Windows Research Computing recently concluded working with Professor Dan Taylor’s ACCT270 class where he used the new Windows Research On-Demand environment to allow students to use SAS and Big Data for their classwork and projects. Each student in ACCT270 was provided an AWS WorkSpaces with 4vCPU and 16GB of ram to do their work. With the AWS WorkSpaces technology, students had their own dedicated work environment and didn’t have to share CPU or RAM resources unlike remoting into a server where resources are shared. We also used the group policy technology to control the user experience so students can focus on their work and to provide a network share with the appropriate datasets. This network share drive hosted 50GB of large data files and wasn’t shareable on Canvas, and not efficiently shared through Dropbox or Box.net. The students could then run programs on these read-only files from their network share and save their output to their own AWS WorkSpaces.
In addition, we provided two convenient ways to login to the AWS WorkSpaces environment. We worked with the Labs group to provide login capability to the WorkSpaces environment in the Huntsman labs, but another was using their own laptops. The second option worked out well for us in the midst of Covid-19 because Wharton faculty and students quickly adjusted to online learning and ACCT270 students still had the capability to use their laptops to remotely access the WorkSpaces environment to continue their class work.
Currently, researchers can get their own AWS WorkSpaces with the following software.
- Stata SE 16
- ArcGIS 10.7.1
- MatLab R2019a
- SAS 9.4
- Office 2019
Researchers also have admin rights to their WorkSpaces so they can install any other research software they might need. WorkSpaces is a secure environment for housing confidential data as well. The following link explains more on the HIPPA and PCI compliance of the WorkSpaces environment. WorkSpaces comes with 100GB of storage, but if more storage is needed, please email email@example.com. Other cloud storage offerings can be connected to WorkSpaces as well. Here is more information about the Windows Research environment and connecting other storage to WorkSpaces.