in active learning spaces.
- 2016: The National Science Foundation awarded $5 million to designate the IU-led Center for Trustworthy Scientific Cyberinfrastructure as a Cybersecurity Center of Excellence. The center, a collaboration between IU, the National Center for Supercomputing Applications, the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center and the University of Wisconsin-Madison, addresses cybersecurity challenges of NSF science.
- 2016: IU has the largest user base in higher education of the cloud storage and file-sharing service Box.
- 2017: IU ranks first in state, climbs to 27th on World's Most Innovative Universities list by Reuters.
- 2017: The IU eText program continues to grow, with 50,000 students using eTexts with a net savings of over $2 million.
- 2017: 29,000 students are concurrently enrolled in IU Online and on a campus.