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Annual report : National Institutes of Health. Division of Computer Research and Technology (Volume 1981-83) online

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either a system or systems to accomplish a
reduction in the bulk and optimization of access and
display of medical records data is hoped to be
completed by January 1982.

Another clinically-oriented project, which eventually
will require an interface with the CIU, is the
extension and enhancement of the BRIGHT system
to provide Clinical Center investigators the ability to
perform online analysis of their own clinical data. A t-
test module and a plotting module have been added
recently to BRIGHT. Other modules - to provide
descriptive statistics, chi-square test, linear
regression, ANOVA, normality test, non-parametric
tests, and life table analysis-are planned. Modules
will be added as new requests are received from

In addition to this work on central NIH administrative
and medical data management facilities, the

significance and breadth of DMB's involvement in
the NIH mission is evident in many computer
systems it has developed to support individual
scientific, administrative, and management projects
during the past year. Virtually every B/l/D has
benefitted from services provided by the DMB. Each
of these systems has served a vital segment of NIH
and, when viewed together, they illustrate DMB's
very reason for existence as a central resource for
all of NIH.

In the area of general support for NIH activities,
DMB continued to maintain and teach courses on
the Inquiry and Reporting System (IRS) and MARK
IV; to support NIH use of Chemical Biological
Activities (CBAC) and Biosciences Information
System (BIOSIS) awareness searches on a biweekly
and semimonthly basis, respectively; to maintain and
distribute the NCI Survival System; and to consult
with and assist NIH programmers and contractors,
enabling facile use of DCRT computer facilities.

The Scientific Applications Section (SAS) is developing a
computer system that will enable Clinical Center
investigators to analyze their own data.


Future Plans


The Clinical Support Section will begin, by January
1982, software development for the system or
systems to reduce the size and optimize the use of
medical records data. As a by-product of this effort,
it is anticipated also that requirements for an
integrated CIU data base will be defined and the
software development for this effort can begin
shortly afterwards. As each new benefit becomes
available, it will be phased into the day-to-day
functions of the Clinical Center.

New functions anticipated to be added to the NIH
Administrative Data Base system include: stock
requisitioning, central and self-service stores
inventory, open market requisitioning, accounts
receivable, and vendor credits. The requirements
study for an upgraded financial management system
should be completed by the end of this calendar
year; a system should begin shortly after that.

In addition DMB will continue its primary role as a
central resource for computer applications
development to all components of NIH that need this

Hams, E.K., Yasaka, T,, Horton. MR., and Shakarji, G.; Comparing Multivar-
iate and Univariate Subject-specific Reference Regions for Blood Con-
stituents in Healttiy Persons (in press)

Hirscfiman, G H . Wolfson, M., Mosimann. J.E.. Clark, C.B., Dante, ML, and
Wineman, R J : Complications of Dialysis. Clinical Nephrology 15:66,

Rodbard, D, Cole. B.. and Munson, P.J.: The Need for innovative Ap-
proaches to Radioimmunoassay Quality Control. In Wilson. D. W. (Ed.):
Quality Control ol Radioimmunoassays (in press).


Bill Jones, Carol Kahl, Jennifer Fajman, and Roger Fajman
were some of the computer professionals involved in
designing the new version of WYLBUR.

The NIH Computer Utility provides services to over 8,000
users and processes about 21,000 job sessions each day.


Computer Center Branch

Joseph D. Naughton, Chief


The Computer Center Branch (CCB), the largest
connponent of DCRT, designs and operates the NIH
Central Computer Utility and its associated online
telecommunications facilities, in support of scientific
and administrative programs throughout NIH.

