Top Hat

Web Tech Group digitally helps RPI campus

Hello RPI! Last week, the Student Senate approved the Union Annual Report. This report, compiled by the Union Annual Report Committee (a joint Senate/Executive Board Committee) details the Rensselaer Union finances and the activity fees for 2012–2013. I cannot encourage everyone enough to read this report as it details how every dollar is spent in the Union. Our Union is a great source of pride for our school, so please take this opportunity to read more about it. I would like to thank everyone involved in the creation of this report, especially the Union Annual Report Committee and its chair Jon Stack ’12.

This week I am pleased to present a Top Hat from Chief Information Officer Kenley Cheung ’13 regarding the Web Technologies Group and their projects. I hope that you find it informative and consider getting involved with this Senate group. As always, you may e-mail me anytime at gm@rpi.edu. I would love to hear from you!

My name is Kenley Cheung and I am the CIO of the RPI Student Senate. As the CIO, I chair the Web Technologies Group. The group supports the information technology infrastructure of the Senate, and more importantly, seeks to deliver solutions to student problems using web technologies. By utilizing the power of collaboration and open source, the group has delivered solutions that students use everyday.

The group’s most successful projects are Concerto Digital Signage and Shuttle Tracking. Concerto was launched in Spring 2008 to address the clutter associated with traditional paper signage. From its humble roots as a simple idea, Concerto has grown to a system of over 20 screens on-campus with the support of numerous departments at Rensselaer as well as an open-source project with a user base at organizations such as Google, CERN, and Amazon. The entire history of Concerto can be found at http://concerto-signage.org/why-concerto/.

Shuttle Tracking at RPI is a smaller success story signifying the importance of collaboration here at Rensselaer. With the assistance of Jason Jones from Parking and Transportation Services and the support from Professor Mukkai Krishnamoorthy and fellow students from the Rensselaer Center for Open Source Software, Shuttle Tracking has become an easily accessible and innovative tool that many students use today.

Great problem solvers never stop innovating, and neither does this group. We are working on several upcoming projects. Inspired by the importance of communication on campus, a simple tool to route feedback to the appropriate administrators has been in the works for several months. This tool is set to launch along with the new Senate website in the near future. Also, the group’s deputy CIO, Jonathan Goldszmidt ’13, has been leading the development efforts behind an improved printer tracking application originally developed at the Voorhees Computing Center Help Desk. In addition to developing solutions, WTG is teaching new members web development skills by involving them in the development of new applications.

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