College of Science & Engineering Alumni Newsletter

Fall 1998

More Labs for CSE Students

These laboratories are new additions for the College of Science and Engineering and are in need for more funds and equipment.  If you or your company can support these labs, please contact them directly.

ExCSL - The Experimental Computer Science Lab
The Experimental Computer Science Lab (ExCSL) is located in Science 252. The lab is designed to support experimental work related to operating systems, computer architecture, computer performance, computer security, and database systems. The lab was first used in the spring semester 1998 for experimentation with performance monitoring and capacity planning tools. ExCSL differs from other Computer Science labs in that it is devoted to experiments in the system software area where we can investigate unpredictable situations, such as system crashes, performance bottleneck handling, security problems, and similar phenomena without disturbing other users.

The lab serves a dual purpose for experiments and course support in operating system and database system administration. We currently have installed Windows NT, Solaris, and Oracle environments. The lab provides students a unique opportunity to explore system software. Such experiences cannot be obtained in other labs where the primary goal is the quality of service to lab users, and risky system experiments cannot be allowed.

The funding for the ExCSL computer equipment came from a grant from the National Science Foundation matched by the University. The current hardware and software includes advanced Pentium II desktop systems, software monitors, performance predictors, simulators, capacity planners, two modern operating systems under a boot manager, and the Oracle database system.

Our immediate needs in this lab include computers that could serve as Oracle database server, Solaris server, and NT server. We also need advanced software tools for monitoring the network traffic and for measurement and analysis of dynamic behavior of Oracle database system in a distributed application environment. Please contact Dr. Gerald Eisman at (415) 338-1008 or

Extrasolar Planet Reconnaissance
At SFSU, researchers have now detected 7 planets around Solar-like stars, among only 9 such extrasolar planets known in the universe.

These discoveries of new worlds have forever changed the scientific community and the public at large. NASA Headquarters is suddenly shaping future missions around the exploration of nearby planetary systems, and every news organization, from Time Magazine to PBS NOVA programs, have covered these discoveries.

The team is using the world's largest telescope, the W.M.Keck 10-meter telescope on Mauna Kea in Hawaii. They have been finding more planets each month and history is being written with each one. The key goal is to determine whether our Solar System is unique or common as a planetary architecture in the Universe. They thus intend to detect true analogs of our Jupiter, orbiting other stars.  Are such Jupiters common or rare?

They have several needs in their intense research effort. The main need is for another Ph.D.-level scientist on the team, to augment the stretched effort of Drs. Geoff Marcy and Paul Butler. The team hopes to hire Dr. Debra Fischer, a world expert on the characteristics of nearby stars, but currently they do not have steady funding for her position. The office/lab, which house the team of scientists and students, also needs to be remodeled and furnished with necessary equipment such as a conference table and chairs.  Donors will be acknowledged in their research papers that announce the discovery of a new world. These research papers will provide the historical archive that documents the technical results of the first hunt for planets in our Galactic neighborhood.

For more information, please contact Dr. Geoff Marcy at or at (510) 642-1952. Click here to visit their lab.

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Updated by Lannie Nguyen-Tang on August 3rd, 2000