Dunster Inaugurates Computer Center
Dunster House Master Karel F. Liem yesterday dedicated a new Dunster computer center, which he hailed as a step toward the return of academics to the houses.
The centerpieces of the Dunster House Learning Center are two new Hewlett Packard computing stations, donated by Walter B. Hewlett '66. Hewlett's father co-founded the computer company.
Students have already begun to use the learning center and the computers, an HP Apollo 9000, Model 720 and an HP 700/RX. Five students are currently designing independent projects on the computing stations.
Seven computer companies donated such software programs as Mathematica, 3D Studio and PVWAVE, a visual data analysis package.
In an interview yesterday, Hewlett said he hopes to revive the house system's original design.
"I would like to see the house return to being an intellectual center," he said.
President A. Lawrence Lowell, who devised the College's current residential system, conceived the houses as centers for intellectual as well as social interaction.
"I've always had this goal that we will make the house system more relevant academically," Liem said. "We have already done well socially."
Dean of the Faculty Jeremy R. Knowles, who attended the dedication, said that "this is a wonderful initiative taken by Master Liem to create [such] opportunities" for students.
Knowles recently appropriated more than $1 million toward connecting students, administrators and faculty to a central computer network.
Liem said he believes a computer center will help to alleviate the problems specialization causes in an academic community.
"There is a tendency to become compartmentalized," Liem said.
"People from different fields could meet each other [at the computing center]. Technology is common, and different fields even use the same software."
Hewlett Packard Project Manager Joseph J. Raffa, who is setting up the computer system, said he was also attracted by the idea of a house computer center.
"Liem is trying to bring education back to the houses," said Raffa, who graduated from Harvard Business School in 1988. "This is really unique, an experiment taking place in a house."
Raffa also said that although no other houses have begun the process of mixing academics with house life, "many people are looking to see what will happen."
Paul F. Hsieh '84, a computer science tutor at Dunster, said the Learning Center will be open to all students on campus. Presently, the center is open six days a week for four hours a day.
"The rest of the time will be for students who have submitted special projects for approval," Hsieh said.