Volume 8,     Number 1.   February 1983    
N E W     M E X I C O     T E C H     C O M P U T E R     C E N T E R
Socorro, New Mexico 87801

 

C 0 N T E N T S

  1. Notes From the Director
  2. Status Line
  3. Graphics Seminar
  4. The New EXEC
  5. User Consultants
  6. Unscheduled Downtime Summary
  7. TCC Facts

 

NOTES FROM THE DIRECTOR
Gary Smith

 

As you may have noticed the TCC Newletters are published somewhat less frequently than they were in the past. This is due largely to budget problems at Tech and the TCC. However, we need to tell you about several new developments.

One of the goals at the TCC for several years has been to have a working FORTRAN-77 comiler that generated native mode code. Last fall we tried to use a SITGO compiler to meet the needs of the CS100 class. This compiler was something less than we had hoped for. To meet the needs of our users we have installed a new DEC FORTRAN-77 compiler, a new linking loader and a new version of P&tC. The new compiler is faster and has more features than the old one, but it also has new and better bugs. To ease the transisition for users who find that their programs no longer runs, the old FORTRAN is still available. To access it you must define OLD to be part of your SYS definition. To do this type:
Define SYS: OLD:,SYS:

Some of the bugs that we have discovered and are trying to have fixed are:

  1. COMMON must be labled.
  2. Character and integer variables may not be mixed in a COMMON statement.
  3. Subroutine CALLs must not have more than eleven arguments.
  4. Macro subprograms must now do type checking on data.

Recently, in analyzing our security, it was discovered that an improvement could be made by increasing the length of passwords to eight or more characters. This, as you probably know, has been done.

After a mid-year evaluation of our rates, we have reduced the following:

  1. Tape usage:   $11.70 per hour.
  2. Plotter:      $25.92 per hour.

Also, there is a differential connect rate charged on the various terminals.

TERMINAL PRIME Non-PRIME
Televideo $ 2.00/hr $ 1.00/hr
GIGI $ 4.00/hr $ 2.00/hr
HP (2621) $ 4.00/hr $ 2.00/hr
$Tektronix $ 8.00/hr $ 4.00/hr

There is also a system monitor outside of the user area for checking the status of the system. This monitor is very useful when the are is busy, because you can tell which terminals will become free next.

 

STATUS LINE
by Moe Poteet

A Status Line has been installed outside the User Area to provide information about the system to interested users. The Status Line is operated by nie push-buttons mounted on the wall below the monitor, each key producing a different display about various system parameters. The reason for installing this monitor is that it was noticed that a large number of people log in simply to find out system statstics either via a SYSINT command or an INFORMATION (ABOUT) OUTPUT-REQUEST command. The Status Line will reduce the need for this activity. The Status Line will also present informatiojn concerning system load which can be used to determine the response time a user would recieve if they were to log in, allowing users to predict the effectiveness of a terminal session.

The Status Line currently provides six displays about various system parameters. They are:

  1. the "U" button, giving User Area status
  2. the "G" button, giving Graphics Area status
  3. the "A" button, giving all jobs status
  4. the "O" button, giving the current status of the system input/output queues (i.e. the printer queue)
  5. the "S" button, giving System Monitor Statistics
  6. the "E" button, giving status on the Express terminal.
Each of these displays will be discussed separately.

User Area Status: The "U" Button

The primary information produced by the Status Line is the current status of the User Area, produced by the "U" button. Since there is a limited amount of space that the Computer Center is allowed to fill with terminals, the terminals in the User Area are usually filled up and overflowing. Before the installation of the Status Line, someone stopping by the User Area and seeing it full would have no idea how long they would have to wait for a terminal to be freed up, or even whether a temrinal was available or not.

The Status Line provides information about the User Area which allows anyone to estimate how long it will be before they can use a terminal. The "U" button produces a display which has an entry for each terminal in the User Area including the terminal,job number, connect time (in minutes), the status, the user, and the person using the terminal. The status of each line will be one of the following:
Status Meaning
Avail Terminal is available.
In Use Terminal is being used by a non-SNSR.
Broken Terminal is broken or not available.
SNSR Terminal is in use by a SNSR account.
Gamer Terminal is being used for game playing.

