Computer Systems and Software

Machine Room

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.

Visit the Tstaff Blog for the latest system news and alerts.

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 sync 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.  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. More recently the department has begun offering FastX as an alternative to Portable Sunlab for Linux remote desktop work.


The Computer Science Department provides System and Network Services such as Printing that can be used by all.  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 has available VMWare Hosting and SSL certificates for secure web/app hosting needs.

Our website is the public face of the department, but also provides space for courses, research groups, and individuals, as well as a page for live streamed Recordings of events and lectures.

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.

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.