Computer Systems and Software

Machine Room

We're improving our doc!  This page and many pages in this section are in the process of being reorganized, updated and improved.  Please bear with us as we make the transition.

The department maintains a computing infrastructure that is separate from the rest of the University. Department computing systems support all of our administrative, research and educational needs. The technical staff administers these systems and provides support services to the computer science community.

Search the department wiki for tips and tricks that don't appear elsewhere in these pages.

Getting Started

If you are a new user in the Computer Science Department, here's how to set up your LDAP and Kerberos passwords , and synch those passwords to your Brown University account. We also have a helpful New User Orientation slideshow.

Health and Safety

Work safely! Learn what Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI) is, and how to prevent or find treatment for this painful condition. The Computer Science Department has an Ergonomic Equipment Pool to help you prevent RSI.

Getting Help and Support

Here's where you can learn what kinds of hardware and software the Computer Science Department supports, where to find the documentation for them, and how to report problems you may have, including problems that come up after hours.


This section explains who can have accounts in the Computer Science Department, the passwords that will be needed for the accounts, how to get disk space for CS-related work, and important information about recent changes to email.

Managed Systems

Managed systems are any desktop systems managed by the technical staff. The technical staff's management includes hardware and software support. The technical staff also provides CS Department support for courses and CS Department research, such as Contributed Projects.

Connecting Remotely

Open VPN and SSH can provide secure, encrypted remote access for computers that are not on the Brown CS network, including the department's networked filesystem. The department also provides a Windows Remote Desktop Cluster for Linux users who need to use Windows applications. Portable Sunlab makes it possible to use a specially formatted USB drive with any computer to remotely access your entire CS department desktop environment, or you can work in person at the onsite Sunlab.

Network Services

The Computer Science Department provides Network Services such as Printing that can be used by all, to services targeted at users with a particular academic focus. Filesystem Services provide space for CS Dept. related work and make Backups and Snapshots possible, to ensure that work done will be retrievable. Database Services are available for course work or research, and the CS Department makes available vm Hosting to provide Certificates for secure services for your browser or email.

Other services provided in support of CS Department work include Email discussion lists for CS Dept. courses, a centralized Revision Control service to track changes made in collaborative projects, a High Performance Computing Grid for computationally intensive research, an ownCloud file sharing service, and Anonymous FTP to help disseminate software developed in the Brown CS Department, including sharing through encrypted sessions.


For those wishing to set up CS Department-related static web pages, the department has a Web Authoring Guide, and a video tutorial on how to use the department's Content Management System. You can also learn how to set up a blog on the CS Department's website.

Things you might need

The CS Department either has, or can provide, access to most of the equipment you might need for your work in the Department. Whether you need to get software, borrow equipment that the CS Department already owns, purchase equipment from third parties for a specific purpose, get licenses for software, or find out what software and hardware the CS Department supports or does not support, check here to see if what you might need is already available or can be obtained from outside vendors.


When you're ready to share the results of your work with the world (or the CS Department,) here's more information about how you can publish Tech Reports, as well as how to embed video in Web pages, or how to use the CS Department's video web application. Whatever medium you use to disseminate your work, make sure that you respect Copyright, including the Brown University Copyright policy.