Statement on Desktop and Laptop Computers

The Department of Biostatistics provides each faculty and staff member a desktop computer running Linux. This computer is well equipped with hardware and open source software for most analysis tasks. We also operate servers for long running jobs or tasks requiring a large amount of memory. These computers are regularly backed up and fully supported by the department's IT staff.

Most of the members of the department also have laptops that are paid for by various sources. Because of the wide variety of software and hardware involved it is possible that the support for these machines and their software will not be as complete as that for the desktop computers. For similar reasons we don't provide automatic backup of these computers. Some members may wish to use the Unison program to synchronize selected laptop directories (none of which should include protected health information) with their desktop.

Laptop computers provide convenience and portability. They can be used for presentations, remote connectivity, and email and other office tasks when one is out of the office. However, laptops should not be used to store data that might contain private health information. In most cases, laptops should not be considered the primary machine for statistical analysis or other compute intensive work. Desktop computers and servers are better suited for these jobs.

We expect that the Linux desktop computer will be the primary computer for faculty and staff.
Topic revision: r2 - 01 Sep 2015, DalePlummer

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