Jay Nietling

Jay with Phantom Ranch shirt.

I manage the networks and computing systems in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at UNLV. Previously I worked with the Information Science Research Institute (ISRI), a research group within the Department of Computer Science at UNLV, dedicated to identifying and advancing the state of the art in optical character recognition (OCR), text processing, and information retrieval. Previous to that I spent fifteen years in the Department of Computer Science and the College of Engineering managing the networks and systems there. Early in my career I worked on the first Unix systems at UNLV and setup the first local area network on campus with the help of my colleague Greg Wohletz. In Computer Science we like to think we pioneered a shared distributed network with mail, file, print, and authentication servers using free and open source operating systems and software then mostly deployed in the great commercial corporate laboratories, and technically oriented universities such as MIT and Carnegie Mellon University which we strove to emulate. Before that, I hacked on Unix systems as a student of the late John Werth, Steve Sherman, the late Tom Schaffter, and later John Minor. Had the former not left the university I believe I would have finished an advanced degree concentrating on programming languages, specifically functional languages of the Lisp family. As it is I only completed my Bachelors of Science in Computer Science soon after the department emerged from the Department of Mathematics. As an aside, it is believed my father taught the first computing courses at UNLV (then Nevada Southern University) in the 1960s as a professor in Mathematics.

I now attempt to maintain and improve the Physics and Astronomy network originally built by my predicessor, John Kilburg who left us for Wall Street in 2011. This net supports personal desktops, experimental control, and data acquisition, and several clusters for computational physics and astronomy. Our network servers other than Cisco network hardware, are typically FreeBSD Unix systems while our computational servers are typically CentOS Linux systems.

Possibly Helpful Documents

Here are some documents I occasionally try to assemble to describe some features or facilities within Physics and Astronomy that are unique or non-obvious to newcomers.