The STWing is the answer to the question
you only hope to ask.
You can see it all around you.
You can feel it when you do your homework
. When you go to class
. When you pay your tuition
It is a living-learning program pulled over your eyes
to shield you from the university
STWing, which stands for the Science and Technology Wing, is a living-learning program at the University of Pennsylvania. It is a collection of over two hundred students and faculty who have an interest in Science and Technology.
STWing was originally created in 1989 when a small group of students living together in the King's Court/English House
Dorm pushed to get ethernet
connectivity installed in their rooms. This connectivity predated the University's own ResNet
system and offered access to to almost all computing resources available throughout the Penn
community, including the Internet
. In this small group of ten students, STWing was born.
Over the next few years, STWing conducted research, excursions, and dinner discussions under the guidance of the Assistant Dean of Residence, Dr. Krimo Bokreta and Faculty In Residence Dr. Jorge Santiago-Aviles. A dreamy suggestion that the group obtain its own UNIX server led to a project proposal to the National Science Foundation (NSF), which, much to the surprise of all, provided the group with funds for Force, a Sun Microsystems server.
STWing has grown since then and now occupies three floors; two in Harrison House which are primarily for upperclassmen, and the original one in King's Court which houses mostly freshmen. Force has been upgraded multiple times and dinner discussions are a much more frequent occurance.
Basically, you could think about STWing as being a geek house
set in the university dorm system, or perhaps more like a geek frat
, but without the hazing
. It is all about learning, having fun, and being a little crazy with computers
and other scientific/technological devices. Everything STWing does is bizzare and strange and speaks of a technical culture
that it builds for itself. Basically, it is an excuse to screw around with computers and not do any work
. It's about stealing monitors
from the Engineering dumpsters
and making them work. It's about learning more from your peers than your CS
professors. It's about being able to play with Alpha Clusters just cause you can, staying up all night discussing Godel's Theorem
, playing Starcraft
, installing cool shit, and discussing life, the universe, and everything
. It's about "borrowing" green lasers from classrooms and shining them in apartment buildings and making CGI
fly-throughs of the STWing bathroom in order to earn class credit.
Essential to the program is its residential aspect which allows students to interact with each other in much more diverse settings and on a much greater level than mere classroom interaction. Because of its full-on approach, STWing fosters a community of learning, teaching, and exploration, and provides a safe place for people to be who they are. Classroom learning is complemented by dinner speakers, paintball fieldtrips, and in-house miniclasses such as "The Physics of Cooking". If you want to learn about Perl, chances are someone on the floor is a Perl God. Want to play with plasma? Find yourself two EE majors and build an aquarium full of the stuff. (Yes, it happened). None of this stuff is possible in the classroom, I would argue because it just isn't the right environment for it. On STWing, you learn from your friends when you want to, and in a project-oriented manner. You also gain valuable experience from older students who have already taken your classes and have gone through the whole summer intern/interview process. It really is this community of learning that makes all the difference.
- A Sun Microsystems
server with 4 250MHz UltraSPARC
II processors providing web space, email, resources for homework and a platform for learning about timesharing
Electrical Engineering Lab - Filled with tools for creating circuitry, and other such things. Generally filled with random wires, broken Jacob's Ladders, and other unexpected things.
Distributed Computing Cluster - six dual-processor DEC Alphas, with between 512mb and 1024mb of RAM apiece (Acquired in 2000-2001. So far it has been used in a senior project for developing new video filtering techniques)
John Parker Fellowship - A $1000 fellowship that is awarded annually to sponsor undergraduate research in Science and Technology related fields. Past awards include Determining Heat Transfer though Asphalt, Creating a Viable Hydroponics Garden, and Distributed Computing.
The general organizing and coordinating body for STWing is the Continuum
, an annually elected board which meets twice a month to discuss upcoming events, speakers, and money allocation. The positions are as follows:
Parliamentarian - Presiding officer at Continuum Meetings
Cronos - Keeps track of minutes, takes attendance at meetings, maintains member database
Radar - Maintains calendar of events, advertises and communicates all STWing information
Beeker - Coordinates and documents all ongoing research projects, publicizes fellowships and grants, maintains Electrical Engineering Lab
Bacchus - Serves as STWing's social coordinator, organizes events and parties
Neelix - Arranges dinner discussions and field trips, brings in speakers
Yoda - Alumni liason, treasurer, organizes fundraising
SysAdmin ("Root") - Maintains and administers all STWing computing resources, defined as all computers in the
stwing.upenn.edu domain. Also serves as the "What's Best for STWing" Program Manager
Residential and Graduate Associates
STWing's More Notable Noders
STWing has on occasion released a small contingent of elite, highly trained noders out into the nodegel
. Currently this team consists of:
(Introduction taken from the Stwing video and History adapted from the Stwing website: http://www.stwing.upenn.edu)