Tim Skirvin

Quick Links

Computational Facility - Main Page, PC Compute Clusters, Sysadmin Documentation, User Documentation

Work - CV, Proposals and Reports, PC Cluster Tutorials

Software Development - DBIx::Frame, CGI::SHTML, TapeChanger::MTX, TCB::RSS, TCB::Backup, MDTools

Personal Projects - Homepage, Pictures, FAQs, Software, cmi.* Archives, news.ks.uiuc.edu, Lanyards

Personal projects not endorsed by TCBG, Beckman, or UIUC


Tim Skirvin

Theoretical and Computational Biophysics Group, Beckman Institute
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
405 N Mathews Avenue, Urbana, IL 61801
Tel: 217/244-1855
Fax: 217/244-6078
Email: tskirvin@ks.uiuc.edu


B.S. in Computer Engineering, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1999

Professional Experience

Senior Systems Administrator (SAGE Level IV), Theoretical and Computational Biophysics Group, Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, IL, USA [2000 - present]

  • Administer, maintain, and secure a network of 100 users and 300 machines, running Solaris, Linux, HP-UX, IRIX, Tru64, AIX, WinNT/2000/XP, and MacOS 9/X.
  • Design, manage and upgrade group facilities including a 3D projection system and multiple Linux-based computation clusters.
  • Lead a team of six to nine graduate aides and one to three undergraduate assistants in troubleshooting and solving user problems.
  • Budget and plan for continuing system and network upgrades.
  • Assist with and write grant proposals for research and equipment.
  • Write and maintain system software, ranging from internal backup solutions to web management tools.
  • Write and maintain system and user databases and associated frameworks.
  • Develop and teach a series of workshops on designing and building Linux clusters.
  • Manage web site design and content; maintain public technical documentation.

News Administrator (SAGE Level II-III), Center for Reliable and High-Performance Computing, Computer and Systems Research Laboratory, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, IL, USA [1999 - 2000]

  • Administered and maintained Usenet news software and hardware.
  • Installed, upgraded and maintained department Windows95/NT, Linux, MacOS, Solaris, and HP-UX systems and labs.
  • Troubleshot other miscellaneous computer concerns.

Computer Consultant (SAGE Level I), Department of Mathematics, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, IL, USA [1995 - 1999]

  • Assisted graduate students and professors in computer setup and maintenance.
  • Maintained, installed, and helped upgrade a computer lab of Sun SPARCStations and printers.
  • Maintained departmental web pages.

Research Assistant - United States Army Construction Engineering Research Labs (USA-CERL), Champaign, IL, USA. [1996]

  • Ran detailed noise-level tests and modeled the results in order to create a new sound measurement scale.
  • Maintained the computer systems at the Nevada test site.

Beta Tester - Parallax Software, Champaign, IL, USA. [1995]

  • Tested Descent, a 3D flight-simulation game.

Professional Skills

Specific tools (especially strong skills are indicated with italics):

  • Languages: Perl, Bourne Shell, C, C++. Basic knowledge of Java, Python, PHP, JavaScript, Scheme, LISP, Basic, Intel/68k/MIPS assembly, VHDL.
  • Operating Systems: Solaris, Linux, MacOS X, IRIX, AIX, HP-UX, Tru64, Windows 95/98, Windows NT/2000/XP, OpenBSD, Solaris x86, Alpha Linux, internetworking the above.
  • Tools: Apache, sendmail, LPRNG, DNS/BIND, OpenSSH, Samba, YP/NIS, automounters, xntp, MySQL, UW/IMAP, CVS, license managers
  • Protocols: TCP/IP (debugging), NFS, NNTP, HTTP, SQL, DBI, LDAP, SMB, NTP, Appletalk.
  • Documentation: HTML, POD, LaTeX, XML.

Intimate knowledge of Usenet News administration, design, and development.

Strong knowledge of computation cluster design and maintenance. Specific knowledge of queueing systems (DQS, SGE, Condor), Clustermatic and Scyld Linux clustering solutions. Knowledgeble of national supercomputer centers.

Experienced with SQL database use, design and administration.

Management: experience with developing computational facility budgets. Have managed up to ten part-time workers. Have been involved in hiring consultants and part-time and full-time workers.

Experienced with basic switched network design. Basic knowledge and experience with Cisco routers, RIP, BGP, and other networking protocols.