If a terminal is available, an imcoming user can acquire the terminal immediately. If there are no terminals available, then the User Area is FULL. SLED, an operator service routine which stands for Session Length Enforcer and Determiner, is responsible for trying to make sure at least one terminal becomes available. SLED checks the User Area every few minutes to see if it is full, and if it is, schedules one or more users to be logged out. The SLED interval (how often it checks), the the time of the last interval, the minimum gauranteed session length for non-SNSR/non-gamer accounts, and any users who are scheduled to be logged out are also displayed on the User Area display. This allows someone observing the display to estimate how long they will have to wait for a terminal to be freed.

If there are several people waiting for temrinals, the User Consultant or the Operator can set the User Area to BUSY. This menas that SLED will schedule up to 25 percent of the users in the User Area to be logged out. Users who are scheduled to be logged out are denoted with asterisks (*) on the display.

Graphics Terminal Status: The "G" Button

The Graphics Area display is envoked with the "G" option and contains essentially the same information as the User Area display. It contains an entry for each terminal in the Graphics Area with terminal number, job number, connect time, status, user, and user name fields. The display also contains SLED information concerning the Graphics Area.

Express Terminal Status: The "E" Button

The Express Terminal display contains similar information to the User Area and Graphics Area displays but concerning the Express Terminal. It includes SLED data relevant to the Express Terminal.

All Jobs Status: The "A" Button

The "A" button produces the All Jobs Status, which includes information about all jobs on the system. SLED information is not included in this display, since SLED only has jurisdiction over the User Area, Graphics Area, and Express Terminal. Included with the All Jobs display is an entry for each job on the system including job number, terminal number, connect time, running programs, status, scheduler class, user and connected directory.

The status on each job can be any of the same values as under the User Area display, but for all jobs on the system.

The scheduler class of each job is a measure of the priority of the job on the system. Normally, the scheduler class ranges from 0 to 4, with 1 being highest priority. Class 0 contains not logged in and operator jobs, Class 1 contains highly interactive jobs, Class 2 and 3 ---- interactive compute-bound jobs, and Class 4 contains fully compute-bound jobs, or crunchers. More information about each class can be found with the monitor Statistics Display, described below.

An exception to the Classes described above is SNSR users which are automatically placed in Class 6, giving them lowest priority on the system.

System Queues Display: The "Q" Button

The System Queues Display is envoked with the "Q" button, and shows scheduled activity on the line printer, plotter, Diablo printer, tape drives, and batch queues. This display is equivalent to an INFORMATION (ABOUT) OUTPUT-REQUESTS and an INFORMATION (ABOUT) MOUNT-REQUESTS and an INFORMATION (ABOUT) BATCH-REQUESTS all rolled into one.

Monitor Statistics Display: The "S" Button

The "S" button evokes a Monitor Statistics display on the Status Line which can be used to determine overall system load and performance parameters. The display includes current status of logins, operator attendance, the system load averages, CPU percentages, memory status and CPU and memory dynamics.

The system load averages are a method of determining how loaded the CPU, or central processor unit of the computer is. The load average can be interpretted as the number of user processes, or jobs, which cannot be granted all of the resources they need. In other words, if the load average is zero, all jobs on the system are being provided with all of the CPU and memory resources they need. If the load average is 2.33, that means for the specified interval, an average of 2.33 jobs could not get all of the resources they needed, resulting in a slight system performance degradation for those jobs. There is no way to tell if a specific job's performance will be degraded given a specific load average, but overall system performance can be etimated. The Load Averages are displayed in intervals of 1 minute, 5 minutes and 15 minutes, allowing an analysis of trends over the last 15 minutes.

The Load Averages are also divided according to Classes, into which users are placed depending upon their usage. Not logged in jobs are placed in Class 0, which has a nominal share of 0.20 or twenty percent of the CPU. Upon login, users are placed in Class 1, which has 55% of the CPU allocated to it. This is the normal Class for people who are editing or doing light interactive work on the system.

When a user begins doing heavy work on the computer, or "crunching", the system automatically moves the user into higher class number, which have lower and lower percentages of the computer. If a user is consistently crunching, he will be moved into Class 4, which has zero percent allocation. This menas that only left over CPU time is given to those jobs. This provides priority for interactive jobs as much as possible. Because of the metod of calculating the Load Averages and because Class 4 has an allocation of zero percent, sometimes the Load Averages will be an extremely large number, which is displayed as asterisk in the status display.

The CPU percentages show what the Central Processor was doing during the last Status interval. The USED value, is the percent of CPU time spent processing user jobs. The SCHEDULER value is the percent of CPU time spent choosing the priority and order of jobs to be run. The SWAPPING value gives the percentage spent swapping pages to and from disk. The IDLE value gives the percentage of the CPU time spent idle. The BACKGROUND value gives the percentage of CPU time spent in background tasks, such as moving terminal input and output characters. The FILE value is how much time the CPU spent idle waiting for service from the file system.