Two large multi-computer facilities, the IBM System
370 and the DECsystem-10, form the nucleus of the
Computer Utility. These are linked by
communications facilities and connected by
telephone lines to hundreds of remote interactive
terminals located in research laboratories and
administrative offices throughout NIH.
Complementing this array of systems hardware is a
complex set of software, either designed and
implemented by Center personnel or acquired from
other sources and adapted to meet the unique
requirements of the NIH biomedical research

Approximately 140 professional, technical, and
administrative personnel ensure the smooth
functioning of the NIH Computer Utility 24 hours a
day. The computer specialists, programmers, and
systems analysts design, implement and maintain
the complex computer systems software that
monitors and controls the flow of work through the
system. They also design and conduct extensive
training courses, write and publish technical
documentation on the use of the Utility, assist users
in problem diagnosis, and maintain and schedule
recurring production applications. Experienced
technicians operate the computer systems and
auxiliary equipment and provide data entry services.
The remainder of the staff provides the necessary
administrative support for this complex work.

Research and development projects are active in the
areas of scientific image processing, computer
networking and communications, text editing, display
of biomedical objects, and utilization of mass storage

To augment the function of the Central Computer
Utility, the Computer Center provides systems
programming support, consultation, documentation,
and training.

Scope of Work

The NIH Computer Utility provides services to over
8,000 authorized users. These include research
scientists and program managers from every area of
NIH. The IBM System 370 facility is used as a
Federal Data Processing Center for biomedical and
statistical computation by authorized staff in 24 other
Federal agencies. All services are provided on a
cost-recovery, fee-for-service basis through the NIH
Service and Supply Fund.

A variety of programming languages-including
PL/I, and SAIL-are available, as well as a data
base/data management system (IMS) and a
comprehensive library of utility programs. Direct
interactive computing and batch job services are
available through WYLBUR, TSO, and through
similar interactive systems on the DECsystem-10.
The Center provides several facilities for job output
on paper and microfiche and has programs for
creating two- or three-dimensional graphic displays
for advanced projects such as those involving
macromolecular structures.

The work load of the Computer Utility has grown
steadily since it opened in 1968, and FY81 has been
no exception. The Computer Utility processed an
average of 21,000 job-sessions per day during the
past year. Workload on the IBM System 370
exceeded half a million job-sessions per month for
the first time in October 1980 and in March 1981
reached 544,248. The DECsystem-10 timesharing
facility, utilizing new equipment acquired late last
year, continued to expand its services and workload.


Highlights of the Year's

The past year has been an especially important one,
with major achievements being made in a number of

- The long-awaited new and greatly enhanced NIH
version of WYLBUR became operational on January
8, 1981 for all users of the Utility. An 11 -week
transition period, during which both old and new
versions were available, proved to be exceptionally
smooth; user reaction to the new features of this
interactive, terminal-oriented facility was enthusiastic.
The improved document formatting and new
command procedures facilities proved to be
especially popular. The document formatting
capability facilitates the production of all types of
documents. Command procedures can prompt for
and validate data and can automate repetitive work
within WYLBUR, providing improved productivity in
many types of computing applications.

-One of the largest procurements ever conducted
by NIH was brought to a close this year as a ten-
year, 'total system' contract was formally signed with
IBM Corporation. IBM agreed to provide hardware,
software, maintenance, and support services to the
NIH Computer Center throughout the 1980's,
enabling the Center to meet NIH's information
processing needs efficiently without the lengthy
procurement delays that occurred frequently in the
past. The contract allows rapid utilization of new
technologies as they are developed by industry and
provides the flexibility to adapt to changes in
workload, thus permitting improved cost

"Advances were made in the renovation of
Buildings 12 and 12A. The plotter and the bursting
equipment were moved closer to the computer room
on the first floor of Building 12A, resulting in
improved turnaround for these services. Construction
of modern classrooms and a new graphics systems
area began in the basement of Building 12A. A new,
enlarged user terminal area and the new classroom
facilities are expected to be completed in early 1982.
"Major work was accomplished with the molecular
graphics system this year. Activities included
determination of structures by crystallographic
methods, display of known structures, and modeling
of hypothetical structures. The coordinates for two
virus structures were determined during the year.

