Thanks to the hard work of the IT department, the meteorology department was able to make some major updates to their computer systems allowing students to run cutting edge meteorological software packages.
“Valpo’s IT department has helped greatly in the process from the beginning of the project,” says Adam Stepanek, staff meteorologist for Valparaiso University’s Department of Geography and Meteorology.
Some of the noteworthy changes include the capability for each computer to view current data from the Dual Polarization Doppler radar located here on Valpo’s campus and direct connectivity to our new storage/server. An Oracle Virtual Machine allows students to use these programs while having the capability to type up a project in Microsoft Word or access information on an internet browser.
“We purchased our storage/server back in 2009 and the IT department was integral in that process,” Stepanek says. “The EDGE software, which allows students to view data from our Doppler radar, is a finicky program which has very technical specifications. Dave Sierkowski, in particular, has been extremely helpful in setting up images to run all of our software packages, while finding ways to incorporate the data for the EDGE program.”
Students are currently able to use many software packages here at Valpo that are utilized on a daily basis in graduate programs and in public/private meteorology sectors. Having the capability to view real-time dual-polarization Doppler radar data from a system literally less than 2 miles away is at the forefront of weather technology, particularly at an undergraduate level.
Due to a variety of issues, the computer upgrades did take longer than anticipated, but have been met with great excitement. Many students had been utilizing personal laptops or other computer labs to accomplish many of their class tasks. With the new technology, students are able to do anything they need to on the computers here in Kallay Christopher Hall.
“We think it was worth the wait and are excited to continue to develop the laboratory in the months to come” says Stepanek.