The amount of memory available and used gives an idea of how much of the main memory is used. If main memory is full, more CPU time must be spent swapping and scheduling, causing less time to be spent on user processes, degrading system performance.

A context switch occurs when one user's job is replaced with another in the CPU. The more often this happens, the less each user on the system is served. The number of page traps indicates how dynamic the users on the system are in terms of memory needs.

Other Buttons

The buttons marked 1, 2, and 3 are unused at this point in time and are reserved for future expansion.

Interval of Update

The interval between updates of the status line depends upon how recently someone has requested a different display. The base interval is 30 seconds between updates. If after 5 updates, no one has pressed a button, the interval is doubled. If after 5 of thesse intervals, no button has been pressed, the interval is again doubled. This scheme keeps the status line from operatingfrequentlywhen there is no one around to see it, such as in the middle of the night.

Once a button is pressed, the interval reverts back to the original 30 seconds.

Overflow Data

Several of the displays presented contain more than 1 page of data. In order to display all the information, the Stauts Line will present s second screen full of information (or even a third or fourth if necessary) with the overflow data on it. You can tell that there is overflow data when the current display has the line
(Overflow Data in 10 seconds)
at the bottom. This indicates that the overflow data will be displayed in 10 seconds. If more than one page of overflow data is present, the display will cycle through as many pages as necessary and then return to the first page to repeat the cycle again.

Conclusion

It is hoped that the status line will present data to the users which will allow them to more efficiently use their time and the resources of the Computer Center. By observing the busyness of the User Area, the fullness of the System Queues, and the degree of saturation of the CPU and memory resources of the system via the monitor statistics display, it is possible to determine whether machine response time and crowding will be beneficial to a user's needs.

It is also hoped that the presence of the Status Line will reduce the number of users who log in simply to see "what's happening." This type of activity not only reduces the available machine cycles to be used on productive activities, but occupies terminals unnecessarily as well.

 

GRAPHICS SEMINAR
by David P. Duggan

The TCC is getting together a Basic Users' course on graphics. The course will cover the subroutine calls necessary to generate graphics output for the DEC-20. Registration for the course will be published some time this semester. If anyone is interested in attending the course, come by the Computer Centerand leave your name and a possible time to meet, with the secretary.

 

THE NEW EXEC

As many of you have noticed, there is a new EXEC that is being used at this time. When Release 5 was brought up in August of last year, the new EXEC was not brought up at the same time. During the last couple of months, work has been done on the Release 5 EXEC to put in the features that are required here at Tech. With most of the work completed. we have decided to start using the new EXEC. Some fo the features of the old EXEC still are not in the new EXEC. The following list of features are not in the new EXEC at the present time, but will be installed soon:

The Commands TMOUNT, SMOUNT, SOISMDUNT have been removed from this release of the EXEC. Use the MOUNT TAPE or MOUNT STRUCTURE command to replace the old commands.

If there are any bugs that are found in the new EXEC, please let us know via the SUGGEST program. We will try to clear up any problems that there might be with the new EXEC.

 

USER CONSULTANTS
by Nancy McLaughlin

Well, it's that time again - time to introduce the User-Consultants, Explain the policies of the User Area and generally take up more space in this newsletter. Once again we have an A-1 team of User Consultants. First I'll introduce and welcome back our 2 staff from last semester:

Mark Dawson - You'll recognize Mark by his outfit ... he's the only person I know who wears shorts in January and swaers he isn't cold! Mark has been working as a User-Consultant for well over a year and is extremely knowledgable about the system. A Junior in Computer Science, Mark also teaches CS106, tennis and is president of the Tennis Club. He is familiar with FORTRAN, PASCAL, C and SNOBOL.

Luke Jones - Luke started woking as a UC last semester, and is still doing a wonderful job. He is a senoir in C.S. and can assist you in C, PASCAL, FORTRAN, SNOBOL, MACRO and COBOL. (He's also our resident literary comedian.) In his spare time, Luke "bweebes out on the VAX". (I told you I'd qoute you...)

Kevin Wanner - Kevin is our quiet UC - but is always willing to help. He is a junior in Computer Science and programs in C, PASCAL, FORTRAN, and COBOL. Kevin also started working with us last semester, and we're glad to have him back this semester. According to him, his favorite activity is sleeping, but he didn't say whether he's alone or ...