Techniques for extending known protein structures
to other members of the same family were also
developed. This enabled modeling of hypothetical
structures of immunoglobulins, myoglobins, and the
clotting factor proteins. The most exciting experiment
involved trying to predict the correct architecture for
proteins where only the primary structure is known.
The first result at this level is a model for the
structure of the human leucocyte interferon.

- In FY81 as in previous years, the Computer
Center evaluated available hardware and software
compoments. It selected and installed those that
serve best to help the Center meet computing needs
of NIH. This year additions include:

• A PASCAL/VS compiler for the IBM 370 to
make PASCAL, a language used widely by
computer scientists, available on both systems
of the Computer Utility

• SPEAKEASY, a language designed at the
Argonne National Laboratory for scientific and
mathematical problem solving

• DISSPLA and TELL-A-GRAF, commercial
systems that provide extensive facilities for
creating graphic output and make these facilities
available to users having graphic display









I — I







1967 1868 1968 1970 1971 1872 1973 197* 1978 1976 1977 1978 1979 1980 1861


Future Plans

Completing the installation and integration of the
new IBM equipment and developing the full
operating capacity of both the DECsystem-10 and
the IBM System 370 will remain important goals of
the coming years. Installation of new IBM equipment
will continue into the coming year as old equipment
is gradually phased out and replaced with newer,
faster, and more reliable technology. For instance,
the 3380 disk drive, IBM's newest disk drive, will be
installed toward the end of 1981. The new disk drive,
which will provide both local disk workspace and
shared permanent storage, will triple the storage
capacity of the system and provide greatly enhanced
operating speeds as well as increased reliability.

Improving the reliability, availability, and performance
of the Computer Utility is a continuing goal of the
Center. However, the Computer Center faces a
major challenge as it endeavors to continue
improving services while responding to the current
need to reduce operating expenses and limit staff
size. To meet this challenge, the Computer Center
has established a special support level for non-
critical software. While essential software will
continue to receive full support service, less widely-
used products will be designated to receive limited
support. This lower level of support will exclude
consulting and assistance with problem diagnosis
and will provide only limited maintenance service.
The new policy will allow the Computer Center to
continue expanding software offerings without
jeopardizing quality of service and responsiveness.

The coming year will also see completion of the
building program, installation of security facilities to
improve data security, and development of simpler
capabilities for output processing on the JES2
facilities. Several new training courses will help users
take maximum advantage of new features of
VVYLBUR; these include an introductory WYLBUR
course for programmers, courses on document
formatting and command procedures, and a series of
seminars on advanced topics in WYLBUR.



Two-dimensional computer graphics like this one, which
shows the nucleic acid sequence for an RNA fragment help
scientists in their investigative work throughout NIH


Feldmann, R. J., and BIng, D H.: Teaching Aids for Macromolecular Struc-
ture. New York, The Taylor-Merchant Corp.. 1980, 98 pp.


The three DCRT Offices complement the work of the
six Laboratories and Branches by:
• coordinating the complex Federal policies and

procedures that govern getting and using

computers at NIH

providing general administrative management

support for the Division's work

serving as a central source of information about

DCRT activities and about computer-related


The DCRT Library maintains a collection of about 6,000
books and technical reports on computer science,
mathematics, statistics, engineering, management, and
Information science.

Gloria Crawford, the DCRT Administrative Officer,
supervises all travel, training, forms management. Privacy
Act, and business functions of the Division.

Mike Reed and Julia Neel of the Financial Management
Section oversee the financial operation of DCRT.



Office of ADP Policy Coordination


The Office of ADP Policy Coordination, under the
direction of the Assistant Director of the Division, has
three closely related functions:

1. it is a focus for NIH-wide coordination of
automatic data processing (ADP) policy matters.

2. It serves as a central NIH point of contact on
policy and regulatory questions with the Public
Health Service, the Department of Health and
Human Services, other HHS Agencies, and the
General Service Administration.

