IS&T begins ID card-based printing plan

MIT IDs required to print in several Athena clusters

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Four printers around campus will be a part of a pilot hold-and-release system, requiring students to swipe their ID cards to complete a print job.
Infographic by Connor Kirschbaum
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Printer “python” (W20-575) now requires students to swipe their IDs in order to complete print jobs. Python is one of the four Athena printers that changed over this past Friday to the new Pharos “hold-and-release” program.
Robert McQueen—The Tech

Printing out a pset? Make sure you have your MIT ID on hand. On Friday, IS&T changed over several pilot printers to the Pharos “hold-and-release” system, which requires students to swipe their card to complete the print job. Pharos will be the future of printing at MIT.

Last Friday, CopyTech installed Pharos in printers python (W20-575), savion and bias (12-182), and nysa (56-129). According to Oliver Thomas ’94, a manager at IS&T and sponsor of the Pharos project, IS&T is planning for this summer to be the big transition to Pharos for all public Athena printers.

“The pilot locations have been chosen to both be convenient, but to also have traditional Athena printers close by,” Thomas said.

In addition to transitioning to Pharos, IS&T also plans to equip Athena clusters with public scanners. Thomas said that they plan to deploy the first public pilot scanner in W20-575 by early February.

Pharos will be rolled out in phases in order to allow time to debug any issues that might arise. “There are bound to be quirks in Pharos that need to be ironed out in the field, and we’d rather not have Pharos be the only game in town,” Thomas said. Some older student ID cards still do not work with the Pharos system.

The Pharos hold-and-release system is the product of a recommendation made by the Institute-wide Planning Task Force intended to make Athena Printing greener and more efficient. According to the Athena Working Group, MIT currently spends around $270,000 on printing annually.