Bob Tausworth - Bob is a junior CS/Math major. He has been with us since last semester and we're also glad to have him back. He knows C, PASCAL, FORTRAN, PROLOG, SNOBOL and LISP.In fact, I understand he is teachung LISP this semester. When asked about his favorite activity, fBob replied, "fooling around with women". You'll recognize Bob by his friendly smile (ladies beware).

Brooke King - Well, I didn't get to interview Brooke before the deadline on this article, so I'll have to tell you what I know about him. Brooke was also a UC last semester and is very experienced on the system. He is (at least) a junior in C.S. (Brooke, I hope I'm right on this time). I hesitate to guess what his leisure time activity might be, so I leave it up to you to ask him.

We welcome all of them back!

Now to introduce our two new User Consultants:

Dustin Edwards - Dustin is a transfer student from UNM, where he gained a lot of programming experience. He's had to learn our system in just a few weeks, and has done an excellant job. He's always willing to help you, and if he doesn't know the answer, he'll find it for you. Dustin is a junior in C.S. and can assist you in FORTRAN, PASCAL and BASIC. His main interest (outside of school and work, of course) is music. Welcome, Dustin - we're glad to have you on the team!

Dan Gallivan - Dan is a freshman in Computer Science, and is a sort of "resident computer genius". I think he may have set a record in completingthe CS111 self-paced course! Dan is familiar with BASIC, Z80 (machine and assembler), PASCAL, C, FORTRAN, COBOL, PL/1, and CMP. His main hobby is programming (naturally!), but he also enjoys racquetball and archery. Dan, we welcome you, too.

Daustin and Dan, we're glad to have you with us!

I suppose I should introduce myself - I'm still the Manager of User Services (started this job last semester) so I must be doing OK! I'm a Technical Communications major (minor in Computer Science) and have been an Operator and a UC on this system. My office is across the hall from the User Area (WKMN. 16) and I'm also glad to help you with your programming questions.

The User-Consultant time schedule is posted on the wall to the right of the User Area, and also on the bulletin board across the hall from the User Area. You can also get the schedule by typing "HELP ME" to the prompt. Basically, the hours are 8:00 am to midnight Monday through Friday, and 1:00 to midnight Saturday and Sunday. The UC's will be getting an office eventually, but for now, you can find them wnadering around the User Area. If you don't recognize the UC, just raise your hand ... he'll see you! The main User Area is open 24 hours a day, including weekends and holidays. The Graphics Area is open only when there is a UC on duty.

The User Consultnats are there to help you with your problems on the system - that is their main funcction. So, don't hesitate to ask them for assistance!

 

UNSCHEDULED DOWN TIME

September:

October:

November:

December:

January:

 

TCC FACTS

WHERE . . . . .

10 Workman Center (phone: 835-5735).

WHO . . . . .

Director: Gary Smith
Senior Systems Programmer: Monroe Poteet
Senior Systems Programmer: David Duggan
Administrative Secretary: Elma Lopez
Chief Computer Operator: Patti Myers
Computer Operator: Karen Bradley
Electronic Technican: Ruth Duggan

WHEN . . . . .


Operator Hours User Service
Monday-Thursday 24 Hours. 8:00 am 12:00 pm
Friday Close at 12:00 pm. 8:00 am 8:00 pm
Saturday 8:00 am 12:00 pm. Noon 12:00 pm
Sunday 8:00 am. 11:00 am 12:00 pm

This schedule changes during holidays, semester breaks, and summer semester. You will be informed of these changes.

Tuesday evening files will be migrated. Thursday evening files will be archived.

Preventative Maintenance (PM) is ALWAYS scheduled for every other Saturday from 8:00 AM till Noon.

HOW MUCH . . . . .

Resource Prime
(9 AM to 9 PM)
Non-Prime
(9 PM to 9 AM)
CPU (per hour) $   251.00 $   83.00
BATCH (per hour) $   251.00
BATCH SPECIAL $   25.00
Terminal
Connect
(per hour)
Televideo $   2.00 $   1.00
GIGI $   4.00 $   2.00
HP 2621 $   4.00 $   2.00
Tektronix $   8.00 $   4.00

Disk Usage (page-day) $   0.0018
Tape Usage (per hour) $   11.70
Printer (normal/page) $   0.07
Printer (forms/page) $   0.10
DIABLO (page) $   0.25
Plotter (hour) $   25.92