3. It provides advice and assistance concerning
the internal operations of DCRT in matters of ADP
policies and regarding interagency sharing
agreements with other Federal agencies.


The role of the office includes:

• advising the Director of DCRT and through him
the Director of NIH on ADP policy matters

• reviewing and evaluating proposals from NIH B/
l/D's for procurements and contracts related to
computing and ADP

• directing the development of the annual NIH
ADP Plan

• assisting the NIH Division of Management Policy
on questions relating to its responsibility for
administrative and management computer

• representing NIH in PHS and DHHS policy
formulation efforts

• working with GSA staff to obtain necessary
approvals for NIH on procurements and

• coordinating interagency agreements with other
Federal agencies that use DCRT facilities, and

• answering inquiries from scientists and
administrators who are confused by the whole

This office has grown over the years in the breadth
of its activities but not in its size or cost. This fact is
strikingly analogous to the growth of the ADP
technology itself over the last decade and a half.
The functions of the office have evolved to solve
problems as new problems arose, to adapt to
change as changes occurred and to fill gaps as they

Henry J. Juenemann, Chief

became obvious. This is strikingly similar to the
parallel changes in computer technology itself, where
every year has been marked by increased capacity
and capabilities applicable to a wider range of
problem areas but still attainable with resource
expenditures of similar or smaller magnitude as
those of the older technologies being replaced.

Highlights of FY81 Activities

A major highlight of the year was completion of the
complex reprocurements of both systems comprising
the NIH central computing facility. After a protracted
five year process and in spite of a GAO protest,
award of a contract was made representing a full
reprocurement of the general purpose IBM 370
system. The resulting contract provides NIH
computer users with a long penod of stability while
also permitting flexibility to respond promptly to
technological and workload changes. Likewise,
reprocurement of the DECsystem-10 scientific time
sharing system was completed to provide a
combination of a period of stability with the same
flexibility to adjust to change. Both reprocurements
were accomplished in a way that had no adverse
impact on their user communities.

During the year this office reviewed nearly 600
proposals for acquisition of ADP equipment and/or
services. Each was reviewed to ensure that it was
justified and was in conformance with PHS, HHS,
GSA, and 0MB guidelines. Suggestions and
assistance were provided to the NIH Procurement
Branch and to contracting officers in Research
Contract Branches as to the most expeditious
procurement route to follow. In many cases one or
more of the Laboratories and Branches of DCRT
assisted by providing expertise to help in the review
of technical aspects of the proposals.

The office arranged the transfer of a computer
system from DCRT to the National Library of
Medicine, for relocation in a computer room in the
Lister Hill Center building. This action resulted in a
significant increase in NLM capacity to support its
information retrieval activities and made possible
savings estimated to be nine million dollars over the
next three years.


Arrangements were also made for the system thus
discontinued by NLM to become the primary support
system for the NIH Clinical Center Medical
Information System. It replaced a much older and
more limited contractor-operated system for meeting
day-to-day patient care information needs of the NIH
Clinical Center. The transfer included arrangements
for the Clinical Center to make use of the computer
room facilities formerly used for the NLM system.
The transfer satisfied for the first time the vital need
for backup redundancy in a system which-24 hours
a day, 7 days a week-serves all of the wards and
clinical services in a patient care environment. This
relocation resulted in an anticipated saving of 1.5
million dollars over a 28-month period.

During the year a number of cell sorter and image
processing computer system procurements were
expedited as well as procurements of a variety of
other automated equipment including, this year,
many microcomputers. An RFP was issued for the
automation of the NIH Library; a contract award is
expected in the last few months of the year so that
implementation of the initial phases of the project
can begin.

At year end the most time-consuming undertaking of
this office was the effort to extend DCRT's program
to supply users with several varieties of 'NIH
Standard' terminals. Having standard terminals
maximizes efficiency of the Center and of the users
who access the NIH central computing facilities.
Extension of contracts for the three existing types of
standard terminals was being sought as was
expansion of the program to cover those needed for
the new NIH Administrative Data Base System.

