The maritime industry could not function without the use of information technology. The same holds true for educating future mariners and marine industry professionals. The U.S. Merchant Marine Academy has a proud history of pioneering the use of simulators and simulation software in the engineering, transportation and logistics fields. Simulators and simulation software provide Midshipmen the opportunity to acquire skills and knowledge critical to success in the maritime industry.
Many courses throughout the curriculum involve computer applications. Access to computer applications is provided by state-of-the-art laptop computers, computer equipped laboratories and electronic classrooms.
The Department of Information Technology serves as the focal point for planning, funding and operating the information technology infrastructure at the Academy.
Each incoming plebe must arrive on campus with a laptop that meets campus hardware requirements. This laptop is the only personal computer a Midshipman may have on campus. All Midshipman laptops are connected to the Academy’s network and network resources. The Academy network complies with all federal rules and regulations regarding personal computer and network use. Midshipmen are required to honor these rules and regulations without exception.
Midshipmen are authorized to purchase personal desktop printers at their own expense with printer driver software compatible with the Microsoft Windows 7 Enterprise operating system.
The Academy is a “wired” campus, providing access throughout the dormitories, classrooms, library and public spaces, employing a combination of wired and wireless services. The local area network is based on a fiber-optic backbone and the latest high speed switching fabric available.
The network employs a state-of-the-art blade server and storage area network technologies, and provides access to e-mail, e- learning, file storage, web services, course management systems, public instant messaging networks, Voice Over IP (VoIP) telephony, video-conferencing, and under restricted circumstances, access to public e-mail networks. The Academy maintains a 200 megabit-per-second connection to the Internet.
The Academy is deploying a comprehensive wireless access system to complement access already available in electronic classrooms, the Bland Library, and selected public areas. Approximately 350 new wireless access points will be located in the barracks buildings and throughout the outdoor areas of the Academy’s 82 acres campus.
In 1975, the U.S. Maritime Administration installed a complex Visual Bridge Shiphandling Simulator at the USMMA for purposes of maritime training and controlled research into seafarer/ship issues. Designated as the Computer Aided Operations Research Facility (CAORF), this simulator was the first marine simulator to use Computer-Generated Imagery and set the standard for all simulators of this kind that followed. CAORF also hosts part-task and full mission simulators for ship propulsion systems. The Department of Marine Transportation maintains separate, state-of-the-art navigation laboratories in Bowditch Hall.