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New SIO stumbles out of the gate

Credit: Photo illustration by Alan Vangpat/Senior Photographer, Jonathan Carreon/Photo Editor Credit: Photo illustration by Alan Vangpat/Senior Photographer, Jonathan Carreon/Photo Editor

Student Information Online (SIO) suffered technical difficulties this week that delayed registration by 24 hours for most of the student body.

According to University Registrar John Papinchak, the central database that runs SIO was overwhelmed by the increase in traffic from students planning and registering their schedules. “It was a perfect storm, and [SIO] got slower as the day went on,” Papinchak said.

The shift from Online Registration (OLR) to SIO is part of the goal of streamlining the student experience at Carnegie Mellon. The eventual plan is to enable students to do all their university-related business and scheduling from one central location that unites OLR with the schedule-planning utility of ScheduleMan. Papinchak said that this is an objective the student body has long desired.

However, while the central database was prepared for a higher demand, the system was not designed to handle that much internet traffic.

“It’s tough to plan for all of the traffic,” Papinchak said.

On Monday, Papinchak decided to delay registration in order to increase the computing resources available to SIO, so that more connections could be maintained at any given time. Since the reset on Tuesday, the system has not experienced significant slowdown.

Student reactions to these problems have varied greatly.

Some students have been patient with the new system. “I’m sure they’re still working out the glitches,” said Brittany Robertson, a junior chemistry major.

Others even benefited from the delay. Visvesvaran Subramanian, a junior international relations and politics major, said, “Technically I benefited from SIO shutting down, since I was unable to meet with my adviser beforehand.”

Papinchak said that he received a great deal of feedback about the difficulties, some of it very frustrated.

“Students should use the feedback button [on SIO],” Papinchak said. “Real people read it.” According to Papinchak, the team working on the system wants to know what it can do to make registration go more smoothly for students in the upcoming year.

Papinchak’s immediate future does look busy.

“We are going to debrief and make things better during the summer,” he said. This problem will not occur next semester, according to Papinchak, who cited added measures such as spreading students over 20-minute time slots instead of 30-minute ones to reduce strain on the system.