computer science


Off-campus access to departmental machines

The department has provided a machine called hex which all students can use in order to work from home remotely, as our systems are blocked from any off-campus access.
All students can also access the department's mail host (chasm) from off-campus.

Please note that this is a privilege we provide to you in order that you will not be disadvantaged by circumstances which prevent you from coming in to the lab (e.g. family ill-health, or business constraints). Do not consider it as an alternative to working in the laboratory. With this privilege goes the responsibilty to act as a considerate user. Both systems are, of necessity, true multi-user systems (unlike the lab machines which are set up to prevent access by more than one user at a time) and you must remember that anything you do on these machines which prevents other users from getting on with their coursework will result in suspension of your privileges.

Please do not connect to hex unless you are familiar with the unix command-line environment - at least to the point where you know how to kill off a rogue process. And do not connect, to do your coursework, before you become familiar with the applications you need to use. We have put a lot of effort and funds into setting up our labs - providing tutors, teaching fellows, and a good learning environment, and we'd like you to have the advantage of using it.
It will make your work easier, because help is at hand, and it will make our work easier because we won't have people getting into trouble on our systems because they don't know what to do.
If you do have a problem connecting, you may ask tech support for help, but it may be a while, if ever, before you get an answer. Be aware that our prime concerns are with the departmental systems, not wth installing and/or maintaining your home computer.

NB - you need to use a Secure Shell (ssh2) client on your home computer to connect to hex remotely. If the operating system on your home machine is some variant of unix (mostprobably Linux or MacOS X ?), then ssh is probably bundled with the system. If not, you could download (at home - not on departmental machines) the source code "tarball" for openssh and build it for yourself, or get the binaries for your system. If you have a variant of Microsoft's Windows, then one client you could use is PuTTY.

hex really is only for off-campus use. There is absolutely no need for you to log in to it from the lab to do your coursework. There is usually more than one person using it at a time, and there's no need to overload it unnecessarily.

If you do access our machines from off-campus, there are some things for you to think about.

Are you in a flat?
Who has access to your computer?
Do you log yourself on and go away?
Can someone else in the building use it?

If so, then you may be allowing someone who does not know the regulations we have for users, someone who has no vested interest in caring for our resources, to access our computers - to access, in fact, the corporate network.
Is that a good idea?
We don't think so!