Published Software

Professional Development

  • Attended LISA 2002 conference at Philadelpha [2002]
    • Tutorial on integrating MacOS X systems into a Unix environment
    • Tutorial on implementing system-wide changes that affect all users
    • Technical conference - spam control systems and social solutions,
    • printing environments, console management, DDoS attacks, Google's technical environment
    • Helped run computer lab during conference.
  • Attended NCSA All-Hands Meeting at UIUC [2002]
  • Attended LISA 2001 conference at San Diego [2001]
    • Tutorial on LDAP (Lightweight Directory Access Protocol)
    • Tutorial on network programming with Python
    • Technical conference - authentication systems, diagnostic skills, system maintenance under pressure, general systems administration knowledge
    • Helped run computer lab during conference.
  • Attended ACM Reflections/Projections 2001 conference at UIUC [2001]
  • Taught Linux clustering tutorial at NCSA Linux Revolution Conference [2001]
  • DBI database administration and design (self-taught) [2000]
  • Attended USENIX 2000 conference in San Diego [2000]
    • Tutorial on IDS (Intrusion Detection System)
    • Tutorial on High Availability Systems
    • Technical Conference - Java, Wireless Networks, other system administration knowledge
    • Helped run computer lab during conference.
  • Attended tutorial on Oracle installation and administration - UIUC [2000]
  • Attended ACM Reflections/Projections 2000 conference at UIUC [2000]

Other Professional Activities

  • Co-Founder and Chair - Big-8 Management Board [2005 - present]
  • Maintainer - Campus Usenet News Server [2003 - present]
  • TCB Encap Package Collection [2003 - present]
  • Co-Founder - ModNet - centralized location for moderation discussion forums [1997]
  • Founder - illini.* - newsgroup hierarchy for UIUC students, staff, and alumni [2003]
  • Founder - FreeNet - foundation for unfettered discussion forums [1998]
  • Founder - Usenet Volunteer Moderators [1999]
  • Moderator (discussion facilitation and software design and maintenance)
    • humanities.philosophy.objectivism [1995 - present]
    • news.admin.net-abuse.policy [1996 - present]
    • news.admin.net-abuse.sightings [1996 - present]
    • news.admin.announce [2005 - present]
    • rec.arts.comics.reviews [2005 - present]
    • comp.std.announce [2006 - present]
  • Technical Moderator (software and interface design and maintenance, technical advice for other moderators)
    • news.admin.net-abuse.bulletins [1998 - present]
    • rec.games.mecha [1997 - present]
    • rec.toys.transformers.moderated [1999 - present]
    • rec.games.frp.moderated [2000 - present]
  • USENIX (Unix Administration Society) - Member [2000 - present]
  • SAGE (System Adminstrators Guild) - Member [2000 - present]

Technical Reports and Presentations

Grant Proposals/Reports

  • NIH Annual Report 2006 - Coordinator
  • NIH Annual Report 2005 - Coordinator
  • NIH Annual Report 2004 - Coordinator
  • 2004 Beckman Equipment Grant Proposal - Coordinator
  • NIH Annual Report 2003 - Contributor
  • NIH Center for Macromolecular Modeling - Contributor
  • NRAC Proposal 2003 - Contributor
  • 2002 Beckman Equipment Grant Proposal - Coordinator
  • NIH Annual Report 2002 - Contributor
  • NRAC Proposal 2002 - Contributor
  • NIH Annual Report 2001 - Contributor
  • NRAC Proposal 2001 - Contributor
  • NIH Annual Report 2000 - Contributor
  • NRAC Proposal 2000 - Contributor


  • Citation: RFC 2635 (A Set of Guidelines for Mass Unsolicited Mailings and Postings), June 1999.
  • Television Interview (Distributed Denial of Service Attacks) - WICD News, Feb 9 2000.
  • Citation: Schwartz and Garfinkel. Stopping Spam. O'Reilly and Associates, 1998.
  • Citation: Grossman, Wendy. net.wars. New York Univ. Press, 1997.
  • Citation: Leonard, Andrew. 'Bots: the Origin of a New Species. Hardwired, 1997.

Other Activities

  • Usenet @ UIUC - President [2003 - present]
  • Association of Academic Professionals - Member [2002 - present]
  • College Libertarians - President [1996 - 2000]
  • Like Disco...but not Really (Improvisational Comedy Troupe) - Director [1997 - 1999], Performer [1995 - 1999]
  • National Residence Hall Honorary - Member [1998 - present]