IT professionals off their marks for Beijing's Olympic Games

An IT team of 400 IT professionals behind the Beijing Olympic Games is making final preparations before the event begins on 8 August.

An IT team of 400 IT professionals behind the Beijing Olympic Games is making final preparations before the event begins on 8 August.

The team, which will grow to 4,000 by the start of the games, plans to model hundreds possible scenarios on the software - such as disqualifications or weather-related problems - to make sure the systems can cope with unexpected events.

The IT team plans to deploy and install IT equipment at the games venues, including 10,000 PCs, 1,000 servers and 1,000 network and security devices in the second half of May.

Jeremy Hore, chief technology integrator for Atos Origin, IT partner at the games, said the transition into an operational environment is "challenging".

"Each part of the technology works, but it may not work as a complete system. It is a challenging phase. We are dealing with 50 different IT systems and lots of IT partners," he said.

The team has been testing systems in specialised laboratories since 2007. The first technical rehearsal in April tested 1010 scenarios with 30 sports. The final technical rehearsal, a "dummy run" of the games, in the second week of June will involve nearly every sport and venue

The team plans to run each system at the load level expected during the games, before ramping up the load by 10 times. The test identifies the failure point of the system and identifies the danger signs IT staff need to look out for.

Atos Origin built two types of systems for the Beijing Games. Games Management Systems support the operation of the Games. One example is the accreditation system that processes more than 200,000 athletes, staff, volunteers and journalists.

The team uses Information Diffusion Systems to deliver competition results in real time. The Commentator Information System is a Java-based application that sends results to PCs at the venues. IT staff collect results data using a mixture of electronic sensors and manual data entry, before they are sent to the internet via a data feed.


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