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New virtual service delivers high-end computing to your laptop

Imagine a computer lab packed full to capacity of science and engineering students, bleary-eyed and stressed, all vying for the use of the coveted Linux desktop computers.

Fortunately, College of Science and Engineering (CSE) students needing to access the computing power of programs such as Mathematica now have a new option

This year, CSE is implementing a service called Virtual Online Linux Environment, or VOLE. This exciting, high-end technology allows students to access all the power and software of a CSE Linux computer using their laptop and an internet connection. Whether it is finishing homework problems or computer programming, it all only takes a CSE Labs student account and a few easy clicks. With the virtual environment’s additional ability to power 3D applications, even engineering students can access in-depth design software like CAD, used for creating mechanical drafts and models.

“We're simply providing the same technology students are using in the computer lab, but delivering it over the internet,” explained Seppie Sevcik, an IT manager for CSE. “It will look and feel the same as if you were sitting at a physical computer.”

Students can access VOLE systems from almost anywhere, which means they can get that Multivariable Calculus done lounging on a bean bag chair at home or sitting on the smooth, leather couches in Coffman Memorial Union. As long as a student can connect to the internet, they can connect to the computer power of VOLE.

VOLE also benefits students by allowing them log in access to the Linux desktop environment in the classroom, providing the unique opportunity to apply what they are learning while in class instead of heading to a computer lab after the fact.

“The main goal is to provide CSE students access to new and better technologies that will help them in their academics,” Sevcik said. “CSE wants to ensure students have all of the tools they need to be successful.”

For more information, please visit vole.cse.umn.edu.