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Advent calendar - December 18th - Jaap Aikema

18 December 2022

In the Zernike Institute Advent Calendar, we are presenting 24 short spotlights in December. In these specials, we highlight PhD students, postdocs, support staff, and technicians of our research groups and team - providing a glimpse in their typical day at work. In Episode 18 meet Jaap Aikema, technician in the Micromechanics group and systems administrator of our computer clusters.

Jaap Aikema
Jaap Aikema

Brief description of my current position and role

I’m part of the ZIAM technicians since 2017 and stationed at Micromechanics of Materials. Within Micromechanics of Materials, I am responsible for the well being of all workstations which run on Linux. When a problem occurs at one of the workstations, I will face that challenge. Besides that the Nieuwpoort Cluster, the TheoChem Cluster and since recently the re-Bohrn Cluster are my responsibility to maintain, keep up-to-date and safe.

Summarized: “Systems administrator for workstations and clusters”

What does a typical workday look like for you?

My typical workday is: “Battle with the computers and be victorious.”

So a typical workday does not exist in my line of work. One moment I think, I have all the time to research and try new software installation, the next moment I’m in the middle of “crisis” because one of the clusters is no longer functioning as it should. One moment I think, I have time to re-install some workstations for coming bachelors and masters and the next moment I have to address a problem at a workstation of one of the PhD’s. Mostly these crises or problems are solved within a few minutes or hours, but ones in a while it takes several days. So there’s never a dull moment in my typical workday.

What are you currently working on?

At this point I’m working on a proof-of-concept for replacing management software for the clusters. I try to shift from closed-source expensive software to an open source alternative. My expectation is that in the coming year the switch will be made.

What if you’re not at work?

Apart from my work I’m also a father of two daughters and a son and the husband of my wife. The flexibility of being able to do part of my work from home when needed makes that I have enough room to spend time with the family. To relax I like wandering by the sea, which is only 7,5 km from my home, or by walking through the forest or other beautiful nature.

Contact: Jaap Aikema

Last modified:15 December 2022 4.24 p.m.

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