Specialist courses require specialist facilities and the University has dedicated state-of-the-art labs available for the exclusive use of our students.
When the University is closed we also offer remote access to our class computers through our clustering technology as well as dedicated computers within the Peter Marsh Library available 365 days a year.
Special Effects and Multimedia Development Lab
This lab has high specification machines and includes a range of state of the art industry standard software including the Adobe CS6 suite, Autodesk Maya, ZBrush and Eyeonline Fusion most of which were used on the recent blockbuster Avatar. We also have access to other specialist software for video and audio production and post production.
This year we have also added the CG render farm which uses industry tools to harness the power of distributed computing to render high quality, complex photo realistic scenes and environments.
The Computer Games Software Development and Games Art & Design labs each provide the latest game spec PCs with high-end graphics cards. Labs contain Xbox 360, PS3 and Nintendo Wii development kits.
Three network labs are available. One is designed to enable students to work with real networks, i.e. the cabling, infrastructure and the switch components that make up most modern networks. Two more are equipped with desktop PCs providing a wide range of Windows, Unix, and Linux operating systems and a comprehensive set of network design and analysis software.
Server Farm and Technical Support
This facility houses a number of different types of systems principally to support the networks teaching. A dedicated system can be assigned to a student for the duration of a module or a project or even for the duration of an entire course at the university. Students interface with this equipment remotely, either from University computers or externally via a VPN connection.
Other systems support modules on a more specific basis, e.g. web content delivery management systems, database systems, network systems. The farm also supports specialist system administration courses including disk management clustering, LVM (logical volume management) and the enterprise systems course, which includes high end system management, normally associated with larger computer installations.
There are a number of institutions in the US that provide this sort of facility, but this is the only one in the UK for student use. A couple of places in the UK have such a facility but they tend to be for a specific experimental or project work and are not available to students individually.
Remote Computer Access
The department is at the forefront of providing remote access to its computing facilities and associated software. Developed initially for its online distance learning postgraduate courses, this facility is now increasingly deployed for undergraduate work. Students are able to access software anywhere on campus, in the halls of residence and on home PCs in the UK or abroad.