The Annual ADP Plan-which combines projections
of new ADP initiatives and required ADP
expenditures for all bureaus, institutes, divisions, and
offices of NIH-was completed. It details an NIH ADP
program projected to be 62 million dollars and 783
work years in FY82 growing to 88 million dollars and
833 work years by FY87. Although the accuracy of
the out-year projections must be regarded with
caution, the trend of ADP and computing
involvement in the scientific and managerial life of
NIH is unmistakable.

Future Plans ^M

FY82 will be marked by major changes in the
structure, staffing, and focus of NIH's overall ADP
Policy Coordination functions. These changes, the
nature of which are not predictable at this writing,
will be accomplished during FY82.


Office of Administrative

L. Lee Manuel, Chief

Function and Scope of Work

The Office of Administrative IVlanagement, under the
direction of the Executive Officer, consists of 15
people, organized functionally into three sections:
finance, personnel, and general administration. The
office serves as liaison between these functions and
the NIH Office of Administration, Office of Research
Services and with other NIH, PHS, and DHHS
offices. It handles a broad range of administrative
managerial functions for an NIH research division of
almost 300 people.

Fiscal Year 1981 Accomplishments

The Administrative Office processed a vast number
of administrative actions and acquired approximately
30 million do^lars in supplies and equipment during
FY8I. Day-to-day management activities conducted
by this staff included: procurement purchases and
contracts; travel; training; the administration of
property, space, and communications; payroll; and
mail/messenger services. As a result of new and
pending delegations, the position descriptions of the
staff were reviewed and restructured as necessary to
better take advantage of these authorities. An
automated system was developed to track and
report travel plans and obligations.

During FY81 the Project Control Office conducted a
major update of its files of information on 8,000
users under some 2,000 project accounts. The
Project Control Officer also was appointed Assistant
Systems Security Coordinator for the Division and
was charged with operational responsibility for
meeting departmental guidelines and reporting
requirements relating to ADP systems security.

The Budget Office spent most of the year coping
with a continually decreasing Management Fund
budget and increasing reporting requirements to NIH
program officials on various detailed levels, such as
travel and consultant services. The office studied the
impact of estimated 1981 operating expenses in the
fee-for-service areas along with workload/income
projections. Division cost center managers
negotiated rates for various services with the
Division of Financial Management.

DCRT acquired its own personnel staff as a result of
the Division of Personnel Management
decentralization. As a result a DCRT Personnel

Officer was appointed for the first time and several
delegated authorities, such as position classification,
were acquired. The Personnel Office provided DCRT
with advice and assistance in several areas.

During FY81, approximately 400 personnel actions
that included promotions, reassignments, temporary
appointments, excepted appointments, and transfers
were processed. In February 1981, hiring outside the
Department was restricted to hardship appointments
and clinical case positions only; DCRT was not
affected. Recruitment efforts have been solely
departmental for vacancies we have been able to fill.
The hiring freeze and Reduction In Force within PHS
increased the supply of applicants for the computer
specializations, but have made it difficult to retain our
computer operators, an area in which we have
experienced a large number of losses.

DCRT is serving as the NIH-wide focal point in the
development of Performance Elements and
Standards for the Computer Specialist, Technician,
Mathematics, and Statistics occupational groups.
This effort is being carried out for implementation of
the Performance Management System (PMS) to be
instituted October 1981. The Personnel Officer also
took the leadership role in implementing the Factor
Evaluation System for the 334 (computer specialist)
series and for the PMS.

Future Plans/Trends

Contracting, procurement, travel, and consultant
service requirements as mandated by PHS and
Office of the Secretary, DHHS involve intensive
monthly and quarterly reporting of financial

Online LibraryNational Institutes of Health (U.S.). Division ofAnnual report : National Institutes of Health. Division of Computer Research and Technology (Volume 1981-83) → online text (page 4 of 56)