HSPH Biostatistics Computing

Student Usage Policies

  1. First and second year students doing coursework in the department have access to machines leased from HSPH IT that are upgraded on a three-year cycle. These machines are located in the small department computer lab on the fourth floor of Building Two. In addition, second year students with offices on the fourth floor have the opportunity to request a leased machine on their desk. If a student expects to primarily use their own laptop, we request that the student not ask for a desktop machine so that more machines can be made publicly available. The leased machines are maintained with standard software including MS Office, R (statistical program), SAS, XEmacs (text editor), SecureCRT (telnet/ssh), AbsoluteFTP (file transfer), Xmanager (X-Window emulation software), as well as other useful software. Machines on student desks may be customized; the machines in the lab are frozen and additional software can not be installed permanently on them. The microlab in the lower level of Kresge is also available for student use.
  2. For students in their third or later year doing thesis research, computing resources are provided by their advisor. Students should discuss their needs with their advisor, who will provide the necessary resources, usually in the form of a desktop or laptop dedicated for the student's use. While it is not necessary that the machine be new (e.g., it may be passed on from a previous student), ordinarily it will not be more than 2 to 3 years old. If a new machine is necessary, appropriate prices are those of the basic machines priced as listed on the Harvard IBM/Lenovo website. Purchase of a higher-level machine is at the discretion of the advisor. Use of the Linux cluster (see below) may be more appropriate for intensive computing than purchasing a dedicated high end machine. If the student has concerns about computing that cannot be resolved with their advisor, the student should contact the department chair or department computing committee members.
  3. Each student has a designated space on the Novell network P: drive, accessible from Windows machines. There is no limit on the number of files, however space is limited to 100 Mb. In addition 100 Mb of space is available on the HSPH UNIX server. Both of these areas are backed up frequently by HSPH IT. Please do NOT save anything to C: drive of machines in the departmental lab, since everything is removed from it on a daily basis. Additional space may be purchased from the IT department for a relatively small fee, and the computing committee recommends that advisors provide this additional space to students as needed to encourage saving important research files on backed up space. Details can be found on the HSPH IT Forms webpage. In addition, we expect that large amounts of backed up space (on the order of 100s of gigabytes) will soon be available for purchase from HSPH IT as part of the Linux cluster, and more information can be obtained from the departmental computing committee.
  4. All students engaged in thesis research have the opportunity to obtain an account on the Linux cluster. Students should contact a member of the departmental computing committee. Students not yet engaged in thesis research but who are involved in a research project requiring substantial computing power can request an account by contacting the departmental computing committee.
  5. (For advisors) Computing funding should come from the supporting grant whenever possible. Some training grants may not have the funds to cover this funding. In these cases, such funds would ideally come from projects that connected to the training grant on which the student is working, such as a related R01. In rare cases when this is not possible, the department will provide the necessary supplementary funding. This situation should be very rare.
  6. Other policies may apply for students with offices located outside HSPH, such as CBAR or the DFCI.
  7. Questions or concerns about these policies should be directed to the departmental computing committee.

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Last updated: 07/28/2009